Went to court today for my speeding ticket. Got the charges reduced so that’s good. I’d like to thank Mr. Lehto for that with his wonderful podcasts. Most of his advice on what to do if you get a ticket didn’t apply to me but the advice to try to do something is worth the effort and it was. So here’s what happened for anyone who cares along with some funny people watching stories.
They separate their courts based on offenses so my time was spent with traffic violators and a few probation violations. They call your name and you stand up and make one of three choices: say “not guilty” and sit back down, say “I wanna speak to a prosecutor” and sit back down while they pull your driving record, or go up front say “guilty/nolo” given a chance to say something and then go sit on the left till a lady takes you out and you pay your fine. About 2/3 of the people chose the last action. I went for option 2. This ultimately took longer but a couple extra hours is better than the hit to my insurance.
The judge leaves and the prosecutors talk to everyone there individually to go over their options based on their driving record or to talk to the people who pled not guilty and go over things with them. This took a while but they had a judge call in sick so they only had 2 courtrooms running instead of 3 but the prosecutors were very efficient and polite, even with the rude people with the “I’ve got places to be” attitude that thought they deserved to be pushed to the front of the line. But this was the time I got to hear some funny stuff from people. After this process the judge came back and went through the motions for everything, then I got to wait to pay.
Overall, not a terrible experience and outside of the time consumed it was much better than stories I’ve heard from other people dealing with different counties.
Some funny stuff now if you’ve made it this far
I got myself all well groomed and put on my best suit. That didn’t matter one bit. I was viewed and treated the same as people in shorts and t shirts who looked like they needed a bath. There were 3 guys who walked up with their pants so low their butts were hanging out.
The judge, while nice and offered advice such as “are you sure you wanna plead guilty without legal counsel for these charges? It means you’ll automatically lose your license and x/y/z” to which most people responded “I’ll get council first”, took no pity on sob stories that people gave after their plea.
One guy was in there for a probation violation. He had been arrested in 4 different states for weed and was arrested again for the same. He also had a warrant for his arrest in another state for a bench warrant for a weed offense.
Out of the 4 or 5 DUIs and 2 hit and runs, only one had a lawyer. I would think serious charges like that would warrant one. One lady had DUI, hit and run, speeding, and open container charges. She had no lawyer and her excuse was her mother just died.
The judge kept urging people to be quick if they were just pleading guilty or nolo to move things along. One guy yelled “nolo” right as the lady called his name, power walked to the stand, said “I have nothing to say” and moved to the left side before the lady could finish writing. Judge just laughed and said “that’s what I’m talking about!”
There were a few more things but I gotta go so yeah.