Law & Order or Revenue Generation?

You may recall that back on December 1st I was involved in a three vehicle collision. It was one of those incidents where car A does something stupid which causes car B to slam on its brakes, followed by car C doing likewise and so on.

In this December 1st incident I was car C and bumped bumper with car B, only to be slammed into by car D.  If I had never been hit by car D, car B and I would have looked at our respective bumpers, been thankful there wasn’t any damage and gone on our merry way without skipping a beat.

However, since car D was wedged under my truck with the grill peeled back and the hood folded, we were by law required to request the police show up to disposition the accident.  Again, I could have sent the driver of car B on her way since there wasn’t any damage to our cars from our minor bumper tap, but it seemed like a good idea to keep all of the involved parties on scene until the police arrived so they could obtain a full report.

Well, in terms of unintended consequences, I was issued a Accident Ticket for following too closely, as was the motorist who rear-ended me.  The officer noted that the ticket carried with it a $155 fine and 3 points on your driving record.  However, the points could probably be waived if it could be shown that there was either no damage or that any damage was rectified.

So, today I went to traffic court to request either a dismissal or reduction of my ticket to a warning. The court room itself was a model of bloated government expense which gets to the core of my new reality: laws are no longer enforced to make the world a better place, they’re used to generate revenue.  Seriously, in just this one court room there were four bailiffs milling about, the solicitor and three court clerks. The entire process was pretty straight forward:

  1. Sign-in and waive your right to representation
  2. Meet with the solicitor and plead your case
  3. Be escorted out of the court to the downstairs processing line to either:
    1. Pay your fine
    2. Schedule a second court date to disposition your case
    3. Schedule a trial date if you plead not guilty

In my case, it turned out to be B; schedule another court date.  My original request was to have my citation dismissed or reduced to a warning. The solicitor said can’t happen.  Really? But, after explaining the situation whereby there was no damage to either my own or the vehicle I tapped bumpers with, the solicitor did offer that if I could provide a letter from my insurance company that confirmed there had been no claims filed as a result of the December 1st incident, my offense could be recharacterized as a rules violation whereby I’d still have to pay the $155 fine, but there would be no points assessed against my driving record.

So, just to be clear I asked the solicitor, “You’re asking me to prove that something didn’t happen?”  She said, yes. I’ll give you four weeks to get a letter says no claims were filed, or that claims have been filed and settled.

So, in hindsight I should have said it was OK for the other driver who I’d tapped bumpers with to go ahead and leave the scene of the accident, since they had suffered no injuries or damage.  Having done that, I would not have been given a citation for following too closely, nor lost several hours sitting in the courthouse or had to pay a $155 fine to help fund all of those government employees “hanging around” the courtroom.

Unbelievable.  Clearly, the system is set up to generate revenue regardless of guilt. That is, unless you’re willing to go to the time and expense to plead not guilty, get a lawyer and fight the ticket in court.  Yeah, well.  $155 vs. all of that is a no brainer, but it still peeves me off.

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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