A few weeks ago I was driving down the road when an unmarked police car drove past in the opposite direction. In my rear view mirror, I saw him whip around.
Ruh roh I thought to myself. But really, I wasn’t speeding much(about 5ish over) and there were lots of other cars around. Still though, he seemed to be on a mission, so I changed lanes and weaseled in between some other cars. We all ended up stopped at a red light bunched up together and I thought triumphantly to myself “whew! crisis averted!”
Not so much.
The cop car finagled his way around the other cars to get right behind me.
Lights turn on.
So, I pull over to a side road and the officer comes up to talk to me (But first- lemme take a sorta selfie- I’m going to be blogging about this later)
He asks me, “Did you realize that you are driving with expired tags?”
SAY WHAT NOW.
I’ve hardly had this car for a year. How could my tags be expired? Well, sure enough they were. (I lay this massive oversight at the feet of my husband who is in charge of all vehicular issues)
He asks me, “License and proof of insurance, please”
I get the things out of my wallet and my heart sinks in my chest.
My insurance card? Yeah, it’s not my current card. This one had expired in April. Heaven knows where my “new” one was.
I told him that we still had the same insurance and the same agent and everything, just the outdated card. He looked at me kind of skeptically, then he started to walk back to his car.
Then he stopped and walked back over and said, “Is that how you always wear your seat belt?”
And, I stupidly told the truth and said, “Yep!” (I was wearing it under my armpit)
He walks away for a bit and comes back with a ticket for me. He tells me to get my tags taken care of annnnnnd that I have a court date to show my proof of insurance and to pay my seat belt fine.
That was the short part of the story.
I get up, get ready, and head to my court date like some hard criminal. I go to the only courthouse in Joplin that I know (remember when I served jury duty earlier this year??)
I walk in and tell the police officer that I’m there to show my proof of insurance to the judge.
Annnnd I’m at the wrong courthouse.
He says, “Do you know where the municipal court is?”
“Do you know where the police station is?”
So he gives me directions and I finally end up there just at the stroke of 8(the time I was supposed to arrive)
I give them my name and wait to be granted entrance into the courtroom. Except they can’t find my file. I give them my ticket and they kindly point out to me that my court date is scheduled for THE NEXT DAY.
Strugglin so hard.
They told me I could go to the window to the left and get things “taken care of”
I go talk to the lovely(ha) woman at the window who proceeds to basically yell at me that I have a MANDATORY COURT DATE AND SHE CAN’T JUST TAKE CARE OF ANYTHING FOR ME.
I told her, “I have no idea what you can do for me. All I’m telling you is those ladies and one police officer sent me over here to talk to you.”
She finally concedes, “Do you want to get this taken care of today?”
“OKAY. You can go into the courtroom.”
The courtroom that is packed. P-a-c-k-e-d.
They called my name 4th to last.
I sat there for almost two hours before they finally called me up. (oh, don’t let me forget to mention the video we watched before that told everyone to plead not guilty regardless of what you did or didn’t do and that they could provide you with a lawyer and a later courtdate and HEY LET ME JUST TELL YOU RIGHT NOW HOW TO CIRCUMVENT THE SYSTEM)
I had to plead “guilty” or “not guilty” to my charges lol. Uh, not guilty.
THEN they had to take my insurance card and “verify” that I was telling the truth. Because the dates on them weren’t good enough evidence.
Wait wait wait.
The judge calls me back up and tells me that my insurance was “NOT VALID”
Come again? Excuse me, what?
The lady who was assisting then got all flustered and said, OH! I forgot to send that one back to be verified.
Sit back down.
Wait wait wait.
It gets verified(duh).
THEN I have to wait to be called up to pay my $10 seat belt fine.
IN THE MEANTIME? I am not lying to y’all. I am not exaggerating. They were done with ye olde “small claims” and brought in the HARD criminals. I’m talking, chains, stripes, shuffling, the whole bit.
WHILE I’M SITTING THERE WAITING TO PAY TEN DOLLARS.
You can’t make this stuff up.
I watched a few of them go through before they finally called my name. The lady was gracious on me and said, “Hey, let’s go across the hall to take care of this.”
Um, you think???
She proceeds to tell me what a great day it was that I came on because it was just NOT BUSY AT ALL and everyone got in and out so fast. I laughed and told her I wasn’t even here on the right day and she said how lucky I was for that.
Oh, and can I just say that I got stuck sitting next to a guy for a while who told me that he always just tells the police officers to write him up the ticket for not wearing his seat belt because “it isn’t any points on your license.” I was sitting next to a man who knew about how many points you can accrue on your license.