The Honorable, Merciful, and Totally Intimidating Judge Gallahue
Okay, I didn't exactly plan out that I was going to go to court yesterday. Although now I'm absolutely happy that I did. I take a lot of flack for how much I always procrastinate things, and although I'm sure I would save myself a lot of stress if I didn't, in a strange way I sometimes run more efficiently this way. I probably would have just saved myself the hassle and simply prepaid the fine, if I hadn't procrastinated so long that that was no longer an option.
Last month I got a ticket for an "HOV violation" on the 66 Fwy ("Get your kicks, on route 66" - yeah, right!). I think anyone from the west coast, where roads and traffic rules at least make a little sense, can sympathize with me when I say that I never in my wildest dreams imagined that AN ENTIRE FREAKING FREEWAY could be carpool only between the hours of 4:00pm to 6:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Yes, THE WHOLE FREEWAY! Since I currently live in a commuters paradise and never get even close to a freeway normally during the workweek, I had no idea about this rule. Apparently there is a sign which warns you of this right before you enter the on-ramp, but of course you can't really see the sign, because it's mostly blocked by trees until you are already entering. Well, even then I did not notice the sign. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of traffic on the freeway at rush hour in DC, but I had no clue that I was breaking the law, until about 5 minutes later when some cops had set up a road block to catch unassuming fools like myself. I was so confused. The cop could not care less. To make things better, when I had left to go to my car, I put my purse down to grab my mtn bike to hitch onto the car, and accidentally left without it. So I didn't have my license!!! The cop saw how flustered I was about that and at least showed a little mercy in not writing me up for a double violation. And all I wanted to do that day was go for a nice little mtn bike ride.
So, to make a short story long, when there is something that upsets me to deal with, I usually deal with it by not dealing with it. So I placed my traffic ticket onto a heap of other papers that I don't like to acknowledge. Rob kept reminding me to take care of it, but in the back of my mind I didn't want to because I didn't think I deserved it. At the same time, I didn't think I deserved to have to waste my time to go to court about it either. Then came Tuesday night at 11:30 pm, when out of the blue my heart started pounding the way it does when you realize you have forgotten something important, and I suddenly remembered I couldn't put off my indecision about the ticket any longer. I frantically flipped through my mess of papers and found my ticket, which declared that my court date was the very next morning. Uh-oh. That was my school's graduation day. It had become too late to prepay the fine, and too late to ask for a continuance. But the more I thought about it, like h*** was I going to pay that fine. I was going to court, and hopefully it wouldn't take too long so I wouldn't have to play hooky for my school's graduation.
Even though it was already about midnight, I drove back to the freeway entrance to make sure that the sign really was posted poorly. Although it was a pretty enormous declaration, it actually was blocked by trees until you got fairly close.
Okay, here is what I LOVED about court. That judge was so amazingly efficient. And even though he even had everyone who approached him feeling like a bumbling fool, things went smoothly, efficiently, and fast. Everything was right to the point. No fluff allowed in that court. It's almost like having a conversation with Rob! (Note: if this were Rob's story, it would be two sentences long. Something like, "I got a ticket, so I went to court. The judged waived $75 of the fine." I've gone on for several paragraphs, and haven't even gotten to what would be Rob's second sentence.) Anyway, even though he reduced me to a fool, and I didn't exactly present the eloquent case I had in my mind, he also reduced the $125 violation down to a $50 fine. So it was worth my time, and I actually learned and did something new. And I saw how the judge was reducing fines right and left. So, if you have actually made it this far in reading my blog - the whole point of this entry is this: if you get a ticket, GO TO COURT! Even if you are guilty and the judge seems mean and makes you sweat and go anaerobic at the thought of speaking to him. He actually just likes his power, and part of his power is to reduce fines for well-meaning morons like us.
p.s. I even made back for graduation! Thanks Judge Gallahue!
p.p.s. But that was only because I declared myself "guilty with explanation", which allows you to present your case right away. If I had declared myself "not guilty", then I would have had to wait around a lot longer. And since I wasn't really sure which argument to take anyway, I took the one that got me back in time for my job....But, now I wonder what I should have done, if not in the time crunch. Does anyone out there actually know? Perhaps I wouldn't have had to pay anything? Unfortunately, "How to Get Out of a Traffic Ticket 101" wasn't one of Rob's courses at Pepperdine Law School. Go figure. Three years and all that money later, and we still don't even know how to deal with a lame traffic ticket.

Mrs. Anderson  – (10:36 AM)  

I guess that fee reduction is a good start in getting a refund for the Pepperdine education - man what a crock :)

LISA  – (7:22 PM)  

ha ha !! Well at least you got the fine lowerd. Do you have a day planner? You are so Garth. I would have called the same day to move up my court date or paid the ticket right after I got it. Ok I will say it!!! I got a ticket and paid it 5 mim later at the station see when you life in a small city you can do that. Glad it is taken care of You know you can add this to your list of things you tell your kids.

Rachelle & Adam  – (10:24 PM)  

What a lame freeway! Congrats on getting the fine reduced, saving money the true Davis way. So does your insurance go up since you pleaded guilty? That is the only possible negative outcome I can think of. Oh, and have a fun summer!
2 sweet
4 gotten

Dana Broderick  – (2:54 AM)  

hey twin! sounds like something i would totally do! but in england everyone has a "diary" (calendar) so they are keeping me organized. maybe you should do the same since your husband may be speaking at a high school graduation someday. :)

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