Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Traffic Court

So have you ever wondered what actually happens if you go to traffic court instead of just paying off a ticket? This is one scenario of what happens. You go to the courthouse at the appointed day/time on the original ticket, go into a lobby, and proceed to a line that splits into two. One side is a cashier while the other is where you inform the state worker that you're there to see the judge. After your case is put in the queue to see the judge, you're directed to a courtroom where you wait with other peeps, just like The People's Court, where the audience sits.

Next you wait forever. 10 min after the appointment time on the original summons, a deputy sheriff bailiff comes in and plays a DVD where a recording discusses what will take place, which is essentially that peeps will be called up one by one and can enter in a plea. After 10 more minutes of waiting, the bailiff comes back  in and a recorder and judge enter. The judge then explains how things will work a second time and we're off to the races.

Peeps get called up one by one while someone always remains on deck in a chair. People can enter in pleas of Guilty, Not Guilty, and No Contest. From what I saw, 95% were guilty, 4% were not guilty, and 1% were no contest. The difference between guilty and no contest has something to do with being able to be sued in a separate civil case if there was an accident and you plead guilty. In an accident scenario you would choose no contest in order to not have your plea used against you, at least from what I understand.

So there were some interesting observations. Many peeps don't listen and after they say not guilty, they try to argue their case, but the judge is not interested and cuts them off because a separate hearing has to be scheduled for a week or so out. The judge explained this policy several times and probably 4 times, peeps were idiots and tried to talk. Another observation was how many people were in there because they either didn't have proof of insurance inside of their car or were straight-up uninsured. The next and most important observation was that every single guilty and no contest plea equaled a reduction in fines and for some, an option for traffic school to reduce a moving violation to a non-moving one. Not sure what differentiated those who were offered traffic school vs those who weren't, maybe past history? So we're talking 50% off the main charge and then being able to not have that stuff get to the DMV or Insurance Companies.

A few people got some minor charges thrown out, but none of these were actual offenses like speeding or illegal u-turns. I guess some cops are real assholes with what they can charge you with. Another interesting thing was that the judge never asked for the story from the plaintiff after they plead guilty or no contest. They already had pre-calculated charge reductions and outcomes locked in.

One sorority-looking college bitch was pretty arrogant as she will be trying to argue a fine of not changing her address on her license. This was one of those lame fines that a cop charged her with, but she will lose her case because she kept on saying that she is a college student and moves around a lot. I don't think the court gives a shit about that. If think if she plead guilty, the judge might've let this infraction slide but she was a hoochie and her attitude didn't help.

So yeah who knows if these outcomes happen with all judges or just the one I witnessed, but it's totally in the judge's power to jack you or not, although I didn't see any real jacking even though there were peeps who were totally lying when they said they had valid insurance when they were pulled over even though they didn't bring it in with them. Proof was king in all of these cases, and those who lie will be proven so at a later date because they all have to come back with evidence.

The most expensive charge was being uninsured when caught driving; half a grand son! There were peeps with multiple charges like a suspended license, no insurance, no registration, and were dressed like crack addicts to boot. Weird being in the same room as them; a step down from a DMV visit.