Well, that was easy enough.
Although court wasn't scheduled until 9 a.m., I arrived at 8:20 and sat in my favorite seat which - considering my number of appearances - should rightfully be reserved for me, and proceeded to read a book while I waited. I've learned from experience that the earlier one arrives for traffic court the quicker one will be able to leave, and I always feel smug when the administrative stuff is over and I walk past the long line of people who I know will probably still be standing there at noon.
Because I live in an agrarian county that's also experiencing a lot of development, we have a growing population of Latin American immigrants. I will, for now, withhold my opinion on the obvious need for immigration reform and only say that the influx has resulted in one good thing locally - the hiring of a Latin American assistant district attorney. He's tall, has a moustache and goatee and sounds exactly like Antonio Banderas. At the sound of his voice, the eyes of every female in the courtroom glazed over with undisguised passion. Well, almost every female. I'm not sure about the lady with the crewcut who was sitting beside me; the burly female bailiff by the door seemed more to her liking.
As all us poor traffic offenders sat there waiting, the assistant DA stepped up to explain the process. He told us that we'd be divided into two groups - those with last names beginning with letters A through K and those with last names beginning with letters L through Z. Then he said the most beautiful words: "If you had expired inspection or operator's license and can supply proof that you have corrected those things, those charges will be automatically dropped." Only he said it with an accent, which made it even better.
That left me with just one charge to worry about - the seatbelt violation which, according to my ticket, should have cost me $60 plus $110 in court costs. Because I arrived early enough to get my near-the-front-row seat, I was one of the first to gain an audience with Antonio Banderas, who was handling everyone with the last name beginning with the letters L through Z. I cast a sympathetic glance across the room those poor, deprived females whose names ended in A through K - the ones stuck with a pinch-faced female assistant DA who did not look like she was having the best of days.
Antonio Banderas looked over my tickets and proof that I'd indeed renewed my license and registration, bantered with me for a moment about what sorry luck it took to get three tickets in one stop, and then dismissed those two charges. He then scribbled something on my third ticket - the one for the seatbelt violation - and that was that. I'm not sure what he did, but when I went to pay the fine it wasn't the $170 I expected, but $100. In the end, I walked out paying about $200 less than I feared I'd have to pay, which was awesome, because I'm quite sure I need the money more than the state does.
So that's my traffic court story. And I'm off now to prepare for a Weekend Away, which I'm now actually starting to look forward to. I shall be taking my camera and laptop, and since I'm going to major city with hotel that no doubt will have a wireless connection I shall perhaps have a chance to blog from my trip.
PS. Bobb, thanks for the traffic court meditation; I believe it made quite a difference in the outcome. :-)
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