Thursday, November 6, 2008

You can’t fight city hall…can you?

This is a long story, so I’m going to bullet it to make it quicker (hopefully).

• Superman and I received some tickets (three, to be exact) while traveling out of state. The original one, for speeding (but was written up as “careless driving,” which the officer said would not go on my insurance -- my lawyer, a family friend, tells me differently) was entirely my fault. I was speeding, even if I didn’t realize it. That was my fault. And, granted, the other two (expired license plate tags and lack of proof of insurance – long stories, but we had insurance, just fyi) were our fault. But…

• Superman called to get the price of the tickets. $250. Yikes!!! But, our bad, and we need to pay them. Right? Right.

• Turns out, the lady he talked to last month also said if we sent in our proof of insurance, they’d drop or reduce our proof of insurance fine. That's what the cop told us, too. Yippee, right? Wrong.

• Superman called the police station this week. The price has now gone up to $600. Oh, yeah. No lie. Has anyone ever heard of $75 in court fees and $300 in assessment fees? Please, if you have, let me know, because I’ve talked to two lawyers who also don’t know what this is, and I really want to know why the price has jumped so much.

• Superman faxes in his proof of insurance, saying he was insured from April to October. The woman SERIOUSLY tells him, “Well, I don’t see anything on here for September.” Superman calmly explains to her that September comes before October. She doesn’t believe him.

• My lawyer informs me that as we were pulled over in another state, they cannot fine us for expired license plate tags. They don’t have the jurisdiction. Oh, neither the city attorney nor the police chief have called me, our lawyer, or my husband back.

• My court date is Nov. 11. Turns out I can’t fight it then. Why? I’ve got to give a final that day.

So…what do we do??? I’m at a loss cause I REALLYNEEDTOPAYTHISSOON. Yet…I know we’re being taken advantage of with two of those tickets! But how do you jump the cost from $250 to $600??

Any suggestions? Fight it or pay it?

**EDIT. Superman called the attorney general in this particular state, who explained things very clearly and politely. Apparently -- for all of you out there who may go through something like this -- these little towns, like the one we got pulled over in -- can charge you an assessment fee if they want. Granted, all tickets are revenue-boosters, so this is just their way of making sure you pay as much as possible. So, it looks like we are going to pay it, but it was really nice to have someone EXPLAIN it to us instead of being rude like the police woman Superman talked to was. Just tell me WHY I have to pay a ridiculous fee. Oh, and apparently the judge makes the final ruling of whether or not the license plate tag fine sticks (though, if we caused a huge commotion, I'm sure it would be dropped, but it probably would be MORE expensive). It still is absolutely asinine, but I guess we're going to have to bite the bullet and deal with it.


misti said...

Love the bullets, Teach. Haha, and this will work ALWAYS does! Work that charm, girl!

MInTheGap said...

Amazing what they can do, isn't it? You'd almost have to hire a lawyer to fight it, and even then you'd be paying.

Anonymous said...

SO wait, you guys have to pay the $600???? AWFUL.

We got pulled over in Port Barre one time on Christmas Eve. We could see the sign from where the highway sped up from 45 to 65 so Hubby was accelerating. The cop pulled us over and gave us a $200. On Christmas Eve. Jerk.

Sherry said...

Sooo sorry. The system has a way of putting us over a barrel and doesn't always give us mercy. I have no advice except watch our for little towns! Bunkie, LA (Avoyelles Parish) is one to watch, too.

Good luck!