Thursday, September 29, 2011

I, Criminal Again!

Remember this?  Way back when...?  Well I went and got all criminalistic again.  Back in July, I was coming back to work from lunch when I apparently decided I absolutely needed some trifle from Target.  Taking an exit I'd not used in many moons, I found myself pulling up to what looked like a yield, stopping (or maybe not, who knows any more--it was July forgodsake), and pulling out to the flashing of blue lights.  Yay me! I'd been stopped for running a stop sign!

I of course told the cop I was certain I'd stopped, and he told me he was certain I hadn't, but that it wasn't his job to argue with me.  I got a citation and a court-date of last Friday.

It rattled me for a number of reasons.  One was that I was absolutely certain I'd seen a yield sign.  Two was that I felt like I remembered there being a stop sign where I thought I'd stopped.  Three was that I try not to do things to fall afoul of the law.

So later that day I went back to the scene of my murderous spree of gang violence traffic citation and took lots of pretty pictures.  I then talked to another cop on the scene who remembered the intersection the way I had before I'd been caught.  He was just as surprised as I'd been that the only visible stop sign in the intersection had been replaced by--not one, but 8 smaller yield signs for a new pedestrian crosswalk.  Of course, for as much as he agreed that the new traffic pattern was confusing and probably not proper, he refused to be a part of my court case and told me that my beef was with Officer Mason, who'd written the ticket.  Great, thanks.

So I took the pics I'd snapped of the intersection, compared them to Google's street-view pics, and determined my memory had been impeccable. Yay memory!  Then I looked at some satellite pics and realized that, based on where the old stop sign had been, there could not have been any way for Officer Mason to see me stop where I believe I had, which technically was still the only safe place to stop in the whole intersection.

Armed with my evidence, I prepared myself for the impending date with the Richmond Court system.  And then they took away the only remaining stop sign and changed the whole intersection to a yield.  I took pics of that, too, and added them to my arsenal of defense materials.  I printed my spotless driving record, I wore a suit, and I drank all the coffee.  I was ready.

When I got there, people began mistaking me for an attorney. Apparently most people don't take traffic court seriously.  When the time came for my case to be heard, I approached the bench with my packet of glossy 8x10's in hand.  I greeted the judge with a smile (which was returned--she was in a good mood!), and the DA spoke up.  I'll paraphrase...

Your honor, the intersection in question has since been changed from a stop sign to a yield sign, which is what I'm guessing Mr. Amos has pictures of there...  In the interest of fairness, we're asking for null process in the charges against him and the 5 other people in here for same offense.

I had no idea what that meant, but it sounded good.  Then the judge smiled at me and said, "Have a nice day, Mr. Amos."  I even turned to Officer Mason and the DA and told them to have a nice day on my way out.  I was honestly a little disappointed I'd not even gotten to open my bag of pics.

But it occurred to me later:  he'd busted a minimum of 6 people in there at the same intersection for running the same invisible stop sign.  And that was just the people who'd shown up!  How many just sent in a check?  And then I looked up 'null process'.  It's not the same as 'case dismissed' at all.  It just means that the DA isn't interested in pursuing the charges at this time.  Granted it'll likely never come up again, but if I get pinched for speeding tomorrow, this null process ticket could be used against me.

But in the end, I still walked away from court with only a Kinko's fee for printing 6 8x10's, and that ain't bad.
BTW--for those who don't know, I'm getting married soon.  I'd go into further details, but I'm told thieves would just love to hear about our honeymoon plans, so you'll all just have to wait for details until after the wedding (which for you criminals out there is expected to take place some time in June 2014).

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