Blind Spot

23 01 2011

Wow, that could be a title for a really deeply philosophical entry. But it’s not. Sadly, it’s a lot more expensive than philosophy.

A few weeks ago I was driving the kids to PE on a Tuesday afternoon. We were running late so I felt rushed but I don’t think I was speeding. I did not, however, make a full stop before making a right turn on a red light. Even so, the maneuver wasn’t unsafe. I pulled into traffic and knew there was a car on my left. We passed another intersection and headed down the hill towards where I would have to make a left turn. The street was not long so I turned on my blinker right away, checked my mirror, glanced backwards and did not see the small car that had been in that lane there. I adjusted my speed slightly to make sure he was gone (I assumed he had turned left at the previous intersection), double checked my mirrors and changed lanes. And then the missing car honked and, according to the police officer a few minutes later, slammed on his brakes. I feel he must have been trying to make it impossible for me to change lanes since he clearly stayed in my blind spot even though I adjusted my speed.

I was flustered due to being late and not entirely sure at this point why I had been pulled over (was it for the California roll at the red light? had I been speeding?) so when the cop asked me if I knew why he’d pulled me over I told him quite honestly I did not. Hell if I was going to incriminate myself further, but I think the answer set him against me from the beginning. He did not believe me when I told him I’d looked in my mirror and my window. And so now I have my first moving violation.

And this is where I ask your advice, dear readers. I have a court date a week from tomorrow at 8am. According to the paper I’ve been sent, I must pay my fee in advance even if I am going to plead not guilty, although when Alex got a ticket a few years ago, he did not have to pay anything. So I’m confused. Traffic school is, naturally, more expensive than the ticket itself. I’m frustrated because money could not be tighter right now and I’m just not really sure how to handle this. Have any of you had any experience with this? Even if you haven’t, I would appreciate all the good wishes and prayers you have to make this go away with as little effort on my part as possible. I have to put my effort elsewhere these days.

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8 responses

23 01 2011
Kirsten

so what exactly did he give you a ticket for?
and does he have a witness? you didn’t cause an accident and i’m not clear exactly what law you broke….
go to court and he probably won’t show

23 01 2011
Corey

Oh how awful! I hope it works out. xoxo

23 01 2011
ZebraBelly

I was ticked for “unsafe lane change”. I doubt he has any witnesses, but if he DOES show it would be his word against mine, no?

23 01 2011
Daph

I have a little experience with this — years ago I got a ticket in SoCal for speeding (which I wasn’t) so I hired an atty and fought the charge. You have to pay the fee on the ticket they send you, but if you go to court and are found not guilty this will be refunded to you.

The atty I hired at the time was expensive for me, but he let me pay in installments. He was cheaper, however, than the ticket fee and traffic school had I been found guilty. Also, he told me that most people that fight the charge don’t hire representation. When our day in court came the cop showed up, checked the docket, saw I had representation, and dropped the charge. We never even went in front of the judge. Something to think about.

In the end I fought it because hell if I was going to pay to go to traffic school for something I didn’t do. Yes it’s technically your word against his, but an attorney would be able to help you fight the ticket..

23 01 2011
ZebraBelly

The ticket’s only $230 I think – would an attorney be cheaper than that? Hrm.

23 01 2011
smilindown

ouch. $230 for an unsafe lane change?

24 01 2011
Melissa

I don’t really know about that type of ticket, but I know if you go in front of a judge they sometimes reduce the fine. I have never heard of having to pay up front. I would go talk to the court house, or call and see if you can make payments. I know that they let Caitlyn do that with her speeding ticket. If they do, it might be easier to just make the payments and not deal with court.
I didn’t bother with driving school for my speeding ticket. So I have 1 point on my record. I think that you have to have 3 before it effects your license and my insurance hasn’t gone up because of it. And they aren’t permanent. I’m not trying to get a job as a driver, so I didn’t really care enough to pay for driving school.

25 01 2011
Jen

What a bummer!

My MIL, the police chief, says that most traffic violations that people protest end up being dismissed because the cops don’t want to show up in court. Not all, but most. Also, around here you *do* have to pay first. I don’t know about SD County.

I don’t know if any of that is helpful to you. Good luck!

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