About a month ago I got a speeding ticket on NW Highway. Everyone speeds on that road but the cop got me and I got the ticket. I’m not going to lie, I was speeding and I deserve the ticket but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up that easily. I decided to do what every 20-30 year old white male does; take defensive driving. I got all the forms filled out, wrote out my check and dropped it in the mail.
Two weeks later I got two pieces of interesting mail. One was my ticket, returned check and a letter saying that unfortunately, I mailed it to the wrong address and made the check out to Dallas County, not the City of Dallas. The second piece of mail was a letter stating there was a warrant out for my arrest! Great, perfect, wonderful. Now my fee has gone up to $297 and if I still want to take defensive driving I have to go downtown to the courthouse and see a judge. Fine, I messed up, I’ll go down there and take care of this.
Friday morning I get there at 7:00 and as I’m driving by I see a massive line of people waiting to get in. On Friday they only take the first 50 people and there were well over that number waiting in line. So I just kept driving, found an empty parking lot and listened to the radio until it was time for work. I’ll try again on Monday… maybe Tuesday.
Monday was a rough morning because I was at the Radiohead concert on Sunday night so I decided to try on Tuesday. I get downtown early so I would get a spot in line but alas! I didn’t have any money to park. This begins my search for an ATM, and that is darn near impossible to find downtown. I finally found one, got money and then parked.
This marks the time I stepped out of our world and into a world I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to. It’s crowded, dirty, oddly cold and it’s full of employees who would rather be anywhere but at work and full of lower class citizens who would rather be anywhere but at the courthouse. It’s so efficient that they have a metal detector and a bag screener but no one is looking at the bag screener. So basically if I’m smart enough to stick my knife/pipe bomb/pistol in my bag and not in my pocket I could have had a field day. OK, enough ranting.
Monday-Thursday they take 90 people but due to my ATM saga I didn’t get a good spot in line. A lady who works there passes out numbers depending on your place in line and I was in the bottom 40. The first 50 get to see the judge right then and the next 40 have to have their paperwork processed and then come back at 12:45 to see the judge. I asked the lady how long this would take and she said it was an hour and a half to have your paperwork done and then at 12:45 it would take another 3 hours to get in and see the judge. That’s a total of 4 and a half hours. And they payoff for all of this? Another 6 hours in front of a computer taking defensive driving! It took me about a half a second to weigh my options.
I politely handed her the number she gave me, asked where I go to pay the ticket, and got in that line and paid the damn thing. I can’t sit down there all day and fight through the nightmare of our tax dollars at work. I know it’s a lot of money but it was worth it in the long run. Plus, I’m 99% positive I was the only one in line that had a steady job. The girl in front of me had to get out line because she had to go to Lew Sterret to get paperwork that shows she had already served time for not paying tickets! I was surrounded by criminals!! And there were over 90 other people like her there!
In summary, this speeding ticket cost me $297.00 plus $5.00 to mail it (to the wrong address) plus $6.00 in parking fees, plus two mornings of getting up before six. Moral of the story, don’t speed. If you get caught, make sure you have the right address.