1.09.2007

The People of the State of NY vs. Me

I got my first and only speeding ticket in July on my way up to Middlebury. It was on a long stretch of the Taconic Parkway, where the only other cars on the road are two or three people going faster than you are. The state cops flagged me down like I'd just hit the NASCAR finish line and filled their quota for the month of July.

To make a long story short, their letter to me outlining how much I would have to pay got lost in the mail and my Dad called me in November to let me know that my license was suspended until my court date on January 9.

Today was the day. Like any good criminal, I had my Mom drive me up to the Claverack courthouse, which, from the outside, looked a lot like a local firehouse from a Stephen King novel:

The judge was missing all but four teeth- two on top and two on the bottom. The decor was "the extra room in my parents' basement" circa 1969, complete with wood paneling which covered every possible surface- ceiling and all. And there was a nifty accordion wall available in case they wanted to split the courtroom into two so they could suck money from NY drivers in a more efficient manner.

I am now a free bird, but owe the state of New York $290, including a $55 "surcharge." Who do they think they are, Ticketmaster? I am not complaining however; I did a little bargaining with the ADA (Assistant District Attorney for those of you who don't hang out in courtrooms...) and got things down a bit.

The whole thing was straight out of a movie, My Cousin Vinny comes to mind. If the plea bargaining hadn't worked out, my argument would have been based around the fact that, despite my maturity, I'm still a "yute." I also had Marisa Tomei on standby. She was obviously prepared to prove my innocence based on the tire marks of a 1963 Pontiac Tempest and the amount of time it takes to cook grits.

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