(I COULD BE SHOT BY GRANDPA FOR WRITING THIS SO THIS MIGHT BE MY LAST POST)
Remember this one rule: “There’s always the good reason and there’s the real reason.”
This rule applies to almost every word that comes out of the hole in the middle of people’s faces.
I’ll give you an example.
Claudia broke the law. That’s right, Claudia, I AM CALLING YOU OUT. SHAME!
She made a K-Turn in an intersection. She could’ve killed five people. If five people happened to be walking in that intersection and she didn’t see them. Fortunately there was nobody within a mile of that intersection.
Except for a police officer.
“Didn’t you see the sign?” he said and pointed a few blocks up in the direction where we were going so there was no way we could’ve even passed that sign.
Since we live a few blocks away we decided to plead not guilty. (I say “we” because on Facebook not only am I a lawyer but I am a trial lawyer and a traffic violations lawyer.)
It was like a date. The sun refracting into the night as it slid down over the mountains. The air was cool, reminding me of when Claudia and I first met and the walks we would take.
Walks past trees and the Hudson River where we would talk for hours and never run out of new twists and turns as we each discovered the mazes of each other’s life.
We walked to the courthouse. There were about 30 people there. We went through a security scanner to check for guns and stuff. Claudia had left her gun at home so we were ok and they let us pass through.
The judge came in. He reminded me exactly like my grandpa. I was already calling him “Grandpa”. He had white hair, that black robe, he was naked underneath the robe, etc.
Here’s what happened and here’s how you can avoid all speeding tickets and get zero points on your license. A speeding ticket is 2 or 3 points on your license and at least $200 in fines. Very bad!
A) In each case, before the criminal would face the judge, they would be called out of the room. At first I thought there was some special punishment happening and I got mildly aroused, but then reality set in.
B) When they came back in the room, they had a plea bargain all set.
C) I took notes on each one. 100% of the time, their charge got downgraded to a parking violation and they plead guilty to it.
D) Why? Because in a speeding violation, the money goes to the state. In the parking violation, the money goes to the local town.
No matter how fast or reckless the speeding violation was, it was downgraded to a parking violation. IN EVERY CASE, the town got the money and not the state.
E) In each case, the judge put a $25 surcharge on the ticket.
How come? Because he can.
And because that money also goes to the town and not the state. One girl tried to argue the surcharge and for the first time “Grandpa” stopped smiling.
“You could have 2 points on your license and an extra $150 fine. Are you going to plead guilty to the lesser charge instead?” And the girl said very quickly, “Yes, your honor.”
Right next to the judge was a woman with a credit card machine. They accepted Visa and Mastercard but not American Express. I called it “Scary Store” because everyone was scared, but they got the chance to buy their way out of fear.
F) When Claudia was called out of the room, her case was completely dismissed.
There wasn’t even a plea bargain because the officer wasn’t there and it wasn’t the usual speeding ticket so hard to argue without the guy there.
But there’s one interesting thing. In every ticket, the criminal (Claudia) still has to pay a $93 surcharge to the state. It’s the law. But since the town could care less about the state, Claudia was told to just go.
So we left and continued our nice walk.
We strolled past other people on dates. Maybe many of them were on first dates. Like we were just about five years earlier.
It was a nice night and we walked by the river and watched the monogamous ducks quack as they found their enclaves for the night. Claudia leaned against my shoulder. She was feeling relieved.
The good reason: Claudia broke the law and made an illegal K-turn in an empty intersection in the middle of the night a few months earlier.
The real reason: the town needs money and puts up weird signs about state laws and then uses Marketing 101 techniques to make everyone feel good about paying $125 (the fine plus the surcharge) by downgrading the law from the more “serious” offense.
Next time someone opens their mouth, use your bionic ear to hear both reasons, even if the real reason turns the lights on at Scary Store.