Back in February of this year, I stopped a kid (19) for following too close. Coincidentally, as I pulled him over, he flicked his cigarette resulting in smoldering ash falling onto the roadway. I gave him the choice between a moving violation (a point on his license) and a non-moving violation (not a point).
I told him the mover would more than likely be cheaper, but again, a point. Conversely, the non-mover would be more expensive, but he needn’t worry about the point. Kid picked the non-mover.
Fast forward to court last week. Kid decided to fight the ticket. Really?!? I hate when I give someone a break and they decide to fight a ticket. Irritating. At any rate, it turns out the regular Commissioner wasn’t there. We had a temporary Commissioner. This one happened to know this kid, so he appropriately recused himself from the case and reset the trial for this morning at 0830 hrs.
As I was getting back on the bike earlier this week, I saw the kid stalking toward me. He didn’t look happy. He threw up his arms in frustration and suddenly turned around and walked away. Far be it from me to not poke the bear in the zoo. I rode over to him and this is how it went:
MC: Hey there. Looked like you had something to say. What can I do for you?
Kid: Nothing (throws up hands)
MC: Okey doke. See you Friday.
Kid: Man, I can’t believe this! I got bills to pay, you know! Now I’m supposed to come back here on Friday, too?
MC: Don’t get all bent at me. The Commissioner is the one who rescheduled. It’s not my fault you know the guy. And while we’re on the subject, didn’t I give you a warning for following too close?
MC: Didn’t I let you choose which violation you’d be cited for?
MC: And yet, here we are. You could have taken responsibility for your actions, but apparently, you decided to handle it a different way.
Kid: It’s a $400 ticket for dropping some ash!
MC: Yes, it is.
Kid: I’ll smoke right now and drop some ash, it goes out!
MC: Well, I can see you’re not really happy about it, so I’m not going to waste my time talking to you further about it. I’ll see you Friday.
Fast forward again to court this morning. The judge called the first case and it took about 20 minutes. We were in the criminal court now, not traffic court, since it was the first available area. The judge asked me what case I was there for. I told him. He asked me if the defendant was there. He wasn’t. The judge had the bailiff call the clerks office to see if the defendant had checked in. He hadn’t. The judge called me forward. He apologized for the waste of time and added a charge of Failure to Appear (FTA) and issued a bench warrant for $3,000.
The FTA usually runs about $300. If the kid gets picked up on the warrant, that’ll cost him another $300 (if he’s booked). So now, his $400 non-moving violation could very well add up to $1,000 and maybe a field trip to the hoosegow.
I had to stifle my chuckle on the way out of the court room.
Hey kid…maybe next time the nice Motor offers you a break and lets you pick your own destiny, you don’t try and renege on the deal? Whaddya think?