Thursday, January 3, 2008

The $133 Cheeseburger

So, all four of my regular readers may remember this post about the Christmas light boat parade, and the end of it where I mentioned that I may have gotten a red-light-camera traffic ticket because I detoured from my regular route to get my whining, hungry 12 year-old a cheeseburger.

I sort of hoped that maybe there was someone behind me that triggered the camera, because I honestly thought I made it into the intersection on the yellow arrow. Apparently, I was wrong. I got the citation in the mail exactly two weeks after the heinous crime incident occurred. Three pages of citation, including a picture of my lovely face as I was committing said crime, and a picture of my license plate, in case anyone doubted that the big boxy tan van belonged to me. Oh, and the fact that the fine was $161.

So, I have four choices:
1) Admit responsibility and pay the fine
2) Identify the driver, if it's not you (there's no mistaking that it's me)
3) Request a court hearing
4) Attend traffic school

If you've ever been to traffic school, you know why my first inclination was to just pay the fine and be done with it. They even had this "neat" website, where I could log in with my citation number and city and watch a little video of myself running the red arrow. And let me tell you, boy was it close. Like nanoseconds close. Damn cameras. Anyway, so I watched that a few times, just for fun, then I decided to call the court, pay my fine over the phone, and get it out of my life. So I call the court and talk with Automated Annie, who wanted me to speak my citation number.
That went like this:

"Please say your citation number."

Me, speaking out loud: "T R zero zero zero three four two."

"Let me see if I have that right. P..."


"I'm sorry, my mistake. Please repeat your citation number."

"Tee R zero zero zero three four two."

"Let me see if I have that right. P..."


"I'm sorry, my mistake again. Please repeat your citation number."


"I'm sorry, your response was not understood. Would you like to try your license plate number?"


"Please say your license plate number."

"S D K seven four nine."

"Let me see if I have that right. F E..."

Sound of my head hitting the desk.

I start punching zero on the phone until I finally get a live person. I give her my citation number, and she can't find it in the computer. We try with the license plate. No dice. Then my name. Nada. I find this strange, since the citation that came in the mail came from the court and had a judge's name on it. So I wonder aloud if this means I don't have to pay the fine. She laughs and says no, it just usually takes about 10 days from the time that you receive the citation until the time when the camera stuff is actually downloaded to them? Well, I received the citation on Dec. 22nd, and it's now Jan 3rd. That's more than 10 days. Yes, she's been a little slow lately.

Then as I'm scanning the three pages, I notice this little tidbit: "If you are cited for violation abcdef-12-3 and decide to pay the fine, you must also attend a defensive driving class through the MVD." Well, guess what abcdef-12-3 is? Running a red light, of course. So it turns out, even if I just pay the $161 fine, I STILL have to go to a freaking class. I ask her how much the class is. She doesn't know, because that's through the MVD, not the court.

So, let's recap...I can pay a $161 fine, AND attend a class, or I can go to the damn defensive driving school, have the citation wiped off my record, and save myself almost $30, because going to the school is a bargain at $133. I asked her if the classes were still 8 hours long. I remember the last one I went to, and this is many, many years ago, it was all day on a Saturday. She said it was 4 1/2 hours. Well, yay. Saturday, January 19th, from 8am to 12:30pm. 4 1/2 hours of fun, all for $133. You hear Carl's Jr bragging about their $6 burger? I scoff at your $6 burger. I know of a $133 burger, and mine came from Burger King.

Don't run red lights,'s financially detrimental dangerous.


Lish said...

Aw, man...I was really hoping they didn't 'get' you!

Anonymous said...

I had to take a 'defensive driving' course to get a 'failure to yield' charge dropped. Beside the point that according to the letter of the law the charge would not stick because I actually did not fail to yield. But, I was willing to take the course to get it over with. (Trailed a truck after a green arrow even though the green arrow was gone. The light was still green, but it wasn't really kosher. However, I did it in front of a cop and pissed him off.)

I was able to take the class online, though. :)

But, I say to forgo points and not give revenue to "The Man", I'd take the course, too. Hehe.


Fannie Mae said...

I hope she was happy with her cheeseburger!

drawer queen said...

When the cameras come to my town I am dead meat. I drive like a maniac.

LIBSMOM said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! OMG Shelley, that is hilarious. Sorry your wallet is sore but thanks for sharing that. I HATE those automated voice things. I end up saying things like, you suck and that's because you're a dipshit and PLEASE can I speak to a human, they ARE very understanding though and they never curse back at me!!

Mary said...

Oh no! I sure hope that burger was DEEE-LISH!!!

onthegomom said...

**shaking head** wow, I am shocked into silence (and that doesn't happen often). That is hardcore crazy! Best of luck on the 19th!!!!