Words from Wik

Sharing my Experiences

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wiktor Goes to Court, pt 3

If you haven’t yet, read the last two posts about my court experience to get the full picture.

After all the action in the courtroom I had a brief chat with the Officer about the things that went on that day. Well actually, he did most of the talking. Basically I just told him that I didn’t want the demerits due to insurance, and he went on to tell me this:

Everyone knows that the Police have a quota for tickets that they must meet. It’s no secret. (Actually it was to me. I had heard people talk about ticket quotas but I had never heard solid confirmation until now). Every Officer has to write 20 tickets a month, it’s no secret. That’s why close to the end of the month you see guys out there with the radar guns so that they can meet their quota. Now it’s unfortunate when we have to give out tickets to good citizens like you. And because of that there are some “chicken-shit” tickets given out, tickets that you don’t normally see. And with those tickets you can usually get them dropped. But for speeding they have become very strict, and they won’t just drop them.

So he was explaining all this to me, almost apologetically for having given me this ticket. He wasn’t too thrilled about the ticket quota and I can understand why (they have to write close to one ticket every work day). Moral of the story? Don’t speed in the last 5 days of the month (thinking back, I got my ticket Dec 28). And if you get a chicken-shit ticket, fight it! (I am still not sure what would make a chicken-shit ticket. Maybe changing lanes without signaling or something like that?)

posted by Wiktor at 13:05  

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wiktor Goes to Court, pt 2

This post is a continuation of my previous court post, so check that one out if you want to know what I’m talking about.

So here is some of the advice I got from the Lawyer friend: when you’re taking a ticket to court, show up a few minutes early, go into the courtroom and try to find the Police Officer who gave you the ticket. If he’s not there, that’s probably good news, because if he doesn’t show up they throw the ticket out (I heard advice elsewhere that if you change your court date after setting one initially, it may conflict with the Officer’s schedule and he may not be able to show up to court).

If the Officer is there, go and sit down beside him and talk to him. Tell him why you’re there (I want no demerits please) and he may be willing to do that for you. Or he may not.

I think that’s about all the advice I remember. So I was going in there hoping either a) the officer does not show up (no, I did not change my court date) or b) he is cool with giving me no demerits.

On the court date I show up nice and early, find the officer responsible for my ticket, and tell him who I am. We start talking, I do as I was advised and tell him that I’m just here to get my demerits taken off. He is pretty cool with that, says he will talk to the prosecutor and ask if the demerits can be dropped. BUT (and he mentions this is a big but) in the end it is up to the prosecutor whether or not the charge can be lowered. He can do his best but ultimately the decision is not his (which is not how I interpreted the advice from Lawyer Friend). He mentions that likely the deal I got offered before would still stand if nothing else, and that if it comes to that I should take it. He said that I “would have no leg to stand on” if it went to trial, and I definitely agreed (I have no lawyer, just being in the courtroom and approaching the Officer was scary enough, and I am not about to go arguing a case I don’t have while not having any idea what I’m doing)! But I said I would make that decision once he talks to the prosecutor.

So he goes and talks to the prosecutor, I take a seat in the second row. I hear them talk and the prosecutor says pretty much “nope, I won’t take off the demerits.” The officer comes back to me when he’s done, and I tell him that I heard it all, so I’ll just go head and take the deal. I’ll take 2 demerits and half the fine, what else can I do? The officer informs me that I have to go tell the prosecutor myself, and leaves me to it. So I do just that, and tell the prosecutor I will take the deal. He briefly looks at me and says: “Alright, and tell you what, I can do you one better.” He then lowers the charge to a section 57, which basically changes it from speeding to not obeying a sign. He says something along the lines that it will not go on my record this way, so I’m like “alright, sounds good to me.”

What followed was that everyone got a turn to be called up and discuss the case with the judge. Luckily I was not first, so I saw what the person before me did. Basically you just stand up in the middle of the court room at the center podium and represent yourself. Luckily the prosecutor did most of the talking for me saying things like “…would like to enter a guilty plea to a charge under section 57 with…” and rambled on, half of which I didn’t understand. Then the judge just asked me if I agree with what was said and I say Yes. Then he asked me how much time I need to pay, and I just repeated what the person before me said, which was two weeks (I actually ended up paying the fine that day after everything). And that was it! Over! So I left the courtroom and started chatting with the Officer which actually ended up being the most interesting part of the day.

posted by Wiktor at 15:41  

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