Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Smooth Criminal

Okay, not the Michael Jackson song or the Alien Ant Farm version, but you get the idea. This was a post that I had planned on doing a few days ago. Being on vacation is nice because I don't remember to do anything but lay around! I digress.

I'm definitely not a smooth criminal. Remember when I told you about the ticket I received for speeding and following too closely? Damn moving violations.

Last Friday I went to court instead of just paying the 2 tickets (at $97.75 a piece), getting 6 points on my license, and possibly jacking up the insurance rate. It was my vain hope that I would have both things dismissed, get probation, and not have to pay court costs.

Well, 2 out 3 is good right?

Sure. Tell that to my wallet! I got the speeding and following too closely citations dismissed and the judge put me on 30 days probation. As long as I don't screw up (ahem, get caught...just kidding) for the next month, then I don't get the points on my record. However, I still had to pay court costs for both citations. The municipal court of Knox County/City of Knoxville kindly took $193 from a poor college kid.

I could point out the injustice of it all, but really there was no wrong done. I committed the crime and received a punishment.


I will say that I got shafted by the judge. Of the group of people (certain letters of the alphabet) that went right before me, a few of them had the same things as me: speeding and following too closely, plus some of them had received tickets in the past. They got off on the counts, got probation, and didn't have to pay court costs for both things.

I had to. And it sucked. Big time. My Mom knew I was doomed when the lady in front of me, who incidentally never had a ticket before in her life (like me!) and who had the same citations as me, had to pay court costs. Mom figured that the judge was tired and had handed out too many "free passes." Plus, it was almost lunch time so he wanted to expedite the process.

In the end, I learned several valuable lessons. After spending 3 and 1/2 hours in a stuffy, poorly lit courtroom with the best, brightest, worst, and not that smart-est that the area has to offer: I gained a great deal of patience, I learned to entertain myself with the most limited of resources, and I realized that the cops pull over all kinds of people equally. To me, there was no evidence of discrimination in terms of who got pulled over. There were white, black, Asian, and Hispanic folks. Male and female. Young, middle-aged, and old alike. Rednecks and white-collar people. College kids and farmers.

One funny thing I'd like to mention (as if the entire recollection isn't knee-slapping) is that a friend from church got pulled over the same day for the exact same reasons by the same cop as me. How funny?! We sat near each other in court.

One nice thing about this whole courtroom drama was that the cops pronounced my last name right, both during the reciting of the docket and when they called me up to the bench. Saying my last name right rarely happens in the wild my friends. For the record, Siferd is said like Sigh-ferd. In middle and high school when new teachers would call roll, they almost always said Siferd wrong. I had friends, acquaintances, and even kids that I didn't really know tell the teacher how to say my name. I never had to! The whole class would yell back, SIGH-FERD. I miss those days.

Immediately when I got pulled over, but for sure after court, I realized that I am not a smooth criminal. If the worst thing that I ever do is get a moving violation, well, then I guess I have a lot to be thankful for.

I thought the Cops theme song was appropriate. It's freaking hilarious actually.

Don't speed. Don't follow too closely. If you still do those things, just don't get caught if you do!


Mary said...

$193...OUCH! At least you don't have those points against you, though!

Moo! said...

Don't be my son who is out over 1200.00 and counting for ignoring a traffic citation, getting stopped and finding out they had suspended his license because of it, they impounded his car etc. etc. etc. 193.00 in the grand scheme of things is a cheap lesson in life.

Ashley Siferd said...

Oh my Moo...$1200! That's a lot of money. My lesson is cheap compared to your son's, yes, but it still hurts :(

Anonymous said...

Ahh, SIGH-FERD :) Those days were fun.