I'm not sure if I mentioned this or not, but I received my first speeding ticket EVER last month. I joked that I was almost 40 years old and had just received my first speeding ticket. I actually received it the week before my birthday. When I called to tell Reagan I had gotten a ticket, he said, "Happy Birthday."
I had just picked up Sara Madalin from school. There are three elementary schools on the street where her school is. So, I had just left her school but I was still in a school zone and was very distracted by the 4-year-old in my backseat. I was getting on to her about something when I noticed blue lights in my rearview mirror. She thought the policeman was going to take me to jail. She was pretty upset once he took my "credit card" (driver's license) and went back to his car while we sat there.
I was given a ticket stating I was going a speed "greater than safe" in a school zone. He told me the court date for paying or contesting my ticket, and told me to slow down.
As I said, Reagan told me the ticket was my birthday gift. He also said that since we'd have to pay it (because I knew I was guilty and it was the right thing to do), I needed to request attending defensive driving school. To request that and get a judge's approval, I had to attend court.
Today was my court date. I was told to arrive about 15 minutes before court started. So, I planned to be there about 25 minutes before court started. But do you know what I realized once I arrived downtown and began looking for somewhere to park? Parking in downtown Jackson, MS costs money. Would anyone like to take a guess as to how much money I had brought with me. . . Zero dollars. I had about 80 cents in change in my wallet. So, I drove around looking for anywhere to park. I finally found a place 2 blocks up from the courthouse and about 5 blocks over. It was a one-hour parking spot and cost 25 cents. I put in 2 quarters hoping that it would give me 2 hours. It didn't. It kept both my quarters, but it only gave me one hour on the meter.
So, I hustled on over to the courthouse after I parked. It was now about 15 minutes before court started. When I got to the courthouse, the line was down one hall, then back up the other direction, out the courthouse door, and down the steps. By the time we started moving, the line behind me was to the street and down the sidewalk. There had to be 200-250 people there to either pay or request a court date to contest their ticket.
We went inside and checked in, only to get in another line to wait to enter the courtroom. I probably waited an hour before ever entering the courtroom. Once inside, when our name was called, we had to plead guilty or not guilty. As I stood waiting for my name to be called, I thought, "I wonder what they'll do if, when they call my name, I say, '100%, absolutely NOT GUILTY your Honor.'" But I'm such a chicken, I didn't say anything, I just raised my hand and nodded, "Yes. Guilty."
We waited a little longer, then the judge actually entered. He just happened to be a fellow church member. Knowing him DID NOT get my ticket dismissed.
When my name was called again, I "approached the bench" to repeat my plea and request traffic school. I was scared y'all. My legs were shaking. I was never even called to the principal's office in school, except to be told I was elected Student Body President, or receive word I'd won an award. Seriously. And here I am now, a hardened criminal with a record.
I was told to sit and wait again. When I was finally called, I went into a room with a clerk and 3 other people there to pay their tickets. I waited as the clerk spoke with the first person she called. Then she called my name. By then, I'd been in the courthouse 2 hours. She asked if I was going to pay my ticket in full. I said yes, and that I'd also requested traffic school. She looked at me in disbelief and said, "You could have been out of here a long time ago."
Well, of course I could have. Because that would have made sense - to let someone who came to pay their ticket, actually pay it and go home. She walked me around to another window where I paid my ticket and was done.
And I did it all without getting my first tattoo or having to join a gang. But you seriously don't want to mess with me now that I've been on the inside.