Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Traffic Violations Bureau.

Lets say you drive down a freeway and get stopped for a moving violation. The police officer tells you that you changed lane without signaling and you were moving much faster than your speedometer shows. You're told if you disagree with this ticket, you can contest it in court.

You wait for your court date and leave work early, reserving an hour for what should be a 15 minute drive. Unfortunately you cannot drive on this New York freeway faster than 10 miles per hour because the roads have become so dilapidated that there are more pot holes than there is left over asphalt. The court house has no parking and you spend half of an hour looking for parking on the street. Incidentally, most New Yorkers think it is a blessing to find parking in so little as a half hour.

Arriving inside the building, you wait one hour while the information clerk takes down your name and assigns you a number so that you may appear before a judge. The officer who issued this ticket no longer has to be present in the court. Why should he have to prove his side? Instead you are greeted by a lawyer who offers you a deal: Pay the fine and I will drop the points. Points in NY mean that your car insurance price will suddenly jump to be several thousand dollars more expensive. You might feel that was an false charge against you and that this whole ordeal is terribly unfair, but if you still want to contest your guilt, you must return for another court date.

At this point most reasonable people will simply pay the fine. You graciously accept a verdict of having to pay 150 dollars and head to the payment clerk. That just happens to be the longest line you've endured thus far because there is only one person available to accept these payments and she has a bladder problem necessitating her to leave for a bathroom break every 2 minutes. In the end you're just happy to get out alive vowing never to return to this awful torture chamber.

That was the whole point. You are not supposed to contest. Just fork over your money no matter how unfair the charge. Have you learned your lesson yet?

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