Parking in DC
I'll start with a rant, because this really ticked me off. I got a parking ticket in the mail a month ago when I had the flu. The parking ticket ominously told me I was over 30 days late on paying a parking ticket on 2/1/07. Needless to say I was absolutely stunned that I was 30 days late on anything but my period. But since I was down with the flu I could only muster enough energy to cry and feel like shooting myself. My husband tried to dissuade me from killing myself by saying it's easier to pay the $50 ($25 + the late fee). But that's not the reason I cried. I cried because I never GOT the first ticket AND the parking meter was NOT expired. And it's my freaking word against a stupid ass traffic cop who decided to make some extra money for the DC government. It's totally wrong that I go through life trying to be the most law abiding person there is. I do everything by the book. I refuse to do anything illegal even when my peers mock me for it. I refuse to copy software programs and I always buy original CD's and software licenses. And then comes along someone who represents the law and pins ME - of all people, this cop finds ME???? What the FUCK! Let me point to you who you should hassle every day. Let me show you where to concentrate your law enforcement efforts.
After I was convinced that killing myself will not make this cop change his method, nor will it make my dog happy - I decided to do the next honorable thing. I went to court to contest it. It's not about the money. It's about the principal. I did nothing wrong and I didn't see a reason I should pay for doing nothing wrong!
Yes, I took a day off work, took the METRO for the first time from the station near my house, figured out how to get to the DC courthouse (and boy was that confusing with the multiple entrances and clueless cops), waited in line, only to fight a $50 ticket (ironically, if I had waited one more day, I would have found in the mail the ticket with another late fee totalling a $55 ticket!).
I sat across the judge with three other criminals like me. Two of them - I swear to dog, I have no idea how they even had the mental capacity to figure out where the DC court was LOCATED! These men sat across from the judge as she asked them simple questions about their parking tickets (ten tickets between the two of them). I honestly wish I could repeat the entire case here, but I could not for the life of me even understand what they were uttering in their version of English. All I know is that after two minutes of "was this your car? is this car registered under your new address? why didn't you pay the ticket?" they responded with "I didn't know I had to register my car when moving" and that about closed their case against them. Ask me if I would have known to register my car if I moved from Washington DC to Washington DC - heck no! Com'n, where am I supposed to find this out?
But I digress. By the time my turn is up, the judge is not in her bestest moods. I took the oath, I swore to secrecy, I promised my mommy's life if I lied. Did the judge even CARE??? HECK NO!
So here's what happened. I attended a farewell luncheon in DC for a coworker. This luncheon was planned and scheduled via 5 emails, a calendar invite and phone calls. In order to attend it I had to drive my car from a location 20 minutes away, with another coworker. I parked across from the restaurant next to a parking meter. Bear in mind, this isn't the first time in my 20 years of driving that I parked next to a meter. I've grown up in a city, I lived in a city, I'm a city girl. I know how to use a meter. My coworker and I had very limited time for this luncheon. Less than 2 hours. So we put enough money in the meter for 2 hours. Plenty to cover the time at the restaurant. Keep in mind that between my coworker and I there are four college degrees - so we're not idiots. We had lunch, which was less than 2 hours long. We left. We got to my car, we had a few minutes left on the parking meter - my coworker sighed a sigh of relief because he's the type of person who would have felt REALLY bad if I had gotten a ticket while giving him a favour of a ride. Not only that, but he would have offered to pay the ticket if there was one, because he feels he owes me his life (I helped him with his career). Had I gotten a ticket for $25 I would have been pissed and paid it off right away, or at the latest - end of the month, when I pay the bills.
I came in front of the judge with a letter from my coworker explaining this exact story and confirming my side. First thing the judge says: "This letter should have been notarized. I cannot accept this as evidence." WTF! When I called the number on the ticket and asked how to contest it, no one mentioned that evidence must be freaking notarized! Then the judge didn't believe me that I was at the restaurant less than two hours, in spite of me explaining to her that it takes me 20 minutes to drive from work to DC and back, and I was gone only two and a half hours from work overall. Then she didn't believe me that when I got the letter in the mail I actually remembered what I did on 2/1/07 at 2pm, regardless of me trying to explain to her that it was on my Outlook calendar because I don't frequent DC at lunchtime that often and I NEVER take 2 hour lunch breaks without it being on my calendar because my boss needs to know where I am. Then she didn't believe me that I actually LOOKED at the meter when I got back to the car and saw that it wasn't expired (ok, what the hell??? Doesn't EVERYONE check the meter to make sure there is time left, just so they can say 'phew, I made it!'? Am I such a freak???). Then she didn't believe me I had a dozen witnesses who saw me get into the car and if I DID have a ticket on my car they would have made fun of me and I would have been embarrassed as hell, because everyone KNOWS how much of a law abiding person I am (yeah, I'm so anal that I track my time at work to the 15 minute accuracy, and if I surf the Internet 15 minutes I add on 15 minutes to the end of the day before leaving work). THEN...she didn't believe me I read the right parking meter! Whoa, lady, are you seriously comparing me to the two cerebrally challenged people who sat here before me?!
This ended up with the judge ruling $25 ticket remains. She gave me the benefit of the doubt about not getting the first ticket on the windshield of my car. And she decided to accept the letter, even though it wasn't notarized because I guess she realised it was ridiculous that no where on the DMV website or on the phone did anyone TELL me it was supposed to be notarized. MORONS!
So to the idiot DC cop who decided he should pick on a Hybrid car with a Maryland license plate - I hope a Maryland cop tickets you for speeding and arrests you for being an asshole.
To the potentially retarded kid who decided to remove the ticket from my windshield just to see how much fun it would be for me to have thoughts of killing myself - I hope one day you'll have kids who end up in jail.
To the asshole judge who wouldn't believe a law abiding citizen who TOOK THE OATH, I hope you'll continue to question every person who tells you the truth, to a point of becoming paranoid, schizophrenic and hospitalized in an insanity asylum.
Because I AM a law abiding citizen, and it blows when the judicial system sucks so much that instead of keeping me safe from the criminals, they pursue the innocent.
Yeah, this rant is a better option over killing myself. But damnit I so wanted to die just so the headlines would say, "DC cop causes death of an innocent law abiding citizen. DC cops apparently have solved all crimes in the Nation's Capitol and have nothing better to do." Or something like it.