Traffic Court  

Posted by Roland

I got a ticket about a month ago (41 in a 25) and appeared in court Thursday. I could have paid it online or via telephone or via snail mail, $145 bucks or so I think, but I never got around to it so I had to appear in court. Parking wasn't great near the courthouse and I ended up parking several blocks away. But it was free.

While walking towards the courthouse I passed an old building that used to be a school. Apparently when they were building it "way back when" they discovered civil war soldiers buried on the hill. Well, instead of making a big deal of it they built the school on top of the hill anyway and declared it a memorial to those unknown soldiers.

There was a line outside of probably 50 people trying to get into the court building. Two metal detectors and a half a dozen armed police guarded the entrance. I stood in line for about 5 mins or so and got about half way through when a cop came out and told everyone in the line that recording devices were not allowed in the court building. This included cell phones with built in cameras. Seeing how I recently got a phone with a camera on it, I was forced to go back to my car and leave my phone in it. Then I returned to the end of the line which had somehow gotten longer.

About 10 mins later I'm in the building and there's 5 court rooms. I have no idea which one is me since there's no signs indicating who goes where. I walked around a while and talked to a clerk who said an information desk back at the elevator was where I needed to go. I went there, saw my name on the docket for courtroom# 3, and off I went.

The courtroom wasn't too large, probably 100 or 150 seat capacity. It reminded me of a small church. Bench seats were arranged facing a large altar, err I mean desk, and a man in robes behind it preached the law. The room was about 75% full. The judge (not a commissioner like in San Marcos, CA) went through all the name to find out who pleased guilty, not guilty, no contest, or weren't present. The docket contained all kinds of offenses, not just minor traffic violations. A prosecuting attorney was sitting in the room taking notes. Several people with "fix it" tickets, like expired tags or forgot their license, were instructed to show the cop evidence of the violation being fixed and were immediately dismissed. One lucky gal got off because her officer was not present. I, on the other hand, was not so lucky. My cop had about a dozen cases. I figured he would be there though, it was a total speed trap scenario (Of which there are MANY in VA).

After having contemplated pleading no contest, not guilty, or asking for a continuance, when my name was finally called I simply pleased guilty. I sat back down and waited for the rest of the names to be called. Afterwards the attorney went out into the hall to consider plea bargains. I waited out in the hallway and finally spoke to the attorney. I had no real recourse or excuse. The cop had a laser device, did his due diligence, and I wasn't especially paying attention to my speed since the flashing school zone 25 sign ws NOT blinking. If it had been, I would have set the cruise control at 25 and not sped. I see cops in this stretch of road all the time.

I was adjacent a large white truck and when the cop stepped out into the road, I swore he was motioning for him, not me. I was a little surprised. Anyway seeing how I have a clean driving record and I wasn't reckless driving, the attorney offered 50 dollar fine (plus court costs) and traffic school (which I could do online). He suggested I get a VA license instead of the Wisconsin license I still held since the law says I should have done that within 30 days of being here.
I agreed and went back into the court room. After a time the court got back into session, my name was eventually called, I agreed to the attorney's terms, and the case was dismissed pending proof of traffic school. I paid 64 bucks and got a list of approved traffic schools.

Overall, fairly easy and efficient. I was there around 70 mins or so, and it took another 25 to wait in line, walk to and from my car several times, and find the courtroom. I was fairly angry after I got the ticket but I calmed down after a few days and simply accepted my wrong-doing. It wasn't so bad after that.

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 18, 2007 at Saturday, August 18, 2007 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I hate when the cop is on foot. That's like cheating.

9:42 AM

The cop wasnt on foot. Him and another cop were parked in a business park parking lot and each of them standing in the middle of the road tagging speeders.

3:30 PM

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