Traffic Court in the 21st Century

Pro tip, if you are ever ticketed, especially for a moving violation, always plead not guilty and request a trial. Chances are the police officer won’t even show up. Then you’re automatically not guilty. No fine, no points.

In the Peoples Republic of Montgomery County (PRMC), at least one traffic judge is very lenient. I never got his name. He found everyone guilty but knocked down the penalties significantly. One gentleman who contested the ticket claimed the officer had gotten the wrong car. I was afraid he would get nailed. The judge took it in good humor and found him guilty, again with reduced fine and points.

I sidled up to one well-dressed young fellow, asking if he was a lawyer. He was and I pumped him for some free legal advice. Turns out he was there because he had tickets too. A lot of them. Friend of the judge, evidently. (Guilty!)

I haven’t been ticketed in over fifteen years, and that was for doing 40 in a 25 mile zone. I was in court for Little Nell, whom MaxSpeak old-timers may remember. She’s not so little any more. She stood to get a fine of $130 and three points. Neither her officer nor the witnesses to the carnage she initiated showed up. Chief victim was her (my) car, one of several in her brief but storied history. (Not guilty!)

The best case was a student from booshwah Churchill H.S. Preppy dress, mommy in the audience, lawyer in tow. Most people there just told the judge their story on their own. The lawyer launched into a soliloquy. Little Johnny does volunteer work, he plays lacrosse, he has a 3.2 GPA, his parents are taking him in hand, etc. etc. etc. Little Johnny WAS DOING 155 MILES PER HOUR, in a Mercedes M class or something. The judge knocked it down to 80 mpg or thereabouts. Watch out for Little Johnny, especially on 270!

Traffic court is a great way to spend a couple of hours if you’ve got time to kill. Highly recommended. It’s got humor, wonder, and class struggle.



Traffic Court in the 21st Century — 3 Comments

  1. I heard a pro-gun U.S. Senator from West Virgina on Charlie Rose talk about freedom, and the analogy he used was that cars have speedometers that go up to 140 but the speed limit is much lower. And I for the fist time I wondered why auto makers make cars that go that fast. Foreign competition? If they didn’t everyone would be old police cars?

  2. My traffic court story is from Lexington, Ky. when I was in grad school there.

    I was driving by a fast food place probably doing some 40-45 MPH in a 35 speed limit zone. A motorcycle officer pulled out from a stop and chased me down and ticketed me. I would have accepted a speeding ticket because I was. But the police officer wrote me a ticket for doing more than 20 MPH over the speed limit –over 55.

    In court I asked the officer how he determined my speed. He said he looked at his speed-odometer and he was doing 55 to 60. I turned to the judge and explained that if I was also doing some 55 to 60 than the officer pulling out from a full stop and driving at 55 -60 MPH would never have caught up to me. I had to be driving slower than the officer for him to over take me.

    The judge looked at me and said, of you some smart kid from the University??
    Guilty as charged.

    Basic physics was beyond his comprehension.

  3. Unfortunately, this does not work if you were ticketed far from home on a trip, where returning to the traffic court hundreds of miles away is more trouble than it’s worth. 🙁

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