Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stop! Wait . . . Where?

Where would you stop?

This is where I received the ticket for "disregarding a stop sign". You can read about that here. But I didn't disregard it. So I went to court last week to fight it.

During the wait for the judge, I learned a lot about people that go to court over a ticket. When the bailiff called their name and asked how they intended to plead, most said guilty. Now, I ask, why would you come to court if you could just pay the ticket? If you come to court, you have to pay the court costs as well as the ticket. Maybe there's something I don't know but I thought it was strange.

I giggled when the bailiff called one young man's name and the young man answered guilty. The bailiff said "To which one, ya got 5 here?" The young man, who was around 20 years old seemed surprised and approached the bench. Turns out, he was stopped because his wife's car looked like one that had been used in a robbery and he was speeding. He wasn't wearing a seat belt and, oh yeah, he didn't have a driver's license. His wife, who had joined him at the bench, began to loudly complain and the judge asked if he reset the court day, could the young man get a driver's license? He answered, "Uhhhhhh, I can try??? . . . " I will not go into the thoughts that were running through my head (and I'm sure the judge's head) but they started with "If I was his Mamma . . . "

Back to my case. The judge said the officer in my case was not available and the date would need to be reset. We agreed on a date and he said "Bring your evidence." Huh? What? Evidence?

Not only was it the middle of the night so there were no witnesses, but what would be considered evidence? My plan had been that, basically, it was my word against her's and I swore I stopped. I felt the discrepancy was in how long. I probably didn't stop for 3 seconds, but I stopped. Even if I lost with that argument, I would have had a chance to defend myself.

Then the other day, I realized what the problem was when I approached that intersection. The stop sign location is very confusing. It is about 15 yards from the corner. You have to be at the intersection to see around the corner. Do you stop where the stop sign is located or at the corner where you can see?

I decided to take pictures . . . for evidence. It was interesting to watch the driver's reactions to someone standing there with a camera. It was obvious they didn't know what to do either. Many stopped at the sign and again at the corner. Some went straight through the sign and stopped at the corner. Others stopped at the sign and just made the turn at the corner. Still others never stopped at all but treated the whole thing like there was a yield sign at the corner.

So I think that is my evidence. I say I stopped. I travel that way almost daily and I always stop . . . at the corner . . . before I make that turn. I am sure that's what I did that night. Maybe the problem is that I was supposed to stop at the sign and not the corner. I don't know. I guess we will find out in court.


Jennifer said...

Maybe the stop sign is for those people walking on the sidewalk. From the picture it looks like the sidewalk ends at the stop sign. :-)

Sometimes you just have to shake your head an wonder why.

Tere said...

Too funny - stopsign for the sidewalk . . . let me write that one down for my evidence. :)