About 2 months ago, one of my sons was housesitting for my BFF. I was driving back and forth down the highway 45 minutes each way about 8 times, because he was also taking a summer class and sadly, BFF doesn’t live too close. On the first trip I got pulled over. I was in a cluster of cars, in my minivan, traveling up a hill, in the dark and going about 70ish. Low 70’s. That’s what my speedometer said. The cop, on the other hand, announced I was doing 83. He also had no interest in anything I had to say about it. The ticket was $300.
I pleaded not guilty and sent it in. I have been driving since my 16th birthday – 32 years – and even well before that with my mother in the car, and have been pulled over three times, none recently. Never once have I had an accident.
Once, I was required to send half of my fine to a charity of my choice, as a way of a ticket not showing on my insurance – but that was several years ago, and that option was not offered this time. I got a court date.
So last week, I went to traffic court, an hour away. Strangely, it was not in the county I live in, or the county I got pulled over in, but the horrid, awful county that I was divorced in. The same bailiffs from family court were there. And it was packed.
There were five prosecutors calling people. I was sitting towards the front and could hear everyone getting shot down and told to pay on their way out from the two meanest looking ones. I was called after an hour by a different one. The first thing she said to me was, “how fast do you think you were going?” I told her and she proceeded to lecture me on how minivans have tires not appropriate for their axels and if I don’t replace my tires every six months, it can alter the speedometer about 10 mph. She said she didn’t think I knew I was going that fast, that all of the cars around me were speeding, too, and that from now on I should try to go 10 mph under. She also said that I still have to be responsible and the best she could do was cut the fine in half. She asked if I needed time to pay.
I said I needed as much time as humanly possible, because I make $250 a week, have eight kids at home, am a full-time student trying to better my life – because the child support enforcement office, attached to this building, hasn’t gotten me child support in 7 years.
She looked at me. Then she said the she hasn’t gotten child support in 10. She told me she knows how hard it is. She told me to go, I was clear.
The point of this story – if a prosecutor working for the same system, in the same county, in the same town, in the same building, can’t get child support, then I obviously don’t have a prayer.