Friday, January 25, 2013

Caught in a Set Up – Part 2 – WTF?

This is part 2 of a 3-part true short story.
Part One can be found here Just the facts, ma'am
Part Three can be found here: No Hope for the Hopeless

Are you worried about government stealing your money in Washington? Fuggedaboutit! Look closer. It's as near as your downtown Clerk of the Court and County Sheriff’s office.

Caught in a Set Up –
Part 2 – WTF?

            Flabbergasted. Stunned. Confused. Shocked. These and more passed over me quickly. The red-faced, sweating, overdressed-for-the-temperature officer remained straight-faced as he wrote the ticket.
            I gained my composure to ask, calmly, how I was supposed to stop for the 'pedestrian' and not cause a five-car pile up? He, too, remained composed as he explained the timing was such that the driver would have plenty of space to stop once the pedestrian stepped onto a crosswalk. Positively bug-eyed at the admission of the set up, I quizzed him on several other traffic rules and regulations. He failed the quiz. To his defense, he did admit that he and his fellow officers were here strictly for this duty. Ah, I thought. Trained for this one job. Entrapment.
            When I went home, I told my husband the full story. He laughed.
            Did he laugh at me for not yielding to a pedestrian? No.
            Did he laugh at me for receiving a ticket? No.
            Did he laugh at me for quizzing the officer? No.
            He laughed because I have always been a staunch supporter of the police. I’ve embraced the belief that the police are right. They are humans, and are doing a very difficult job. If you’ve received a ticket (I remember saying to him smugly), you deserved it.
            I allowed him his laugh. Then I hired The Ticket Clinic. Their advertisement guaranteed no points on your license, no matter the outcome. They would fight unjust citations. They would represent the accused with unwavering dedication. After you paid the $90.00, nonrefundable fee, of course.
            My interaction with The Ticket Clinic (henceforth referred to as Wasted Money, or WM) was frustrating, at best. Their rep requested all of the information on the first call I made. That was it. No further interaction until I called, three weeks later, to ask of the status. I was then told the court date was set for two weeks from that date. I asked if someone would be in touch with me. I was assured by WM that someone would.
Yeah, I should have seen it coming…
            Three weeks later I received a letter from WM stating I was Found Guilty.
            I called WM. After a bit of ‘research’ the guilty verdict was confirmed. The fine is now $230.00. Oh, and, points were assessed. Since their advertisement ‘guaranteed’ no points, they had to adjudicate. I asked if I should pay the fine now and was told by WM to wait until the adjudication was complete.
            Four weeks later I received a letter from WM saying the points and all record of the guilty verdict have been removed.
            The next day I received a letter from the state, informing me my driver’s license would be suspended in three weeks, the 29th of the month, for failure to pay the fine. According to this letter, I can pay the fine online.
            Fabulous. Upon checking the referenced website for Orange County, it showed my license as suspended. Not “going to be as of the 29th,” but suspended.
Again…fabulous. Thanks, WM.
The Orange County website touted the virtues of online service. Everything can be done online now, it declared. Just use a major credit card, and all will be processed online. So, I paid online. The site seemed rather adamant about printing a Form D6. It warned me, if I didn’t have a printer, I should wait and pay when I did. The website admonished me to print Form D6, because it cannot be obtained at any other time. So, I printed Form D6. Then, after paying, printing, and reviewing the next lines of instruction, I find I am required to present Form D6 to the Orange County tax collectors office. In person.
            WTF? That can’t be right. The state said my license isn’t suspended. They issue the damn things, so, that can’t be right.
            I waited five business days. I checked the website again. My payment has been applied. No balance due. But, if I do not hand-carry Form D6 to the Orange County Tax Collector’s office by the 29th, they get another $60.00! Yes. Sixty Dollars! Online my ass!
            But wait, it gets better…

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