of Doubt" Part 1
My heart sank as red and blue lights flickered on the horizon.
I had just used the passing lane to overtake another vehicle
and was still accelerating to put a safe distance between me
and the white Altima that was driving recklessly along a portion
of Arizona State Highway 264, about 3 miles west of Ganado. There
would be no explaining that, however, to the officer who wrote
the ticket. His exact words:"I didn't see it, so it's your
word against mine." That's exactly what I thought, so I
decided that I would submit payment as a bond and request a court
date. I was banking on the chance that he might not show up and
the ticket would be thrown out. What I didn't realize was that
the courthouse where I would be requested to appear was nearly
a hundred miles from my home in Keams Canyon. "Oh well,"
I figured, "that will only make it less likely for the officer
to show." To my additional advantage, I assumed, was the
fact that the court date wasn't for another 60 days. "Who
in their right mind is going to care enough to drive a hundred
miles to defend this ticket," I thought to myself, "let
alone remember to appear. Certainly this officer's got better
things to do than to argue to the legitimacy of this ticket."
I was pretty confident that I had a good case - as long as he
didn't show! To be honest, I was a little aggravated that I'd
gotten a ticket for something that to me seemed unavoidable.
At any rate, as the date drew nearer, I started to worry about
the "what if's." What if he did show up? I mean, after
all, it really was going to be his word against mine, and although
I was honest in my explanation of what had happened, do you seriously
think the court is going to rule against an officer of the law
and set an ugly precedent like that? Hardly. Now I was really
praying that he wouldn't show. I was starting to wonder if I
should even appear at all. Maybe it would just be better off
if I forfeit my bond and call it good. I guess it was my pride
that got the best of me because in the end I just had to state
my case to the judge - even if he did rule against me. I figured
that all I could really do was stand up for myself. Paying the
ticket without contesting it would mean that I just lied down
dead - without anyone knowing what really happened.
It was the night before I was appointed to appear in court,
and I was still contemplating my decision to fight the ticket.
I figured I would make my final decision in the morning. When
I awoke, the situation wasn't any clearer - but I decided to
go anyway. It took me over an hour and a half to find this particular
county courthouse, and I almost didn't. From the outside, it
looked like a homespun hair salon turned justice-of-the-peace
- and that's exactly what was painted in big, black, block lettering
on the plywood sign out front: "JuSTice of the PeaCe."
To my surprise, the issuing officer did show up, thus explaining
his nickname, I later found out, which was "No Chance."
I pled my case, and the DA offered me some kind of "plea
bargain" called a waste of finite resources. I ended up
having to pay double the fine, but the ticket was thrown out
- resulting in no points on my record and a stable insurance
premium. I was satisfied, the court was satisfied, but somehow
I don't think the officer was. He should have stayed home that
I can't deny that my stomach was in knots during the proceeding,
and I had questioned whether or not I should have even come at
all, at least a hundred times. I was still resenting the fact
that I had gotten the ticket in the first place - and having
to drive a hundred miles out of my way on my only day off that
week didn't help. It wasn't until we were leaving the courthouse
that day that I saw the silver lining in my cloud of doubt....
To be continued in next weeks mailer!
Without Reservations: Index