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Driven - A Ticket Tale

Dec 7, 2007
I was busted. I had only been in Dallas for a year and half, but I didn't have the excuse that I didn't know where the DMV was located. My registration was overdue by a couple of months and the officer stopped me while cruising down Greenville Avenue during my lunch hour.

His police car was trailing behind me for a bit, but it made me nervous so I slowed down and changed lanes to let him pass. I guess he noticed the expired sticker from his rearview. I should have renewed online when I had the opportunity.

Once expired, you can not renew online or by mail. I was dreading having to wait in line at the court house for the renew. So I exchanged 30 minutes of inconvenience for five hours of my life, when I had to go to the court house two more times.

10 or 20 Days?
The officer told me I had 20 days to get my registration and to go to the court house to schedule a court date. Twelve days later I was waiting in a long line at the court house with my new proof of registration I had paid for that day.

With my proof of registration (receipt) and the peeled off expired sticker of yesteryear in hand, I was proud of myself for getting it taken care of earlier. The court clerk corrected me by saying I had 20 days to contact the court about the ticket, but ten days from the day of the ticket to get my registration. I was two days too late. My face fell.

She said it is policy to dismiss those types of citations on the spot if not over ten days, but instead they scheduled a court date seven months later the following October.

Now I know why so many people go to jail because they miss a court date. When you are sitting in jail, it is easy to remember your court date, but it is a different story when you are a typical law-abiding citizen who might get a ticket once every two years. I considered my options:
- Pay it
- Hire a lawyer
- Plead no contest & take defensive driving
- Contest it

In the back of my mind, I had planned on getting a lawyer closer to the court date. For some reason I never secured one. I had used one a year ago when I had received two tickets in one month, but he was reluctant to take the case since they were not that severe.

When my court date arrived, I decided to defend myself. I truly believed the police officer gave me wrong information. If I failed, I would still be able to take defensive driving, so I was not worried.

Sitting in the court room at 8:30 am they called out the names of those on the roster scheduled for court that morning. I was not on the list. I could have walked out, but I called attention to it. The bailiff looked me up in the computer and found me.

The judge told all to come back at 10am, so I went and got some breakfast. When I got back they dismissed my ticket. I am not sure if it was because the officer was not there, or for some other reason. The moral of the story is, you should always try to fight your tickets. You may just get it dismissed. If not, you can still take defensive driving.
About the Author
Neil Lemons represents Comedy Defensive Driving, a state approved ticket dismissal course serving those in Texas needing an online defensive driving course . For more information, check out http://www.comedydefensivedriving.com
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