I’ve been driving some 77 years, but thus far I have never appeared in traffic court on my own behalf. In fact, as I wrote in a long-ago post, I have never received a ticket for a moving traffic violation. I must admit, however, that my automobile has been cited for an infraction on several occasions because of a traffic camera. Naughty car!
My not receiving a traffic ticket is partly a matter of luck. There have been instances in which I probably should have been ticketed but wasn’t. Perhaps my closest call was many years ago in Columbia, Maryland, when an officer cited me for an illegal left turn. I had moved out into the intersection on a green light and waited for approaching traffic to clear or the light to change before completing a left turn. The light changed, and I completed the turn. An officer evidently thought I was not out far enough in the intersection to make a proper turn, so he pulled me over and started to write a ticket. Fortunately for me, that morning my son Robert, then a high school student, was doing a ride-along with that patrolman as part of a school program. When Robert identified me as his father, the officer ripped up the ticket. How lucky can you get?
My wife Ann was not so fortunate. Over the years she was ticketed at least three or four times. I believe that at least two of those citations were definitely unfair. One occurred on a highway near Ocean City, Maryland. Ann was driving, and we had turned onto a highway not far from the beach when a patrolman pulled us over and charged Ann with speeding. I couldn’t believe it. We had just merged onto that road, and Ann had not even accelerated to normal speed. Ann was furious, and she wanted to show up for traffic court in Ocean City the following month. I talked her out of it as not being worth the time and cost involved.
Another of Ann’s tickets was truly a miscarriage of justice. There had been a serious accident in front of Centennial High School. A few weeks later the county erected a sign on Colonial Drive warning drivers that they could not turn left onto Centennial, in front of the high school, between the hours of 7:00 to 9:00 AM. Ann was unaware of the new sign as she approached it around 7:15 A.M. a week or so later. At that hour of the morning the sign was completely unreadable. She made the left turn onto Centennial right in front of a patrolman sitting there in his well-marked car. Ann was ticketed, and this time she was determined to go to traffic court to fight the charge.
I went with Ann to traffic court. My wife was well prepared, and she had even taken a photo of the Colonial Drive sign proving that it was unreadable at the time of morning when she was ticketed. It was all for naught, Ann had a slow southern drawl, and the female judge moved things along at lightning speed. The case was disposed of before Ann managed to get two words out. The judge fined her (reduced fine) and moved on to the next case without giving her a chance to explain the circumstances or show her photographic evidence..
Needless to say, Ann didn’t think highly of that judge.
I’ll continue to avoid traffic tickets and traffic court if I can.