May 5, 2010

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Or "Teenager's are a trip..."

Here's another appropriate quote I found this week, although this one is listed as "Author Unknown."

"It's difficult to decide whether growing pains are something teenagers have - or are."

Truer words were never spoken!!!

So here's the latest story:  In my home, we have two teenagers, but only one of them has earned his driver's license.  In mid-February, said teenager was pulled over by police on his way to school one day.  Was he speeding? No.  Was he weaving erratically through traffic? No.  Was he talking on his phone or texting? NO.  He was just a teenage boy on his way to school, minding his own business. However, when the policeman decided to run the plates, just for the fun of it, the vehicle came back as being uninsured.  Cue flashing lights and siren!

Turns out that our insurance company had the wrong VIN number in the system, so the vehicle, even though actually insured, wasn't showing up as such.  Frantic mom called the insurance company and they were nice enough to speak directly to the policeman, saving us an impound fee, but the policeman had already issued the citation and couldn't rescind it (which mom personally thinks is bunk, but who asked her).  The insurance company also faxed us a letter stating that we did indeed have insurance on this particular vehicle, how long we'd had it, the fact that we'd never had any lapses, the usual.  Now-subdued mom gave teenage boy the letter and reminded him that he needed to take it in to get the problem fully taken care of.

Now fast-forward to about a week ago.  Mom picks up the mail, only to find a letter formally addressed to "Parents of neglectful child" stating that because said child had never gone in to formally prove we had insurance, he was not only being charged with being an uninsured motorist, but would have a warrant out for Failure to Appear if he didn't get his mangy butt in to the court by May 5th.  Monday we took another copy of the letter from the insurance company and went to the court, assuming that the problem would end there. 

Is anything in my life ever really that simple?

No.  ** Sigh **

Because this child had waited so long, he would now have to appear on Wednesday (today) to speak to the Prosecutor.  After standing in line to see the prosecutor, he explained that, even though they were able to dismiss the uninsured motorist charge,  because it wasn't taken care of when it was supposed to, said child still had to go before the judge on the Failure to Appear and face a $207 fine.  He recommended that the fine be dropped to $50, but emphasized that it was "ONLY a recommendation; the judge doesn't have to accept it."  He gave us a paper and sent us to stand in line again at the Clerk's window, where we had started off the afternoon.

When it was finally our turn, the lady gave us an orange piece of paper, carefully making sure that we understood that, even though the recommendation was to drop the fine to $50, the judge didn't have to accept that."  As we entered the courtroom, the judge, whom I actually grew to love by the time we were done, was informing the person up to bat that even though they had a recommendation by the prosecutor, she didn't have to hold to that.  Gee - I think they wanted us to take note of that fact.

We then spent the next two hours watching person after person take the stand, most for no insurance, no registration, and suspended licenses.  Excuse after excuse was offered, but the judge handled them all in a totally even-handed and even humorous manner, only chewing up and spitting out a few of them.  Each sentence ended with x-amount of days in jail, suspended upon payment of fine. One man offered up the excuse that his wife threatened to buy a dog if he didn't sell his motorcycle. "One of those yappy little things!" he responded when the judge asked what kind, when explaining the reason that he took his beloved motorbike on a last, uninsured ride before selling it.  When teenage-boy finally got his turn, the judge read through the file, and lo and behold, for probably the first time that day she agreed with the prosecutor's recommendation!  The fine would only be $50.  As she told the court stenographer what to write on the paperwork, when it came to the line about jail time, she looked at my boy and said, "he's too young, so we can't give him jail time, as tempting as it is!"

I really like this woman... :)


Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

You guys have all the fun.

WV: Mandpat

Mandpat Adj: Searching or patting down a criminal.

After the officer arrested the student. He gave the Man D Pat.

Lo said...

Good grief. I don't even know what to say. My day with such children, I fear, lurks just around the corner.