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It’s not the fine that gets you, it’s the ….

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I was driving my wife’s car last week, running an errand for her while she was off doing something else. As I pulled into the store I was heading to, a State Trooper pulled in behind me with lights flashing. I didn’t think I was going over the speed limit, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t run over any pedestrians, so I rolled down my window and asked ‘Is there a problem, officer?’

He told me the registration tags for the car were out of date. And were out of date by a year.

Well, in my defense, at this time last year my wife was having two heart attacks, and having a stent and a valve replacement surgery done. Sorry if something a little less significant like renewing a car registration slipped through the cracks.

But I was at fault, no arguing it. He wrote me up a citation, told me to get the registation renewed and went on his merry way.

I did the requisite getting the car inspected, and renewing the registration, leaving getting the citation taken care of as my last step. There is the option of taking care of it now, or waiting until December to have a court appearance that will still end up with me having to pay the fine.

There is an online process where you can dispose of the charge, so instead of having to go out and about, I opted for doing it online. The drawback of doing this is you are automatically assumed guilty and it goes on your record.

If I ever go to court, and I am already found guilty, I want to plead the same defense the same way as Miguel Cervantes did when he was tossed in jail before appearing before the Inquisition in Man Of La Mancha. His fellow prisoners put him on ‘trial’ and find him guilty before even starting. Cervantes then demands a trial. The ‘judge’ asks him why, he’s already been found guilty. Cervantes then reasons “If I’d plead innocent, you would surely have found me guilty. At least now you are obligated to listen to my defense.’ And what a defense. Go watch the movie if you haven’t already.

Anyway, back to paying the fine. My biggest complaint about it is not that I had to pay it, but that 80 percent of the fine was for ‘court costs.’ I’m paying it online. What court costs do they have there? If I were going to the actual court, and they had to have people there to do any work associated with the case, then they would be justified (maybe) with making 80 percent of the fine ‘court costs.’ But paying it online? Surely they could reduce the amount and still make a profit, er, cover their costs.

Just a little something to keep in mind folks.

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