By Jordan W. Charness

This story is so unbelievable that I would not have believed it to be true except for the fact that the person it happened to is my niece and I trust her implicitly.

Around five months, ago she edged into an intersection thinking that she had enough time to cross before the light changed. Unfortunately things did not work out as planned and her car was stuck in the middle of the intersection, blocking the box. A lot of car honking ensued and eventually she was able to drive out of the box only to find herself pulled over by a police officer. She calmly explained to him what had happened and said that she really had no intention to get stuck or blocking traffic. He appeared sympathetic and did not give her a ticket.

Imagine her surprise when three months later she received one in the mail. Well, not exactly a ticket – what she actually received was a photocopy of a ticket made out to her for this traffic offence. Although she was annoyed at receiving this ticket she felt that she would be better off paying the $52 fine than contesting it in court, since technically she was indeed blocking the intersection and probably should not have entered it at that time to begin with.

That’s when her troubles began. She took the photocopy of the ticket to a bank but the bank refused to allow her to pay her ticket claiming that they needed the original ticket. She called the city and was told a photocopy was sufficient and that was all that she would get. She then took the photocopy ticket to a police station and was told that she could not pay the ticket there either because it had not been issued by them.

Her next stop was to the municipal court in her area. Once again she was told that she could not pay the ticket there either because it was not their city that had issued the ticket, and in any case, the photocopy did not have the barcode at the bottom which would have made it easy for her to pay.

At this point she was thoroughly frustrated and figured she would eventually receive some notice from the court complete with some kind of document that would allow her to pay the fine. She put the matter out of her mind.

On July 21, 2011 she received a letter in the mail from court telling her that she had until July 9 to pay the fine. This, of course, was during the postal strike! Obviously, she would never be able to pay the $52 fine by the deadline. The notice from court also said that if she did not pay she would be liable to up to 53 days in jail.

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