He was only 19 years old and he was in a hurry. The young driver was on his way back from visiting his elder sister in New York. He was driving on one of the big interstates on a bright clear sunny day and he was driving too fast. In fact he was clocked by the New York State police at 86 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone.
When he was pulled over by the state trooper he was polite and provided the cop with his driver’s licence, passport, and proof of insurance and registration of the vehicle. The police officer told him that he was driving way too fast and the young driver responded by telling him that this may have been the case but he was really in a hurry to get to a concert back in Canada.
This was hardly reason enough for the police officer to “let him off”. He did however duly note on the tickets that the young driver had admitted that he was speeding and the rather nebulous reason for it. He gave him the ticket and some serious advice to slow down.
About a month after he got home the young driver took a look at the ticket to see how much he would have to pay and then consulted with me to find out whether he even had to pay it at all. I told him that any time you get a ticket that you deserve, you are obligated to pay it. The problem arose when we noticed that this New York ticket did not give an amount that was owed.
It did however give a date when the young driver was to appear at the courthouse in a small town located next to the place on the highway where he was intercepted by the state trooper. Unfortunately that date had passed.
We then phoned the courthouse in the small town and asked to speak to the court clerk. She said that in order to identify the ticket she needed the young driver’s date of birth because that was the easiest way to look him up in their records. We gave it to her. She looked up the ticket and noted that indeed his court date had passed but advised us that they did not actually bring his file to court on that day.
What they were going to do was to eventually bring it before the judge who would then issue an order withdrawing the driver’s privilege of driving in the State of New York. This would be done because he failed to turn up at his court date.
For the moment however, they had not got around to doing so. She informed us that since he was driving more than 20 mph over the speed limit he would not be allowed to file a written explanation as to what had happened and would have to appear in court in person or alternatively he could plead guilty to the charges as laid by mail.
The option of sending out an explanation was somewhat moot since the ticket itself had already recorded his somewhat lame explanation that he was driving fast because he was late for a concert. The court clerk did however give us the amount of the fine that he would be condemned to pay. It was well over $200. She also agreed to allow us about 10 days to send in a written guilty plea and promised that the judge would not issue an order taking away the young driver’s driving privileges in the State of New York at least for another 10 days to give his guilty plea a chance to arrive.
He sent out his guilty plea immediately and is now waiting for a bill from the court which he will immediately pay. If he does so, his driving privileges in the State of New York will stay intact.