Good morning Dinks. Have you ever had an expense that ended up costing a lot more than just the price on the ticket? Pun intended. Well I have and although I just spent over $300 for a speeding ticket that should have only cost $140 I am not that mad about it.
Of course I was not happy to see $308 leave my bank account, but at the same time I was relieved to have the situation over and done with, is that crazy?
Here’s what happened:
Last July my friends and I took a road trip to New York City. Half way there we were stopped by a State Trooper because we were speeding. When he asked me if I knew why he pulled me over I said no. He told me I was doing 80 mph in a 60 zone. Being Canadian I honestly thought the speed limit was 80 mph. He told me to slow down, gave me a paper and sent us on our way.
I say he gave me a paper because there was no information on it and no dollar amount. In Canada when you get a ticket the infraction description as well as the amount of the fine are on the ticket. Is that not the case in the U.S.? The only information on the ticket was the option to plead guilty or not guilty, a space (a very small space) to write my explanation and the address where I should mail it.
Since I was on my way to the U.S. and I wanted to get this taken care of ASAP I filled out the form as soon as we arrived at the hotel and then went to the Post Office to send it via registered mail. That was last July. All summer my friends kept asking me if I heard anything from New York State and the answer was always no. Then we moved in October, then Christmas came and then the New Year and I still had no information. I went with the old saying that no news is good news so I thought this was all water under the bridge.
Then January 12th rolls around and I get a letter from my local DMV advising that my license has been suspended in the State of New York and if I cross the border in a vehicle I take the risk of being thrown in jail. WHAT?!
I called the local court house, which took me a day to find online and is only open on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8 pm, and the clerk told me that the total fine is now $308. The original fine was only $140 but with interest over the last seven months and a $70 suspension fee the total cost of the speeding ticket was now $308.
I explained to the clerk that I never received any notice and therefore didn’t have a chance to pay the original fine so I shouldn’t be obligated to pay additional interest charges and a suspension fee. The clerk was extremely impatient and explained I only had two options: 1. pay the fine in full by certified check or 2. come to the courthouse to talk to a DA and plead guilty to a lesser charge.
By this time I was so upset that I replied in a less than friendly manner “Well since I live in Canada and you suspended my license in New York I don’t see how I’d get there.” He hung up on me.
And here we are. On my recent trip to NYC I spent 15 minutes at the bank getting a certified check and 30 minutes waiting in line at the post office but now I’m officially allowed to drive in the State of New York again. So you see $308 is a lot of money to spend at once, especially on an unlawful speeding ticket, but at least this is all now behind me.