June 10, 2010

I Got Misdemeanors You Don't Even Know About, Toots

One summer I drove from south Florida to Vermont. In keeping with my life's typical theme, this trip, which should have been a normal adventure, spiraled into a grand debacle that ultimately involved a court date and a lawyer named Rocco Columbus.
I had safely made my way through Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina when I entered what I now refer to as the State of Unfairness and Death, or Virgina if you're nasty.

I rarely speed when I drive. In fact, I've been called a granny driver on multiple occasions. But as I drove through good ole VA, I was listening to a book on tape. It was some idiotic murder mystery about a killer who referred to himself as an Owl (lame) and who was taking people out left and right at his high school reunion.

The story was really heating up, and as I passed through that fateful strip of highway, the narrator began the ascent into revealing the killer's identity. I got so nervous and wrapped up in the story that I inadvertently laid on the gas pedal and was doing 85 in a 70 without realizing it. That's when the unmarked police car burst out from the bushes and pulled me over.

I had never been pulled over before, on account of the granny driving, so I was really nervous. Luckily, I had the good sense to turn off the cd player, because the White, male narrator was doing the voice of a sassy, Black female character, and taken out of context this would have been downright offensive emanating from a motor vehicle. In the end, I didn't really look at the ticket, or argue the charge, or even question the part where he said something about a court date. I think I just stammered thank you as he walked away. It wasn't until I was back on the road that I noticed what was written on it:

That's right, I had been issued a written arrest and a Reckless Driving charge, which is not a traffic violation but an actual criminal offense. My Lawyer Sister didn't make me feel any better by proclaiming, "When employers see that, they assume it means a D.U.I. that got plead down in court! You're screwed." Soon I was setting up appointments with lawyers in the county. I was pulled over in a more rural part of the state, so naturally my only choices for this type of representation were "Butts and Butts," or "Rocco Columbus." I decided to go with Rocco because this is what I imagined:

Rocco turned out to be the maverick I had envisioned. Whether he argued a great case in court or called in a favor with the mob, I'll never know, but somehow history was rewritten and my speed was magically reduced to 75 in a 70. This demoted me from "misdemeanor" level to "minor traffic violation" level, as long as I paid a HUGE fine (this, on top of my lawyer fees) and attended driving school. I sat through six hours of the online traffic program, passed the final exam, clicked submit, only to see the screen go from this:

To this:

I called the school's IT people, who basically said, "Oh, just tell us your score and we'll put it in the system." I really could have done this in the first place. Throughout this stressful process, I think my friend gave me the best perspective. He told me, "Look at it this way, when you're married and the relationship gets a little dull, you can just tell your wife, 'I've got misdemeanors in states you don't even know about, toots.' That oughtta spice things up."

That is one heck of a silver lining.


Samantha Keefe said...

This is your best yet.

Rocco said...

A friend of mine said this popped up on a google search of my name. Glad I could help you. Hope you're doing well. Your sister still a big-time Florida attorney?