I Am The Scofflaw Man

26 Oct

October 26, 2017

I got a letter from the DMV the other day. Apparently I owed some money for an unpaid parking ticket. OK, it happens. I don’t usually get parking tickets and I pay them when I do but I guess one slipped by.

The letter informed me that I had to pay it by a certain date or my registration would be suspended. Again, OK. I’ll just pay it. How much? The letter didn’t say. It directed me to a website.

I went to the website and it asked me to enter the summons number. OK, I’ll just go back to the letter and see what it says.

It said nothing, No summons number.

So the website was useless and the letter almost as bad. It had a phone number which I called and when I asked how much money I owed I was told to check the website. I told them I needed a summons number. They told me to check the previous letter they sent. I told them I did not receive a previous letter. They told me to check the website. And so it went. Whoopee.

Being unable to make a payment because I had no clue what I had to pay, I had no choice but to request a hearing. There, I figured, they could tell me what I had to pay and I’d pay it.

But that makes too much sense.

I went to the hearing, where I explained to the judge that I knew I owed money and I fully intended to pay. I explained that I couldn’t find any information anywhere from anyone about how much I owed and I was forced to request a hearing just to find out. She informed me that the purpose of the hearing was merely to discover if I had been sent the proper notices. I said I did not receive any prior notices. The representative from the state showed the judge copies of letters I never received. Since they had mailing receipts the judge ruled that I was properly served. Guilty.

But that’s fine. I got a ticket and I knew I had to pay it. That’s what I came for. So Your Honor, how much do I owe?

She didn’t know. And the state’s representative didn’t know either. He had copies of letters that he submitted to the court but very unhelpfully did not provide me any copies. But since none of those had late fines included they would be moot anyway. So I knew I had to pay, and the judge ordered me to pay, and I was ready and prepared to pay. But NO ONE COULD TELL ME HOW MUCH I HAD TO PAY.

After the hearing, which only took five minutes and I was in and out of the DMV office in less than twenty minutes, I was given a phone number of an office where they would finally be able to tell me how much I owed. This number was only available to people who had a hearing. Why I couldn’t call it weeks before is anyone’s guess. But at least I knew how much I had to pay.

It was $68.

All that nonsense because the state could not print a summons number and an amount due on their notice.

Some time back there was a bill up for vote in Congress and they were given copies of the bill, which numbered hundreds of pages, mere minutes before the vote. The Democratic leadership told them (look it up, this happened) they’d have to vote for the bill so they could find out what was in it.

I had to plead guilty to find out what I was pleading guilty to.

The system is nuts.



7 Responses to “I Am The Scofflaw Man”

  1. T E Stazyk October 26, 2017 at 12:41 am #

    And the cost to the city to collect $68? $2500!


    • bmj2k October 26, 2017 at 12:55 am #

      There’s no way to look at this situation that made any sense. On the plus side, the process of the hearing was fast and easy, the exact opposite of every other thing about the Department of Motor Vehicles. But it never should have come to that.


  2. Matt Cowan October 26, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    I bet they end up having a lot of hearings with such a screwed up system like that.


    • bmj2k October 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

      You’d think so but the day I was there I only saw two other people waiting. I was lucky enough to get there first so maybe more came later.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mac of BIOnighT October 27, 2017 at 11:15 pm #

    I was so hoping this was just an imaginary story, but when I realized it wasn’t, I lost another big chunk of faith in our societies…


    • bmj2k October 27, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

      There’s a tiny bit more. When I made the payment I was told it would take up to three days to get into the system. Two days later I was pulled over by a state trooper. He ran my plate and it came up suspended registration. I explained the situation and he did some checking. One system said I was suspended, another said I was not so he let me go. He was fair about it. Every time I dealt with people it was a decent experience, but the system they operate in is a mess.


      • Mac of BIOnighT October 29, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

        It’s a comfort to know that these things don’t happen only here in Italy…


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