Several months ago I ran a red light. I was turning right at a three-way intersection with a traffic cam. I stopped, but didn't come to a COMPLETE stop. A few weeks later Drek received a letter that said his car had run a red light and the fine was $500. The letter also said the date he needed to appear in court, that another letter would be coming with all the information needed to pay the fine, and that if he wasn't the driver, he should fill out the form and mail it back.
There was no phone number to call with questions in that letter, so I looked up a phone number on line. I called and informed them they had the correct car, just the wrong owner. They told me to fill out the form and mail it in. I told them it was the same address, same phone number, same last name, it was just me and not Drek. I asked if I could pay the fine then. They said to fill out the form and mail it in. So I did.
A few weeks later Drek got the second letter in the mail, giving him his citation number and a special phone number to an automated system to pay his fine. Once again, there was no other phone number listed. So once I again I went online, found a number and called. After spending fifty-eight minutes on hold I finally got through to a guy who told me I had the wrong branch. He gave me another number to call. After spending and hour and five minutes on hold, I asked the guy if they got the form I had mailed in. He said he didn't know and couldn't find out. He looked up the citation and said something had heppened, but he didn't know if that something was the fine was paid, the ticket was cancelled, there was a warrant issued, or my form was recieved. He said I would just have to wait to see if I got a letter in my name. I asked if I could just pay the fine. He said no.
A few weeks later I did get my letter. It told me my court date was April 8th (my birthday) and that I would get another letter with more instructions. I never got that letter. Granted, I was movng at the time, so I could have lost it, but regardless; I woke up on my birthday realizing I never paid the fine. I called a number I found on the internet and talked with a man in the warrant department. He said there was, in fact, a warrent our for my arrest and that I needed to take of this right away. I asked him if I could pay the fine. he said I couldn't pay him, but he did give me my citation number and a phone number for an automated system. He also told me I would probably have to go down to the court house to take of it, and that the court closed at five. He advised me to pay the fine that day, not to wait over the weekend. He said it takes the system a while to process and if I wait until after the weekend, it could be too late.
At three twenty I arrived at the court house to find that they close at three thirty. The girl at the door said they were already closed, she didn't care about my case, she hated her job, her life, and me. I informed her I had cash, a checkbook, a credit card and a debit card; I just needed to pay the fine. She told me they were closed and to get lost.
I walked across the street to the actual court house (not the traffic division) and walked through he front door. Next to the metal detector was two security guards. I informed them I really, really needed to pay a fine. They said to come back on Monday. I told them I had a warrant out for my arrest and just needed to pay a fine. The security guard said if he let me in he would arrest me and take my baby to foster care.
And that's why it was the worst birthday ever.
I left, went home, and decided to call the automated number. The mechanical person told me I could pay my fine. I gave it my credit card number, the expiration date, the security code, and then the recording started over. I wasn't sure if it had worked or not and I didn't have a confirmation code, but there was no one I could call and had no way to check. So I hung up.
Today I got a letter informing me my account had gone to collections, and I now owed a $300 late fee on top of my fine. After spending another forty six minutes on hold, I spoke to a women who said that only way to get the charge reversed was to go to court.
To recap: I was begging them to take my cash, check, or card. I gave them my credit card number, my security code and my expiration date, and they still couldn't figure out to get the money. And people wonder why this state is bankrupt.