Saturday, March 3, 2012

Did I mention I had a warrant for my arrest?

This past New Year's Eve I was ticketed for operating a vehicle with an expired tag.  Since it was a company vehicle and I'd been asking for the new sticker for a few weeks I turned it in to the office and didn't think twice about it.

Fast forward to Thursday afternoon.  I walk down to my mailbox after doing a little shooting to see what nonsense the mailman has dropped off.  I see a letter from the Alabama Department of Safety.  First thought is, "This can't be good."  I open it up and it says my license has been suspended pursuant to a failure to appear in Small Town, AL, the little nothing town where I was ticketed.

The first thing I did was to call the little nothing town to confirm that this was regarding to the only offense I was aware of and that my company had not paid the ticket.  "No, wasn't paid.  I've got a warrant for you right here.  $100 will make that go away, but you can't get your license until you pay the fine, and you can't do that until your next court date."

At this point I'm, well, more than slightly miffed.  I call my office and my boss tries to play it off like it's no big deal.  I repeated, "I have warrant for a failure to appear.  I have no valid driver's license.  "I CAN'T WORK AND I'M SUBJECT TO ARREST."  At this point he said he'd kick it upstairs and have corporate contact me.

Within the hour the guy who writes the checks for those sorts of things calls.  He remembered paying the ticket.  He said he was looking for the proof and would get back to me as soon as he had it.

He found it and emailed me a copy of the cashed check (paid on January 11th).  He told me to hang onto that and that he was getting in touch with the city clerk in small town.

He called me back again, let me know I had a new email with a letter from the city clerk saying the suspension of my license was done in error and also the warrant went away.  She also, according to him, profusely apologized.

Well, thanks lady.  I appreciate it.  However, "I'm sorry" just isn't good enough for issuing the paperwork that would have made subject to an assault and kidnapping by any jackass with a government permission slip.

One little bureaucratic fuck up could have had me cuffed, dragged from wherever I happened to be, and thrown in a cell FOR NOTHING.

And I'm sure the person who made the error will face no punishment, and even if I have a legal recourse pursuing it would probably be more trouble than it's worth.

Can you honestly tell me I deserved all that because some twit made a record keeping error?  No, I wasn't arrested or thrown in jail.  But that was just luck on my part, not benevolence on their part.

It was an expired tag, for crying out loud!  It should ding my credit, not make me subject to the same treatment as a violent felon!  


Erin Palette said...

Yikes! Good to hear you got through your encounter with bureaucracy unscathed.

I also get the feeling that the only thing which lit a fire under your boss was that one-two punch of "I CAN'T WORK AND I'M SUBJECT TO ARREST."

How are you doing after your fall? Injuries healing well? I hope they are!

RobertM said...

Yeah, I kind of lost my cool when he told me, "Just bring the letter in next time your in the office."

I'm healed up pretty well. I get the occasional twinge from my left leg, but other than that I'm great. Thanks for asking!

Ruth said...

Husband had that happen to him, ok not quite, apparently NY gives you notice that your license WILL BE suspended on such and so date....but close enough. We'd paid, and kept the proof of signature on the envelope. Called the clerk to say that they had too gotten it and we had proof who'd signed for it, and "oh, um, I have your paperwork right here....I'll get that corrected". Maybe its a good thing you can't carry into government buildings here.....

RobertM said...

Yeah, it really is a pain in the ass.