My mother raised me to be a law-abiding citizen. And she succeeded, pretty much. I never did get into much trouble when I was a kid and even went through high school without once getting a demerit (detention, jug, whatever they call it these days). I came close a few times. Crimes in my high school tended to be a) wearing socks or b) cutting from one side of the hall to the other in order to get to class faster. We walked single file in a one-way traffic pattern. I was never that much of a renegade, though.

When I got older and learned to drive, I still stayed on the straight and narrow. My first—and only—speeding ticket came on the heels of a 42 year clean driving record. I could still spit nickels when I remember it, mostly because I had a handy excuse sitting next to me and was too dumb to use it. My husband had an IV in his arm (which was why I was driving in the first place) and I probably could have pled being in a rush to get the bag changed. That happened nearly 20 years ago and it still rankles. It never occurred to me. That’s how law-abiding I am.

Not so other members of the family, however. Not so. They think that getting somewhere five minutes early is worth the risk of being pulled over and cited. Not to mention paying those fines. If you added up all the tickets they’ve accumulated, you probably could buy a Boeing 747.

Someone Who Shall Not Be Named got a speeding ticket about a month ago, in a Cleveland suburb named Something Heights. SWSNBN was evidently admiring the scenery and exceeded the speed limit in a school zone by about 10 mph. It was before noon, so maybe all those kindergarteners were on their way home. No excuses, though. It was a legitimate bag.

So home came the ticket and promptly disappeared. It wouldn’t have been prudent to let it slide (speeder, yes; scofflaw, no), so when the paperwork refused to surface after much digging around, calls were made to the Something Heights Police Department to see what could be done.

“Call the Something Heights Court,” was the response.

“Call back later in the week,” was the response of the court clerk. “We don’t have anything on file yet.”

Well, okay. But on Friday, there was still nothing. And nobody acted like they’d ever heard of a ticket getting lost. Requests for suggestions netted a “Call the Police Department.”

Did that. Again. Got a better answer. “Just come down to the Court and they’ll take care of it.”

So, SWSNBN hikes on down to the Something Heights Court (which, incidentally, is in the same building as the Something Heights Police Department and about 15 feet away) and takes care of the bill. Which amounts to: $235.

For a measly ten miles over the speed limit? Hitting 90 on the Turnpike probably wouldn’t get you that. But I guess if you do the crime, you do the time. Only in this case, it looks like you’re liable for everybody else’s crime and time, as well. Here’s the itemized printout:

1. IDSF HB1 & HB562 (no explanation): $25
2. Victims of Crime: $9
3. Capital Improvements: $10
4. Computer Legal Research: $3
5. Court Costs: $107
6. Drug Law Enforcement – HB562 (again?): $3.39
7. Justice Program Service – HB2: $0.11
8. Security Fee: $1.00
9. IDATF (State) – HB562 (again again?): $1.50
10. Speeding Cost: $5
11. Speeding Fine: $70

Note how the actual speeding fine was only $75. I guess crime does pay after all. At least for the Something Heights Police Department. Be careful out there

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