Late, for a Very Important Date

****Some minor details of this story have been altered, to protect the innocent.



Last weekend I attended my first blogger conference (which I will breakdown for tomorrow’s post). The conference (Type A Parent) was held at the Grand Hyatt hotel, in the heart of Buckhead (a swanky residential/business/high-end retail area of Atlanta).  I carpooled to the conference with a friend, let’s call her Nancy.  Nancy was driving so I could navigate.  I’m fairly familiar with the area, because I live in one of the city’s northern suburbs and I used to hang out in Buckhead22087[1] back in my wild and carefree days.  But it’s been a while, and the area has gone through some changes in the last few years.  To ensure that I didn’t get lost, we left my house early Friday morning, so we’d have plenty of time for the unexpected.  I absolutely did not want to be late to my first “professional” event in over a decade.

Oh, how I wish we’d run into traffic, or gotten lost – but no, we got pulled over! And Nancy got a ticket for something she did not do.  Not cool, and I feel bad because I don’t know what to do to help her.

Here’s the deal –

We were at an intersection that, according to the navigation system, was within one mile of our destination. ONE MILE!  We were in the turn lane, moving, when light turned yellow.  Nancy kept going.  I hesitate to say she “went for it,” because we were at the white line as the light turned yellow.  She didn’t floor it or even speed up, just kept cruising.  As the car started to turn, I heard a siren.  Sure enough, there was an Atlanta Police car in the lane to our left, at a red light.

Oh no.

yellow-light[1]Instinctively I panicked, because that’s just what I do. He said something over a loud speaker or intercom, and I naturally assumed he was talking to us.  I told Nancy to pull over and she scooted into a nearby parking lot.  The officer passed us – yay!  It wasn’t us.  We watched as he pulled two cars over into the parking lot just past where we were.  As my heart rate returned to normal, I saw him look over to where we were.  He waved us over.

Say what? Sh&*, sh^%.

We joined the crew, to find one woman (we’ll call her woman number one) arguing with the officer – she’d been driving the car in front of us. Woman number one insisted that light had been yellow.  I concurred and he very tartly informed us that he had everybody on his dash cam driving through the red light.  The third woman (who’d been behind us) asked to see the dash cam and he refused.  He took all the licenses, and woman number one got back into her car.  Woman number three was fired up and called him an asshole (under her breath).  She started pleading her case to Nancy and me – and I started to slide away from her.  Momma wanted no trouble.  I was nervous – for Nancy and about the possibility of us being late to the conference.

Mr. Police Officer wrote the tickets for woman one and three and they went on their way. I was a little perturbed because we were the first to pull over (and I was worried about being late). At this point I was thinking that since we didn’t argue with him, and we were the last ones there that maybe…well, you know what I was hoping – for Nancy’s sake, of course.  But no, it didn’t go that way.  She got a ticket.  Her first in almost twenty years.  My heart sank.  Nancy has a new car and her insurance rates recently went up and the points against her license would hurt.

The ticket weighed on me for most of the weekend – empathy, of course. I called her on Monday and she told me that she came clean with her husband on Sunday when she got home.  Her husband originally wanted her to fight it in traffic court, since she was sure she didn’t do it.  I reminded Nancy that the officer told us about pleading nolo contendere, which means no contest.  Side bar: Why would the officer inform her of this?  I think because he didn’t get her on the dash cam!  If she chooses to go this route, the court will wipe away the ticket, after she pays a fine.  I asked her how much the ticket was and apparently it’s not listed on the citation.  She has to appear in court!  Can you imagine?  I’m so nervous for her, because that officer was not nice.  What if he shows up in court and throws the book at her?  I believe Nancy, but I wasn’t looking at the light.  What if it turned red when we were in the intersection?

Then Nancy told me something else, and it is not good.  The address on her license isn’t current, not by a long shot.  That’s right.  And apparently, according to her law-abiding husband, that’s a very bad thing.  He discovered the truth upon examining her ticket, and he was not happy with Nancy.  Now he’s thinking she doesn’t have a leg to stand on and should just pay her fine and be done with it.  He actually said that she deserves the ticket!  Yes, it was irresponsible of her not to update her address, but I can certainly understand.  Who wants to waste a day at the DMV?

Nancy doesn’t know if she should get a new license before her court date or keep the status quo (and hope the judge doesn’t ask her), until after her appearance. Nancy knows the people who live at her old house, so they could tell her if something comes in the mail.  Yes?  Or would that make them accessories?

Nancy F!@#$%& up. What kind of advice should I give my friend?

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s World’s Greatest Writing Workshop. This week’s prompt was to right something inspired by the word “late.”


For the record, we were not late to the conference.


Seriously, any advice? What is the law, regarding yellow lights?  Have you ever been to traffic court?  What’s the longest period of time you’ve had a license with an incorrect address?

25 thoughts on “Late, for a Very Important Date”

  1. Poor “Nancy!” I had no idea having a wrong address on a license was a bad thing. I would think that if it’s not expired you’re good…Hmmmm. I would make sure that’s an issue. I received a ticket in the mail last year citing the same thing! I was in Canada on my way to Whistler so I just mailed the payment and got on with it. I am terrified of court and cops so paying it, for me, was my only option; especially since it happened in another country. I DO NOT trust dash cams or traffic cameras. I think it’s definitely a money maker, unfair and inaccurate. Yellow light means caution, right? Not stop. Hmmmm…I’m on the fence about what Nancy should do because not showing her the dash cam video sounds very suspicious to me. Good luck to her!!!

      1. I hope. Good think he is not my husband. Mine is six years old. DMV put that rule in place that you had to show proof of residency so I told them I still lived there and haven’t changed it. In Ohio, you can change it online so when they run it, now, it will come up with the right address – just not on my ID.

  2. Wow. What a bad way to start your conference day. The easiest thing would be to just pay the fine and be done with it. I guess it depends how much time and effort she wants to spend on it. As for the address – I didn’t know that was really such a big deal. Maybe she could correct it now and if the judge asks, just say she didn’t realize it was incorrect and the ticket brought it to her attention so she corrected it. Hopefully, everything will work out.

  3. Oh man, that totally sucked! And i didn’t know an un-updated license is a bad thing… I have one now… Any who, that cop was so wrong. I bet he was just trying to reach his quota of tickets for the day! I’m not kidding. They do that. A retired sheriff told my husband that a while ago. I hope your friend will get the least of the worst punishment for this situation. Too bad she couldn’t just pay and be done with!

  4. I was always under the impression that if your front tires have crossed the white line then you should proceed through the intersection with caution so as not to block the intersection. If she truly believes she did not run a red light (what are the odds that three people in a row ran the same red light? Slim!) she should call the police department and asked to see the dash cam video from the police officer prior to the court date. I would fight the ticket. That’s just me.

  5. Poor Nancy! I would have no idea. And that woman calling the cop an asshole? That was me! (just kidding)
    On a sidenote, a few of my friends were at this conference!

    1. I know, I agreed with her, but I was so scared that she’d say something he heard.

      Which of your friends were at the conference? I met a bunch of women from North Carolina and the west coast. Posting a blog about it toady – hopefully by noon. It’s really long, though:(.

  6. In our state, if you get pulled over and your license does not have the correct address on it, you can face a fine. You have to make an address change within 3 months of moving, I believe. I don’t like hassles. I prefer to pay the fine than deal with the stress of court. It all depends on your friend, if she is willing to subject herself to the stress. I have found you usually can’t win in a situation like this. But then again…. if she feels like it… just go for it! Hope to get another post on what happens.

  7. I’ve gone YEARS without changing my drivers license, including when I moved here from CO (although I’m IN CO now but here is home whatever) for like 3 years. Once, it got me out of a major ticket. I had to lie though. I can’t wait to hear more about the blogging conference (I mean, I heard, heard, but you know – the writing part of it which sometimes sinks in better). So so sorry for your sweet friend! I don’t think that her outdated license means that she was in the wrong and I think she should still fight it!

  8. Fight the ticket…even if you are in the wrong they usually always bring the cost of the ticket down when you make the effort to go in and reduce it. And I would love to see what he actually got on his dash cam. How do three grown women run a fresh red light together? As far as the different addresses, I think that’s a separate issue altogether. If she wasn’t cited for that in the ticket they’re not going to bring it up in court. What a crummy way to start out a fun weekend though! That’s terrible!

  9. ‘…that’s something. I really don’t know how the works are there but if the same thing happen to me, I’d challenged the police officer to show the cam. Then maybe proceed with the traffic court hearing especially to prove that you are right. Its just terrible to be receiving tickets for something that you have not done. If you can get the officer to show what’s on his dash cam, then you may feel a little better – at least knowing that Nancy really didn’t do it or that the officer was right in his argument.’

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