I got a speeding ticket yesterday. Also got my car towed, because my license had been suspended for not paying an insurance surcharge. I hadn't paid it because I hadn't been notified, and I hadn't been notified because the DMV hadn't recorded my address change despite having been told six times. But there's a law on the books that says I'm guilty of driving without a valid license *for any reason*. When I go to plead the ticket, the prosecutor will offer to "reduce" my "offense" from "driving without a license" to "driving on a suspended license" and expect me to plead guilty to the "lesser" charge, pay about $300 in fines, and then I "can go." Edit:Why now just drive more slowly from now on? I'm working on that, but at this time I was driving 62 mph on a four-lane divided highway. Seems both safe and reasonable to me, although I'm sure the judge will feel otherwise.End Edit
I expect that if I refuse the prosecutor's deal, the judge will find me guilty of the greater charge, as that's the way courts work. Bigger fine, possible loss of license. Edit: Courts work that way because they are in fact businesses, and if they don't find me guilty they don't get to make money by fining me. But they are *in theory* insitutions of "Justice." Question #1 is am I nuts for trying to actually *get* justice out of a municipal judge in New Jersey?End Edit
I know if I ask either my folks or a lawyer for advice, the advice will be "Take the prosecutor's deal and settle." Parents and lawyers both work that way.
I need to figure out *for myself* if that's bad advice or not. In the meantime I have to bike to work today, then bike to a train station to go to Trenton to get my license restored, then take Gabe to his dance lesson, then tomorrow go get my car back. Living without a car in this state is simply not possible, but *that* is a legal battle I can't fight; by the System, driving is a privilege, not a right, regardless of whether you can keep a job without being able to drive.
So the question I'm dancing around is, what is Law? Is it whatever the Legislature says it is? I don't think so; law gets challenged not infrequently, but again, part of the rules is only lawyers are allowed to do so. I'm merely a citizen. Think about that last sentence for a few minutes, if you will.
I'm not thinking clearly about this yet; I'll try again after I get back with my license restored.