Saturday, January 12, 2008

When life gets scary

Normally I'm a law-abiding person. I have to be. If I EVER do ANYTHING wrong I get caught. I mean I ALWAYS get caught. So it's easier just to do what I know I should do. And to prove my point about getting caught if I do something I shouldn't:

In Dec. I was at my local Wallyworld getting whatever it was that I needed. I left the store and headed to my workplace. It was a Saturday evening-at dusk. I was trying to turn left, but there was a lot of traffic on the road. I don't need an accident, so I just sat there waiting patiently for the traffic to thin. However, the guy behind me wasn't so patient. Every time there was the smallest break in traffic, he'd inch closer to me, trying to force me to go. I could have gone, but the traffic in the far lane would have had to slam on their brakes. So I just sat there. By the time the traffic cleared enough to safely turn left, the guy was so close to me, I could no longer see his headlights in my rear-view mirror. He then proceeded to dog me all the way down the short, but steep hill we were on.

I was keeping one eye on the road and both eyes on my mirror. I was sure he was going to hit me. At the bottom of the hill is a stop sign. While watching him still coming at me, I noticed that there was enough break in traffic that if I went right then, I could get out. So I rolled to a partial stop, swung around the corner and was immediately greeted by the blue lights of one of the city's finest.

With no place to pull over - there were deep ditches on both sides of the road, I had to travel about 1/4 mile before I could find a safe place to pull over. I was worried that the officer was going to be ill with me over that. I got my license and insurance card out and he ran my tags. I asked him if he would pull my driving record and see that I don't normally get tickets (I've had 3 in 37 years of driving, all for speeding a few miles above the speed limit). Nope, he wouldn't just let me off with a warning. In fact, he wrote on the ticket that I nearly caused an accident?! I asked him about THAT, mentioning that there were no tire marks on the road, (in fact, there was no squealing of brakes and he was able to pull directly out behind me. So where did the "cars I pulled out in front of that had to avoid me" go??) He declared he wasn't going to debate it with me on the side of the road. So I just shut my mouth and resigned myself to paying the fine.

On the appointed day, I went in and paid the fine of $145 (ouch!) and was told that it would put 3 points on my driving record. Well, that kills the State Farm 28 year good driving discount. So I asked what I could do to avoid having the points put on my record. I was told I could talk to the judge.

Now I'm not real eloquent around authority figures. In fact, I tend to clam up. This has to do with some experiences as a child. I simply can not get out what I want to say. It's like I lose my voice and the ability to think straight. I look and feel like a bobbing-head doll. But I just had to speak to this man, so I came back a couple of hours later for court that evening.

I was blessed that there was a Public Defender in-house and that he spoke with me about what I needed to tell the judge. When the judge called my name, I was still a little unsure of what exactly I should tell him: No lo contendre or guilty. The "no lo" would have kept the points off my record, but I wanted to speak to the judge. When I hesitated, the PD answered for me: "Guilty, with an explanation". I was told to sit back down and after the judge had finished reading off the docket, he'd start over again and deal with those that needed to speak to him.

To make a long story short, traffic court is unlike regular court in a big time way. This was not a solemn occasion. He was joking with people and let a couple of people off with a warning- those with good driving records. So when my name was called again, I explained what had happened. the judge asked the Lt. if the citing officer was in house and referred the ticket back to him with the instructions to tell the officer what I told the judge. I thought I was doomed, but the officer was willing to let me off with a warning. Talk about blessed!

So with that scary situation under my belt, I have to take my oldest to court about her accident that she had in Nov. We did get our agent to check about the Jaguar having a computer, but the Jag dealer said that her model of car didn't have a computer on it. So there's no proving that the lady sped up.

We're resigned to paying the $150 fine. But she will get 3 points on HER record. And in this state, 4 points for anyone under 21 is an automatic suspension of their license. She's a chip off of mom with the speaking problem, but she's going to have to talk to the judge because if ANYTHING else happens she would lose her license.

We have court Tue for that. Then I have court Thur. over Child Support. It's supposed to be a contempt hearing for my ex, but I'm so concerned that the newbie (at least to this job) lawyer is going to let him turn it into a custody hearing.

I thought I had a lawyer that a friend was going to pay for. But the lawyer, for some reason unknown to both of us, won't take the case. Something about the D.A. being involved. Well, if the Child Support Recovery lawyer is with the D.A.'s office, then they're involved. But the suit against him is being brought in the children's name, not mine. So it shouldn't matter. Anyway, I don't have a lawyer and can't afford one -even if I could find one this late in the game that could make it to court that day. So if anyone feels like it, will you please keep us in your prayers?

My youngest is at dad's. She's stopped going to church - with dad's encouragement. She's gotten to be really rude with people (this was the sweetest child until about 9 months ago.) And every time I try to get her over here, they plan an activity so she can't come over. I got to see her for maybe 5 minutes on Christmas. In the meantime, he's still getting to see the other kids. (And no, I don't want to hold the other kids' visitation hostage until he lets me see her. That's not fair to the other 2 kids for me to do that.) If he gets physical custody, I won't ever get to see her.

This is all so scary to me. I hate conflict and confrontation. I hate going to court without a lawyer, even though I'm just supposed to be called as a witness. (I've never had to go to court for the other 11 times he's been cited for contempt.) And I hate that I've got to go defend myself and possibly lose custody of my 13dd. I'm trying not to worry and just pray that God's will be done, but sometimes we have to do something to help allow His will to come to pass. Many judges don't really care about God and those that DO care, are still bound by law. They can't just go by "well, God says to do..." And if you don't have someone looking out for your rights, there's nothing that the judge can do. If you don't know to what to object to and how to do it, you get run over. It's very naive to think that God will protect you when you don't protect yourself by using the people in place who's job it is to help. Only problem is, $$$. There are no pro-bono lawyers around here. There's one poor "Legal aid" lawyer for 13 counties from Atlanta north and that person is only taking minority custody cases. Sometimes things happen that are not "God's will", but he just allows it to happen. Otherwise people couldn't use their agency. And THAT'S what worries me a bit. I mean, hey, it's not God's will for people to make war on each other or murder each other, but he still allows it to happen. If he didn't we'd be just a bunch of puppets and not his children. Anyway, any prayers will be welcome.

I know - chin up, shoulders out, forward march! (Why do I feel like the Cowardly Lion?) Especially when I am so brave in other areas? I've been a medic and a paramedic. I've see stuff and been in danger before. Why can't I have the same "lay my ears back, duck my head and run forward" attitude when it comes to dealing with my ex and the judicial system? Who knows? I just try to remember Dorrie's admonition: "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swim, swim." But I don't LIKE the water! And I DON'T like to swim! lol

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I pray all goes well for you. I understand part of the anxiety that you must be going through. I'm facing some tough legal issues with my ex-husband. I don't know where I'd be if he had one of our children.

Things don't always work out the way we plan, but God is always faithful to take care of us. Hang in there!