A day in court…

We live in a small town and the courthouse in the county that #5 was charged in is very small. It has a low ceiling and folding chairs that are mounted on the floor, much like a movie theater. I am used to those old courthouses with high ceilings and pictures of older judges adorning the walls. This courthouse was very simple and small, perfect for a little country town. We arrived in the morning and was met by #5’s attorney. He stood before the judge and asked that we be able to hear the case in the afternoon when the State Trooper would be there and the judge agreed. #5 and I had hours to kill and we live close enough to the town that we went home for a few hours.

He was so nervous, but very cool about it. I think I irritated him on the drive over. I was just talking casually, trying to keep his mind off of court but I ended up annoying him, which I often do. He was terrified. He was traveling on his motorcycle at 93 mph in a 55 zone. This charge carried a misdemeanor charge, jail time, 2500.00 fine and a suspended license. He is just about done with community college and is a night manager in training for a large chain grocery store. He had no prior driving convictions. He is the son with the heart condition.

We did our due diligence before he bought the bike and checked with the cardiologist who didn’t seem to think it was a problem….He will turn 19 in a few weeks. Nothing we could do. In the state of Virginia, you can purchase and ride a motorcycle at age 18.  He is not to be stressed and has been living with the cloud of worry over his head for almost a month.

We returned to the court in the afternoon and the parking lot was full so had to park on the street. There are only a few days a week that they hold Traffic Court. The small courtroom was packed!  The judge was very lenient with almost everyone. He reduced speeds, offered court cost, thanked people for coming to court and sent them on their way. The State Trooper that charged #5 was almost down to his last case. A young man was traveling at 94 mph along with another car side by side. Apparently he had a few prior tickets on his driving record. He also had over 30 days to either be appointed an attorney or obtain one. The judge became very irritated with this young man. He gave him 30 days in jail and suspended 26 of them and charged him with reckless driving and a fine and of course a misdemeanor. He told the judge he was going to appeal it but chose to serve his four days of jail starting today. He was lead away in handcuffs.

Names were called alphabetically so we knew #5 was next. He and I looked at each other, brownish golden eyes with rims of green mirrored one another:  Fear!  Jail!  I put my hand on his shoulder and began to pray, and then his name was called. He went in front of the judge with his attorney and they approached the judge. The judge told him the same thing he told the young man that went in front of him:  “Your speed is unacceptable. You could have hurt someone else or yourself.” However, after the judge heard from the attorney, read his letter from his employer which stated that he was exemplary, saw his transcript from school, noted that he was only 18, and looked at his driving record and saw that he had no convictions after driving for three years, he looked at the Trooper. The Trooper said that #5 pulled over immediately and was very polite and caused no problems.  The judge looked to the Commonwealth and he just shook his head. I was in tears by this time.

The judge looked severely at #5 and said, “I guess all young guys have a special love for motorcycles. I am glad you sold your bike. I see the bill of sale, and I am impressed that you sold it, I imagine to pay your attorney. I know I loved my first motorcycle when I was young, and I hate to put a smudge on your good record. I’m glad to see that you are in community college, and I must say you are awfully young to be almost done, so you must be pretty smart. Not smart on the road though. I am sure your attorney told you that you can go to jail today. But I’m a big believer in second chances. I am going to reduce your reckless charge to speeding and a 250.00 fine plus court costs and I’d better not see you in my court room again!”

The attorney and #5 went to the other room to fill out paperwork and pay the fine. I met them there and shook the attorney’s hand and then hugged him. I hugged #5 Tight and told him I would meet him in the car. I flew out the door and pulled the car up to the door and scooted over into the passenger seat with my dark sunglasses on. I was crying my heart out to God with Thanks….

I hope he learned his lesson. I  mentioned in a post yesterday that I did not think he did. I take that back. #5 hugged his attorney, hugged the trooper, and was crying too! He said he felt like such a baby, but he was so grateful that the stress was over! He said one day, when he is about 25, he may get another bike. He said he had a wonderful time on it and was so thankful to have had it but in the end, it wasn’t worth it…

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