Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Jurisdiction

Oh America, I love you, but you're so strange sometimes. Let me explain. Some time ago I got a ticket for speeding in Georgia. This will not surprise anyone who has travelled down the I-95 corridor. Anyway, I got it, I paid it, because it wasn't really worth contesting out of state. The stated speed seemed a tad high, but I was definitely speeding.

I know why one might round up now. There was a second "special" fine for being extra super fast. O...K. I called about this strange thing, and clearly I was not the first person to be upset by this rather predatory set up. It's smart, I admit - get someone to admit to speeding on a ticket people from out of state are not likely to contest, and when they have implicitly admitted, hit them with with a second fine which will now be hard to contest. Easy out of state cash! Because you're totally not the same country.

Well, I'm from a heavily federalised country, so such practices are not entirely foreign (ha!) to me. It gets better though. I start to worry about points, and whether this impacts my naturalization application and alll that. I find out that the two states do, in fact, have an agreement about this, but only for the serious stuff. So if you get a DUI or the like, that costs you points. If you speed, it goes into you record but doesn't cost you points. It's like someone said "you know, that's going to be an awful lot of paperwork, and, you know, it's only speeding, and who knows what that lot in Georgia is up to. Maybe they have different measurements? Anyone know if they use miles? Anyway, not worth the bother, is it?"

So strange.

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