It was a Friday afternoon in May of 2017. I was driving east on 42nd Street and I made a right turn onto Lexington Avenue. As I turned the corner, an ominous looking police officer standing on the corner waved me over to the side of the street.
“Do you know what you did?” asked the man in blue?
“No,” I replied glumly. He explained there was a sign stating no right turn from 42nd Street to Lexington Avenue between 7-10am and 4-7pm. The time I made my fateful turn for the worst was 16:22, or 4:22 PM.
I didn’t see the sign, but I was guilty of the crime.
After the officer took his sweet time in writing me the ticket (at least 20 minutes), he gleefully handed it to me. As I studied the ticket, which was hand written by the officer and not computer generated, I noticed that this particular police officer didn’t know military time very well. Why do I say that? Because he wrote down the time of the infraction taking place as 15:22 (3:22pm). This error would mean that, according to this erroneous summons, I did not commit any crime!
Not wanting to take any chances, I consulted a lawyer for advice and counsel. He told me because the officer wrote the time down incorrectly on the ticket, I would almost certainly be found guilty. But, he quickly added, I should not try to fight this on my own because only he would be able to get me out of this.
Desperate and gullible, I paid the lawyer’s ransom. This individual shall remain nameless because I don’t want to slander his name.
Months passed, and then I got a letter in the mail from New York Motor Vehicles. The letter said I had been found guilty. I was furious.
I called the lawyer and he didn’t pick up the phone, so I left him a message. He called me back about two hours later. I told him how disappointed I was that I had to get a letter from the state DMV rather than from him. When I asked why he didn’t call me, he said “I don’t make any outbound calls.” Dumbfounded, I said to him, “You just made an outbound call to return my phone call!”
He said nothing. Then I said, “I don’t even believe you when you tell me you went to court to argue my case.” He claimed he did, and when I asked him why this “slam dunk case” was found guilty, he said the judge was showing zero tolerance to limo drivers because of Vision Zero. I told the lawyer I should have taken care of this myself and saved his $150 fee, which he would not refund or even discount.
My point in writing this article is to share my misfortune to help you, so you might learn from my mistake. The bottom line is: Some lawyers CAN NOT be trusted (this one in particular), so try to find out ahead of time if the lawyer you are intending to use is trustworthy by asking around. Also: If you want something done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself!