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Going to jail was not on my bucket list

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I think I’ve said this half a dozen times over the last few years.

“We plan and God laughs.”

While I thought I had my whole money plan figured out…and then I went to jail.

Okay, before your mind goes all over the place. It was just for one night. And the result of a “clerical” error. But it cost me a boatload of money. And will cost more in the coming months.

Because even thought it was NOT MY FAULT, I have to now pay a criminal lawyer to make sure the court knows that and the tickets I was given done stick.

The short version

On a Friday night, I went out to pick up Gymnast from work. And was pulled over for running a stop sign, or rather a rolling stop. Whatever. I don’t think I did that either. But ok.

When the state patrol ran my license, it came back as suspended. And evidently, in the state of Georgia, that’s a bondable offense, requiring him to take me to jail.

Gymnast had gotten someone to give him a ride to where I was pulled over. And I told the policeman, very nicely, that he was a licensed and insured driver and that I would go first thing on Monday and clear anything up. Nope.

He assured me, it would be quick…a couple of hours at most.

He handcuffed me and took me to the county jail.

The details

I had received a speeding ticket in the fall of 2019 (incorrect when first published as 2018). Paid it by check in February, 2020 (incorrect when first published as 2019) just as everything began shutting down due to COVID. And evidently, whomever processed my check, “mis-applied it” so it showed as my ticket wasn’t paid and they suspended my license in January, 2021.

As soon as I returned from jail, I was able to confirm the check was cashed. I called the county in question, she cleared it up quickly and said it would take a day or two for it to be clear in the system.  The following day, I was able to go get my license back – after paying a $100 reinstatement fee.

However, I now have a running a stop sign ticket. Which can just be paid.

But I also have a driving on a suspended license. If convicted, I will lose my license for a minimum of 6 months, I’m told.

Court in March. A lawyer will cost $1,500. But after my dealings with the police and court system here in Georgia, I will not go this alone.

Jail was traumatizing

I will not go into the details of a night in jail. But it was terrible and scary and so many of my basic human rights, no to mention medical rights were violated.

They took my glasses and hearing aids soon as I got there (along with everything else I was wearing). I couldn’t see or hear anything except when they literally screamed at me.

I was put in a cell with no toilet for hours. Eventually needing a change of clothes (jail uniform) after they refused to let me get to a bathroom over the course of hours waiting.

I was not able to take my prescribed medication (missed two doses)…despite my sons both being there offering to bring it, have a doctor call, everything.

The couple of hours…booking and bonding out, ended up being a 12 hour nightmare. And they eventually let me go with no bond as an “apology”.

I am certainly not well versed on the normal operations of a jail. But I can say that if that’s how they operate…I fear for our country in a big way.

0/10 do not recommend the whole jail experience!

The cost

This is going to end up costing me upwards of $2,000 to fight the fees I had to pay for getting my license back, certified copies of the cashed check, etc. And evidently, the county who caused all this can not be held accountable.

It is very, very scary that a speeding ticket from three years ago can end up like this. With no record whatsoever, I was treated like I had committed the worst crime ever.And it’s even more scary that anyone going to jail is treated like that. Seriously, unless you are violent or acting up, no one should be treated like I was in jail.

So I’ve been recovering mentally. I definitely have a stress reaction to any siting of a police officer. The one who arrested me was nice enough, but he lied. And the one’s in the jail were just terrible, terrible people. Up until this incident, I was a staunch supporter of the police. After this, I question everything.

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35 Comments

  • Reply Kate |

    I’m sorry to say I think this is how jail operates in this country. I’m sorry to hear this happened to you, and glad you are out. Maybe use your voice to work for change so that it doesn’t keep happening to others?

  • Reply Kate |

    I will say, too, a similar thing happened to a coworker of mine who is a religious grandmother type. She went to renew her license and was told she had to clear up something at the court first. When she went to the court they had an outstanding warrant for her. Long story short it was for someone else but she spent half a day in jail.

    • Reply Hope |

      It’s amazing how many of these types of stories I am hearing now. I guess the “shame” keeps us from sharing them so people don’t realize it’s happening. I certainly never, ever expected to go to jail, let alone the treatment I received there.

  • Reply Clara |

    This sounds awful, sorry you had to go through it! Question though, are you mixing up your dates? COVID didn’t start shutting things down in Feb 2019 – it was 2020.

    • Reply Cheryl |

      I just read this again. You got a ticket in the fall of 2018 that you didn’t pay till February 2019 and are blaming covid on. Didn’t you get any type of notice your licence was suspended? I think you need to go over your story again.

      • Reply Hope |

        Yes, I had the dates wrong. It was the year Princess attended the private school. Have corrected.
        And no, I did not get any type of notice. However, when I contacted the clerk of the county to check on the payment and she made the correction…it triggered a “license cancelled notice” that I received on 1/20 (or was mailed on 1/20)…after I had already gone and gotten my license reinstated.
        Of course, that caused a panic and I called and they said the notice just crossed wires and my license was fine.

    • Reply Hope |

      I did, thanks for catching that. It was the year Princess was at the private school. Dates all seem to run together these days.

  • Reply Lisa |

    Yes our criminal justice system needs improvement. I’m sorry you went through such a terrible experience. I would be terrified to spend a night in jail.
    Did they not send you any notices or warnings about either the ticket they thought was unpaid. or the suspension

    • Reply Hope |

      NOT A ONE! Until after I had called to clear everything up. A few days after I got my license back, I got a notice that my license was cancelled dated for the day she did whatever in the system.
      I called in a panic and they just said the wires were crossed and my license was fine.

  • Reply Melissa |

    I can’t be the only one who in no way believes this nonsense. It’s time to get a new blogger.

    • Reply Kate |

      If I didn’t know people who had gone through similar, I might not believe it. But it happens and needs to stop.

    • Reply Hope |

      Really? You think I would make this story up? Or advertise it and all the shame? My face was printed in a local “bad and busted” paper. It’s horrifying. And there’s so much more to this that has nothing to do with money.

  • Reply jj |

    Yikes, sorry that happened to you. I have a brother in law who is an officer- but the system stinks, can’t agree I support it at all. Unfortunately, this is what a lot of folks go through – some might say you’re lucky because you were able to get out with their half assed apology. I am so sorry you experienced this.

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      Why are you pinning this on the police? Their job is enforcement. They are just doing what the courts are saying they should do. It sounds like the problem was in the court system where a fine was “misapplied.” I would have had the courts call the DMV to remove the reinstatement fee that I got as a result of them informing the DMV that your licence was suspended for a fine you paid. Your “budgets” are kind of a joke at this point anyways though. You literally have a six figure job and still are accruing medical debt because you don’t think you should have a medical line item. Your student loan debt is higher than it was in August despite you telling us in August you were putting it on auto pay. Like I said previously, you aren’t blogging away debt at all, you’re just blogging.

  • Reply Mary C |

    I am so, so sorry this happened to you. We live in an incredibly punitive society where infractions that should, at most, receive warnings or civil fines often end up sending people to jail, resulting in people sometimes losing their jobs and their homes. Trivial bureaucratic mistakes can become huge cascading disasters, causing emotional, mental, and financial stress that takes years to recover from. People don’t understand how easy it is for this to happen until it happens to them or someone they know, and many don’t want to admit that some corrections officers and police officers are sadistic bullies. Please take care of yourself, know that this wasn’t your fault, and take it very seriously. Hiring a lawyer is a smart move and will most likely result in a better outcome for you. The prosecutor should offer to reduce the suspended license charge to a lesser offense. Keep track of your court dates and make sure DMV has your correct address, etc. You did not deserve this degrading experience; some cities and counties fund their operations through outrageous traffic fines and fees, all of which hurt poor people disproportionately. Remember this when it’s time to decide who to support in your next local election.

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      How was the cop a sadistic bully? He literally took her to jail because it was a bondable offense. You are acting like the police have discretion when most times they do not.

      • Reply Hope |

        Well, I am not an expert of police options. But I will say the primary jail officer who eventually booked me at 3:45am in the morning told me, the cop felt sorry for me and was going to let me go until my son showed up. (My 16 year old had gotten a ride over from work because his coworkers stay with him until I get there to pick him up.) I am not sure what my son getting there had to do with anything and I’m choosing not to read too much into that statement.
        But based on that, I would say there is some sort of discretion allowed.

        • Reply Lisa |

          You have a black kid in a racist town, that’s what it had to do with it. I hope your children never have any run ins with the police.

        • Reply JP |

          Did the son say anything? Or just politely show up. You need to expand on that if you are going to imply that it was police racism. If he was popping off at the mouth thats a lot different than just showing up to pick up Mom.

          • Hope |

            He didn’t say a word. Got out of the truck he arrived in, smiled and got in the passenger side of the car. I know you can’t know this, but all of my kids are just about the most polite and respectful kids you will ever meet. And Gymnast is by far the most charming, charismatic young man…pretty much ever.

      • Reply Marzy-d |

        The police at the jail had a great deal of discretion in how Hope was treated. They are *supposed* to allow prisoners to go to the bathroom and to take needed medication. They had discretion over taking her glasses and hearing aids given she was obviously a non-violent offender. I understand supporting the police, who have very difficult jobs. I cannot understand supporting this type of treatment. This is not proper protocol, and better treatment was not outside their discretion.

        I think your frustration with Hope and her non-budget budgets is bleeding over into your judgement here.

      • Reply Cwaltz |

        Okay so you are basing your statement on hearsay from some separate officer. Good luck with that in court. I’ll say this again if there was a warrant when he ran your licence then he did exactly what he was supposed to. It sucks that THE COURT did not credit you properly for a fine y but the police officer who bought you in was not sadistic in any way, he was doing his job.

        • Reply Hope |

          I didn’t say the cop who brought me in was sadistic, in fact, I believe I said he was nice enough. However, he did lie to me…said I would be in and out. If I had known any different I would have made different choices going in…who to call, preparations for the kids, etc.

  • Reply Katie |

    Wow. I am so sorry and I hope you get a fantastic attorney and some justice. If this is how an educated, middle-aged, middle class white woman is treated, I can only imagine how awful it would be for others. Thank you for speaking up and shining a light, I’m disgusted and shocked that this was your experience, all based on a clerical error.

    • Reply Katie |

      I’ll add that I encourage you to go to the press and share your story. This is so wrong.

      • Reply Hope |

        Yes, evidently there was a similar story here locally about a man who was arrested and kept overnight because he was out “exercising” too late. I don’t know the details so don’t come for me.
        But my dad’s first reaction was to tell me to go to the press. I’ve already made the call and they are planning to come to my court date. So we will see.
        The problem is that this is such a small, good ole boys town, it will put a target on my back in some sense.

  • Reply MW |

    “Up until this incident, I was a staunch supporter of the police. After this, I question everything.”

    My heart hurt reading this. Hope, as the mother of boys with brown skin, you should know better.

    This happened to you and it was traumatizing. Now imagine if you looked different, had fewer resources, if English wasn’t your first language. It’s fine to support police, it shouldn’t take it happening to you for you to be aware of and incensed by the many documented instances of treatment such as that which you received — and worse.

So, what do you think ?