Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Waiting for my new date in court

So remember that speeding ticket that I received while turning into a funeral home? Apparently I was doing 50 km/hr in a 30 km/hr school zone (and may the record state that the closest school was 20 km away, it was only 12 minutes after the designated school zone started, and I was turning into a funeral home).

It turns out that the officer did not fill out my ticket properly and failed to record the speed in which I was apparently driving and what I should have been driving. I then wrote a letter explaining that I was contesting my ticket on the basis of not knowing what I was charged for. In addition to failing to fill out my ticket correctly, the officer only spoke French to this French-as-a-second-language young lady so perhaps we did have a miscommunication at the side of the road. Perhaps.

I wrote my letter within the 30 days of receiving the ticket and popped in the post to await my court date. When Canada Post went on strike last month, I was rather diligent about checking my bills with Hydro Quebec and Rogers Mobile as I knew I would not be receiving my snail mail reminders to pay them. But, the truth is, it never crossed my mind to call about my ticket as I expected the courthouses to be just as slow as Canada Post. Unfortunately, I was sent a letter that indicated my day in court was June 29th and having failed to show up to that party, I've now been convicted.

I have not yet received the initial letter asking me to appear in the court houses of Deux-Montagnes, but I did receive a letter yesterday announcing that in addition to my fine, I have a no-show fee from the court which brings the grand total of my crime to $210. YIKES! My Eye Candy pointed out that I must not be the only one affected by the Canada Post strike so I should call in, explain the situation and demand a new court appearance (after all, I haven’t been watching Law & Order nearly every single night for the last 18 years for nothing.)

I took the time to call into the cour commune today, pressed 4 for English, and voilà, I spoke with a woman who spoke 0 English.

In the best French that I could put together (which I would like to think puts me at the level of a 13 year old Francophone girl), I explained my situation. The woman that I spoke with obviously did not care, and kept repeating, “Mademoiselle, je ne compends pas…” much to my frustration. I was perfectly capable of stringing together rather competent sentences in French for instance, “je n’ai pas reçu une letter avec un date de cour judicial a cas du grève Postal Canada” and she would just repeat, “Mademoiselle, je ne compends pas…”. When I was about to pull my hair out, I blurted back, “Madame, je ne vous comprends pas” and slammed down the phone. I'm not sure if that was considered rude or aggressive, but it made me feel better.

Moments like these make me wish my parents had put me in French immersion as a child as it really would be helpful to know French given my current immigration status to the country that is Quebec.

My Eye Candy has graciously offered to call on my behalf when he’s home from a business trip later this week. While I’d prefer to fend for myself in this belle province and take care of my own fine, I’ll take him up on the offer. I don’t want my altercation with the court house administrator to escalate to another court date.

Any tips to help me fight this ticket and fine? Is anyone else finding other surprise costs from the Canada Post strike?


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