Statute of Limitations

Pardon the pause from my 12 Days of Christmas today as I just have to get this off my chest.
Dear Fox 4 News, NBC5 DFW & WFAA Channel 8 Dallas,
RE: News worthy story.
It is December 2011 and I am checking my mail as usual and find a letter from the Texas Department of Public Safety.  In this letter, I am told that my license will need to be renewed in less than 60 days, however there will be a HOLD on my license until I resolve a citation/failure to appear claim that has been placed against me.
This has to be a joke! I can’t even recall the last time I got a ticket.  There’s a helpful website where I can see what this claim is and “take care of it”. image  Please note the date of this offense.  JUNE OF 2001.  A decade has gone by and here’s what I know that is true about ME, Janette Johanson:
1.  I have never let a ticket go without being taken care of for fear of something like this or worse, being hauled into jail if I were ever pulled over again.
2.  I have moved 3 times at least since 2001 and each time have ALWAYS updated my license with no question or problem.
3.  I have been married and divorced and remarried again (not proud but its the facts) and that means I have changed my name on my license at least 3 times for that with no question or problem.
4.  I just happened to get pulled over earlier this week for speeding as I was rushing to meet friends for lunch and was let go with a warning.  No problem or jail time by the policeman who verified and checked my license.

Here are some other important details I find interesting but not limited to:
image 

My call to the Court for more information and to double check that this wasn’t some sortof a joke or misunderstanding can be summarized:
-court says I told them I would take defensive driving and they have no record that I ever sent them my paperwork.
-court says they tried to contact me at the address listed at the time several times with no response.
-court says they will “help” me by reducing the fee to $130.
-court denies that they could have been at fault for losing paperwork that would have cleared this citation 10 YEARS AGO.
-court claims they have been trying to put a hold on my license for many years now.
-court says if I can prove I took defensive driving 10 YEARS AGO, then maybe, MAYBE it will help but no promises.
My defense:
In the 10 years since this ticket, I have received nothing until NOW, even though I have been a law abiding citizen who keeps her license updated as promptly as possible with an accurate address at all times.  I printed of my ENTIRE driving record which doesn’t even show this citation listed.  I do not believe I would have ever ignored an obligation and based on that, I have already paid for defensive driving and should not have to pay AGAIN to you for what appears to be your feeble attempt to try to claim money at the end of your calendar year.   The average American citizen is told to keep records of their TAXES for 7 years for audit purposes.  I believe most corporations follow this same rule of thumb.  Most corporations were not keeping online documentation for historical reference 10 years ago, and I say that because Blockbuster only started tracking their defensive driving certificates within this 10 years.  My bank doesn’t even keep records back that far for me to prove I paid for this course.
So… Dear local news stations please understand why I feel this is unfair and worth mentioning.  I am up against the wall.  I have no possible way to prove that I took care of this ticket.  I do not recall where I would have taken defensive driving because it was 10 years ago and if I am not even expected to keep my taxes for more than 7 years, why would I ever have to be concerned with holding on to a defensive driving certificate?  I do not think it is fair to expect a courthouse with many papers coming in and out to be 100% all of the time and realize we are all human so a mistake could have been made and my papers could have been lost.  To contact me 10 years after the fact and try to get money from me or threaten my license which I understand could result in an invalid license, exceedingly high fines or even jail time is completely UNFAIR.  This court has time on their side because all they have to do is say we never got anything from the defendant.  What proof do they have for contacting me?  Is there a certified letter showing I signed for their letter saying they never got anything?  I doubt it!  But I am suppose to bend over and just fork out $130-$245 and just take their word for it that I failed to do my part because I have absolutely NO POSSIBLE WAY to defend myself.  That is outrageous, ludicrous and down right dirty.  I am appalled that our state has not given their citizens a fair chance or means to protect themselves against possible extortion by their own court system that my taxes go towards to keep their doors open.
Sincerely,
Janette Johanson
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15 comments:

Sarah Kate said...

Oh my gosh! This is ridiculous!! I'm getting angry FOR you!!! They absolutely do not deserve your money! If they had wanted to get in touch with you before, they totally could have. Jerks. Let me know how this turns out. I hope the news station picks it up!

Impulsive Addict said...

Oh please tell me you sent this to the news stations listed? THIS IS CRAY CRAY! I can NOT believe they are doing this 10 years later! We all know that the state of Texas is hurting for money but to stoop to this level of accusing innocent people that they didn't pay a ticket or a fine 10 years later with no way to prove themselves is COMPLETELY WRONG. I hope this gets taken care of. Just think how many other people have received this same notice.

And....you were married before? I don't think I knew that. You must have been young.

VandyJ said...

That is crazy! I really hope you get this fixed, to your satisfaction, not the court's.

Emmy said...

This is 100% wrong! You do need to really send it to the news sources if you have not. Seriously seems so fishy and yes, way past the statues of limitation! do you want me to tweet this?

Johanson Family said...

Let me also add that the court told me that I would be sent to a collection agency if I did not pay. If this was such a hot issue, why didn't they send me to the collection agency YEARS ago? Totally doesn't make sense!!

Amanda @ 2LittleBugs said...

WOW! You have got to be kidding me!? I seriously cannot believe this. This is a joke! I really hope you are sending this to the news station. Man, this makes me so angry just reading it, I can only imagine how mad you are over this.

Connie said...

This is crazy! They are clearly at fault.

What can I do to help get the TV station attention?

Krista said...

Ugh. Makes me so angry. I wonder how many other people who aren't as observant as you are getting hit with stuff like this and just paying up? You're most certainly not the only one dealing with this issue.

Cherished Bliss said...

Wow! This is totally ridiculous! I hope they do something about this. You should definitely not pay!!!! I hate dealing with stupid stuff like this. Errr! Now I'm mad!

Screaming Sardine said...

Geez, what a mess. It makes no sense at all. I hope you can get it all worked out, Janette. They should also give you an apology!

Tracy Screaming Sardine

My Mercurial Nature said...

This is the most absurd, bizarre, and screwed up thing ever! The hell?!? Really...how can you not just look at them and say, "Excuse? WHA? The hell!!?!"

Liberty said...

WTH????? Seriously?? I'm totally with you on this one, sistuh from anothuh muthu. Need me to fly down and testify that I was in the defensive driving class with you?? I have some frequent flyer miles... I'm just sayin

Jessica said...

OH wow!!! Did anything come of this? I saw this on your facebook but don't remember seeing anything else! That really sucks!! Here in our office (insurance) we only keep records for 7 years so if someone had brought us a certificate 10 years ago it's long gone from our office too. Crazy!!

JENN said...

That is nuts! I would be livid! I'm so glad that you're standing up to them and not just paying. It's government so, ultimately, there's not alot you can do, but I applaud you for not taking this lying down! Ridiculous system!

Mango Chutney said...

It's sad! But the state can fo whatever they want! Two years ago after filing my taxes, I got a letter in the mail saying our state taxes were being held because there was a unpaid ticket in a county we didn't know of, because we hang in three we Do know of. After calling we found out it was a ticket that my hubsband got when he was 19yo and at the time he was 36yo. They said it was because they had just put their records online because they are a small town. It's not fair!!

 
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