Monday, June 16, 2014

UT Tyler Student's Court Date Adventure!

Helpful Tips Included.

This is a little story about my adventure with the court system in the city of Tyler. It’s magical, really. And it all started with a warning for speeding.

Have you ever been told to do something and for some reason you just didn’t get around to it? Maybe your mom told you to clean you room three years ago, but you found yourself too enthralled with being a slob to do what she asked. Or maybe you told your boss that OF COURSE you would get that filing done this Friday, but then someone brought cake to work and everyone got chatty (including you) and oh look, it isn’t finished and it’s time to leave. You walk sneakily off and vow to get it done first thing on Monday.

Yea. Don’t do that with the court system. Especially in Smith County. 

A factual account of corruption in the ETX Justice system.
Full text in the link. Have fun :) Via WikiLeaks

As a couple of you may know, I just recently got owned by the Tyler Municipal Court. It began innocently enough, when I received a warning for speeding and was told by the officer to get my license changed to reflect my new address. I did not do that last bit. Four months later I received snail mail telling me that I had missed my own court date and owed the city of Tyler $690.00. I thought I would be able to get out of the fines, and now I have my very first payment plan. I feel like a real life adult now. No really.

My face when I found out I would not be getting out of my fines
EW. Via PrettyVices


  1. If someone with a police officer badge (or any shiny badge for that matter) orders you to do something, DO IT. Don’t talk to friends or family about it (like I did) and realize that you would be better off NOT heading the order given. For the love of all the money in your bank account, take care of whatever it is.
  2. Keep up with the paper. Do not be fooled by its flimsy appearance. This small paper warning is steeping with untapped and devastating power. Don’t lose the paper the officer/shiny badge wearer gave you like you lost your Posados receipt. Don’t crumble it up, tear it, or misplace it. Have a file folder dedicated to things you have to get done, and put it somewhere you will return to that isn’t the back or your car.
  3. Write down the dates on your calendar. If you have to do a certain thing within a certain time frame, make sure it gets done before you incur late charges or further fines.
  4. Check your mail. The city of Tyler is not as technologically advanced as you may think it is. You aren’t going to get a friendly email reminder to go to court or deal with your stuff. You aren’t going to get poked by the municipal court of Tyler on Facebook. No one will tweet you telling you to remember to do that one thing from that one time. No one will call you. You are alone in this. You will receive mail via post office. So find your mail key and check that thing at least once a week.
  5. Put on your big boy/girl/person panties and understand that you are not above the law. Even if it is a dumb law. You are not even above a dumb law. Let that sink in.

Me too, disgruntled sea turtle. Me too.
Via AllThingsD


  1. Prep yourself in what you want to say to the judge. Whatever you decide to go with excuse-wise, realize that you may have a judge who does not give a who-who about your excuses. In fact, I’m gonna put that up there at a 90% chance that the judge will not give a who-who about your excuses. But it’s worth a shot, so make it count!
  2. Wear something business professional. Even if you end up having to pay the full amount, you will look good, and deep down it will make you feel a little better about yourself.
  3.  Be respectful. Do NOT under any circumstances argue with the judge. There is an unbalanced amount of power in the room, and you are not the one who calls the shots. You will get the short stick. You can choose to contest it further if you want, or you can file a complaint against the judge if you feel as though they were unfair to you.
  4. Be on time. I cannot stress this enough. Pretend like you are Cinderella if you have to. Once the clock strikes 12 you’re going to turn into a pumpkin. Or something like that. As soon as your time has passed to go speak to the judge, more fees can be put onto your tab, and you may even have to set up a new court date.
  5. Keep in touch with the municipal court via phone to know exactly where you stand. Follow up, because no one there will. 

You’re going to be okay. You’ll get through this, little grass-hopper. It’s not going to be fun. When it happened to me, I couldn't believe that I could get sucked up into huge fines over something so small. But now I am more aware of how important it is to get things taken care of, especially if it has to do with the court system. Be responsible about it, and you should be able to avoid what I went through.

Things like this can get out of hand really easily. I was pretty close to getting my license revoked and almost had a warrant out for my arrest. And let’s face it; I wouldn't be nearly as cute in orange. Not all of us can be as perfect as Poussey from Orange is the New Black

I want to put a clever caption,
but I keep getting distracted.

Via Professional Fangirls

Post-Court date, you're gonna want to do one of two things. A). Rant to everyone you know about how messed up the East Texas justice system is, or B). Go to Braums and eat your feelings. Both of these are completely valid and acceptable. Until then, good luck! 

1 comment:

Joorie Doodie said...

You're putting a sheen of humor on what has been a very serious, decades-old problem here. And that's okay. But you're talking about some traffic tickets--and failure to pay them--that sent you over to the municipal court. The book Smith County Justice may be 30 years old, but the same attitudes about procedure and rule of law still prevail in our law enforcement and court systems here. Get into the DISTRICT courts here for more serious trouble (e.g. drug crimes) and you will be a a very serious world of pain. And your punishment will NOT fit the crime, either because you are not well-connected and get the whole law library of books thrown at you or because you are well-to-do and get off with some bogus counseling or rehab. I don't know how to stress this enough, but KEEP YOUR NOSE (AND THE OPPOSITE END) CLEAN HERE IN SMITH COUNTY. Read more about Smith County's crapola at

I really wish the student population at UT Tyler and TJC would have been more informed and would have voted in the 2014 primaries. The District Attorney's race and County Judge were won an lost by hundreds of votes.

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