Fighting the Man

I'm outraged over a $25 penalty Montgomery County local government is trying to make my wife pay. I think normal people would get mad, get over it, and just pay it; but I can't seem to let go. Let me explain.

She received a Notification of Delinquent Account on January 19th, 2011. Allegedly, my wife's car was recorded as traveling 41 mph in a 30 mph zone at 11:11 am, August 29, 2009. I say allegedly, because to the best of her and my recollection, she should not have been in Montgomery County that day at all, much less at 11:11am. Anyone who knows her knows that her weekends are precious, and being awake at 11 am, much less being 30 miles away from home at that time, is a rare occurrence. Furthermore, we attended a party the night before, increasing the chances of a sleep in.

To date we've been presented with no photo evidence that her car was there. But despite all of that, she and I are both willing to admit that we could be wrong about events that took place 17 months prior. But this was the first notice she had received. The fine was $40, and the late penalty was $25.

Despite paying the $40 fine, and placing a phone call and a letter, explaining that we never received any notice of the violation until the January 19th Delinquency notice, they are threatening to turn the account over to collections to collect the remaining $25. They maintain that despite the fact they did not send the notice certified mail, it is not their fault that we did not receive notice. I don't even doubt they sent the notice, but the US Postal Service has been notoriously bad at this address. I have countless examples of mail not being delivered here.

So why should my wife be liable for the US Postal Service's poor delivery service? I believe that if law enforcement want to ensure proper notice, they should send the violations certified return receipt requested. Or better yet, get rid of those traffic cameras, and put a few more officers to work pulling over people to issue the citations the old fashioned way.

I want to fight this. Does anybody have suggestions on how to effectively fight this injustice?

Update: We just solved the mystery of how her car was up there. It was the one time she lent the car to a friend (who incidentally returned the car with an empty tank). Thanks to digital cameras which digitally encode the day pictures are taken, and the fact that Mandy and this friend posed for a picture the day the car was borrowed. But I'm still upset about the late penalty on general principal even if the friend offers to pay the fine.

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Hey, my guess is you will need to spend more time schlepping up to MoGo to talk to somebody in person than it is worth monetarily, but i would do it on principal. I would hope there is some sort of judge that settles things like this. I believe they have to prove you committed some sort of violation and without a cop or a picture,WTF? STEVEN MAGUIRE, March 10, 2011 22:08

Once you figure out how to "win" these cases, I've got some issues you can tackle with the office of real property tax in DC! Reed , March 13, 2011 01:44