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Old 09-24-2009, 05:29 PM
2 posts, read 6,385 times
Reputation: 11


I routinely ride the Virginia Railway Express commuter rail system in the Washington DC area to get to my job at L'Enfant ... which is much nicer than driving into DC. (Until July!!)

I got an "I forgot to validate my ticket" summons on 6 July, the day after the holiday, when the trains were empty. It is a Class 2 criminal misdemeanor, which in Virginia means a possibility of jail... time.

At the arraignment in late August, the judge apologized to all four of us, and called it a "devastating piece of inappropriate legislation" ... she banged her gavel and in a loud voice immediately wiped out jail time (actual and suspended) as well as probation.

At my trial this past Tuesday 22 September, the VA commonwealth's attorney "null-processed" all four cases, with another apology from both him and the judge ... no fine, no penalty, no jail, no costs, no pleas, no conviction, no record, no nothing.

The presiding court, the Alexandria General District criminal/traffic court, now hates this new law and is handling these cases routinely this way.
The zealot culprit legislator who caused this problem in the first place in March 2009 is Virginia Delete Rob Bell of Albemarle County who seems to want to become the next Virginia Attorney General.

Mr. Bell amended Virgina State Senator Ms. Toddy Puller's bill, designed to handle counterfeit tickets and repeat offenders, but didn't include "forget to validate" as a Class 2. But Mr. Bell ramrodded it through in an "all-in-one"!

Now, even VRE is supporting a revision to the legislation, which is... targeted to be effective on 01 Feb 10. Virginia Delegate Dave Marsden is the prime champion of the revision to "make it right"!!

The entire Virginia legislature (both the house and the senate) and the Virginia Governor so screwed this up, so royally, so big time !!

We all suffer greatly as a result!!
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:33 PM
Location: southern california
55,640 posts, read 74,577,828 times
Reputation: 48122
i regret you bad experience. but i see an avalanche of people here using the i forgot excuse here, the really do feel it is a good and legitimate reason and should be accepted by authorities.
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:36 PM
2 posts, read 6,385 times
Reputation: 11
I proved to the Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney in the General District Court, Alexandria VA, that I indeed did forget, that it was not any kind of a pattern, and that my argument was logical, plausible, and believable. With a lot of evidence, all of it outside of the courtroom venue.

I cannot and will not speak for others.
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:08 PM
3,157 posts, read 8,113,383 times
Reputation: 1977
Very misleading subject line. Possibility of jail time is not equal to actual jail time. No judge in their right mind would throw you in jail for one missed ticket, and I doubt VRE has actually put anyone in jail for this.
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:37 PM
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,578 posts, read 10,883,663 times
Reputation: 5603
VRE has nothing to do with anyone goes to jail or not. I also can't imagine they would lobby the commonwealth attorney for a harsh penalty for a case like this. It's not unusual for a law to pass then someone comes up with something like this. It happens sometimes and the changes are usually made. Not in time obviously for the OP and the OP has a right to be pissed off but all things considered no worse for the wear.
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:09 AM
2,728 posts, read 7,361,004 times
Reputation: 1062
I've been a VRE rider for a few years. The Conductors have many interesting stories about customers counterfeiting tickets and altering the dates on the ticket. I think the harsh laws should apply to these counterfitters rather than a person who forgets to validate the ticket. There's a lot of non-paying customers on the train. Eventually they get caught, because the Conductors have told me they "get to know the faces."
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