Seven years ago I came up with an idea for people who get moving violations: If you can tell the police officer what it was you did wrong, you could be eligible for community service instead of traffic school. At time someone whose opinion I trust said this would never work.
Well it seems the city of Oakland does have a way you can work instead of paying your fine, and depending on your violation you may be eligible for skipping traffic school.
The prospect of community service intrigued me, not even so much as saving the exorbitant fee on a ticket I received recently for a minor violation but because I was curious what the options were for service.
Unfortunately the barriers to investigating this were too high.
1) Arrive by 8am and wait for the chance to have the case reviewed after 9:30, if you’re among the first 120 cases.
2) If you don’t get in the 9:30 round, the next review time is 2pm.
Basically you need to dedicate a whole day to being assigned your community service.
I called up to ask if there’s a way to know how many hours of service you get based on the ticket. Nope, you have to go in.
It would be nice if even for people for whom time is more rare than money to be able to take advantage of this community service option. But at the cost of a day just to schedule this, it is more an option only for the jobless. Still, it’s nice that it’s an option.
Update: Upon realizing traffic school is required in addition to paying, the idea of spending a day at the Oakland court is sounding better and better. Although I have to admit that a comedy traffic school I went to years ago was one of my best entertainment experiences ever. To this day I quote rules I learned in that class and I remember not wanting to leave after 8 hours in that room. Now that’s a testimonial!
As luck would have it I have a goal to take an improv class, so this is my chance.