I had a ticket case in Dallas today. If you get a ticket from the City of Dallas you are sent to the Dallas Municipal Court. The court is located downtown at 2014 W Main.
I needed to work out a traffic violation with the prosecutor. Sounds easy enough. However, going to an unfamiliar court and learning the process is always an experience. Here is how I spent the morning at the Dallas Muni Court.
First I went to the main information desk. A very friendly employee informed me that I needed to visit “Station 11” to “register”. Station 11 is not as impressive as it sounds. S11 is a walk up window with an “11” placard dangling from the ceiling.
Registration was fairly simple. I handed another very nice employee my bar card and driver’s license. My information was entered, I signed some form, and was then issued my own municipal court ID number. I may also have received a concealed handgun license, I’m not sure.
Next, I went in search of a prosecutor. I found my courtroom and met a very helpful city attorney. We discussed the case and agreed on a resolution.
Since my case was not on the docket I was told I needed to “print the screen” for my case. I was sent upstairs to find what has to the oldest working computer in Texas. It looked like a Dharma Initiative computer from Lost. It even had that 80’s computer staple, the green and black screen. Actually using this public computer felt as sanitary as typing on a public toilet. However, my client needed me to be brave, so I pressed forward.
Here is how to use the Dallas Muni Ticket Computer.
1. Hit the “Clear” button to start a new search. (No “clear” key on my work computer, apparently clearing was the was the killer app in 1982).
2. Type “MN/F” then the defendant’s name. (Sometimes, a list will appear with similar names, if not then the Global Thermo Nuclear War program starts).
3. Hit return to scroll down to find said name. (I couldn’t figure out how to scroll up).
4. Recite an ancient bureaucratic incantation to get the computer to print.
5. When you are finished hit “clear” again.
6. Immediately begin antibiotic treatment.
I was informed the printer wasn’t working. This was disappointing since a tractor wheel dot matrix printer brings back great memories. Again, a very friendly and helpful employee printed the screen from her computer (a much faster and cleaner Dell).
I took this printout back to the courtroom. The prosecutor (again very helpful) filled out the plea papers and the judge approved our agreement. I was then told to take these forms to the “Attorney’s Window”. The Attorney’s Window is window 4, obviously. I approached window 4 and… no one was there. Luckily, the teller showed up in a few minutes. I handed her my paperwork, she took a few pages and gave a few back. Mission accomplished.