A Houston man went hog-wild over a $137 ticket for an expired inspection sticker and tried to pay the fine in $1 bills each folded into a pig. He then presented the litter of paper porkers in a doughnut box, apparently hoping to catch the cops on a coffee break.
The man, who identifies himself only as “Bacon Moose,” posted the hilarious video on YouTube.
“Hamming” it up on the video, Bacon goes to the window and tries to present the carefully crafted origami piglets to the clerk, who was not amused.
The clerk, who called a cop in uniform for back-up, refused to accept the money, saying it would take too long to unfold and count them.
Poor Bacon had to sit there and unfold each of his little pet swine, but not before he protested to the clerk that it was perfectly legal tender and he would have paid with a credit card but didn’t want to incur the extra fee they charged.
Those argument are hogwash, lawyers say.
Courts are free to accept or reject whatever form of currency they choose, according to criminal defense attorney Howard Bass. Some courts accept only Visa and MasterCard, but not American Express, for example.
A close look at Bacon Moose’s video does show that the sign taped to the window says that personal checks are not accepted.
“What if he had walked up with 13,700 pennies and thrown it down?” Bass asks.
In the past, angry ex-spouses have tried to pay their divorce settlements in truckloads of pennies, but judges put a stop to that.
“One thing about the justice system is that time is money,” says attorney Matthew David Keenan. ”If you’re causing the clerk’s office to take an hour to docket your case, judges will not be happy.”
While you would not technically be breaking any law by getting creative in your payment methods, your ham-handed attempt at civil disobedience will probably back-fire.
“The average judge will think, ‘If I let this guy pay this way, then every one is going to do something nutty,’” said Keenan.
However, if Bacon had refused to unfold the bills and left it unpaid, that may have left him hog-tied.
“There are other ways the police could have obtained a pound of flesh or $137,” says Bass.
Depending on the state and the type of violation, an unpaid ticket can lead to a warrant for your arrest, license revocation or, even worse, taking the money out of your state tax return.
For anybody trying to stay out of additional trouble, apparently like our friend Bacon, that would not be kosher.