I replied in the original post but it was long and I am an attention whore so.... The very short version is: I got a ticket. Paid the ticket by mailing in my payment as per the instructions on the courtesy notice. The employee that entered my payment in the computer entered the payment but did not remove whatever flag indicates that the case is closed. Fast forward 3 or 4 years and I am on my way to work on a fine Thursday morning. There had been an issue with my insurance company and I had no coverage when I went to the DMV to renew my registration. So I am on expired but paid for tags. I figured that if a cop pulled me over it would be a fix it ticket. No biggie. Well the cop does pull me over for the tags. He runs my DL and finds a warrant for my arrest. He explains what it's for and after a few minutes I remember the old ticket. I tell him that I paid that ticket. He runs my DL again to make sure he didn't make a mistake but it comes up again. Now I know that since he has run my name and it came up with a warrant he can hardly let me go with a warning. So I calmly submit to being arrested, confident that the issue will be cleared up by days end. While they are booking me (a humiliating experience in itself) they tell me that there is a no bail hold on me. Not knowing what they was they tell me that usually bad criminals who need to be sent to another location to stand trial get a no bail hold. They ask me what I did and I tell them, "Traffic ticket." They look at me incredulously and say, "Who did you piss off!?" Hmmm... this isn't looking good. The next day the big bus comes for me to take me to L.A. county jail. (Mens central, the bad place in downtown L.A.) Now I know that many of us think of cops as being assholes and such but let me tell you, jailers (who in L.A. are sheriffs deputies assigned to the jail) make regular cops look like sweethearts compare to them. After about 3 hours of processing and waiting I finally get a cop (not a jailer) to answer a couple of my questions, like what the hell is happening to me? I am told that since I am being held for Orange County they will hold me for 10 days and then release me if in that time OC doesn't come get me. Oh yeah, they don't pick up on Fridays, so have fun in jail over the weekend. After a harrowing weekend in jail I get processed into general population on monday evening. I won't go into what it's like in there, but let me tell you that you DO NOT EVER WANT TO GO TO JAIL. Anyhoo, come Tuesday night I am told that OC is here for me. Another 8 hours processing out moving from one little glass room to another and I am on a bus bound for Santa Ana. Now OC jail isn't as bad as LA but it's still jail, and I am still freaked out. However I learned a trick or two from some of my fellow inmates at LA. I look at the jailer processing me in and ask for a private room (cell). He laughs at me until I use the "magic" words: I fear for my life and my safety. He sighs and processes me to an individual cell. The next few days are uneventful as I wait for my court date. However the only individual cell they had for me was with people who were in for very serious violent crimes. Luckily my only interaction with them is talking as we are let out for exercise individually for one hour a day. The highlight was when one of my fellow inmates came back in absolutely ecstatic after court. They had just won a huge victory: The DA agreed to not pursue the death penalty. So now he was "only" looking at life in prison. Now keep in mind that this whole time I have been denied access to a lawyer. So they finally take me to court to see the judge. I am asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If I plead guilty he'll give me 45 days in jail. I reply to him, "I would like to speak to a lawyer". He says, "Not guilty it is then. Bail set at TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. (The original ticket was for less than 300.00) My wife bails me out (that's a thousand dollars we'll never see again) and I begin processing out. Now, at any time during this 8 hour process you can be sent back to the beginning for no reason whatsoever. So as you go from room to room and get closer to the end you get nervous and keep your mouth quiet and try to not piss off the jailers. Finally I get to the last room where they give me my clothes back, and I can see the lobby out the window of the very last door. Fortunately I don't cause any trouble and I am processed out. I finally walk out of that last door with the little bullet proof window in it and I am in the lobby of the jail. Free. I have never felt so good in my whole life. I looked at the clock. It's a quarter to 1 am, and the 9th day after my arrest. We go to court 3 weeks later with a very good lawyer I hired. The judge calls me first and says, "In the matter of the people of Orange County vs. Michael Nunez, the court finds that the original ticket was paid in full and that the warrant should have never been issued. Case closed". And that was it. No apology, not even a sympathetic look. I eventually tried to sue them but my lawyer for that wasn't as good as my criminal lawyer. I was basically told that we can continue to sue and win but that it will cost alot of money and that OC will likely throw everything they have at us. Justice was available, but I couldn't afford it. But I learned two things from that ordeal: 1) always make your ticket payment in person at the window and always get a reciept. 2) You don't EVER want to go to jail. If I ever found myself looking at jail time again I would run. The words, "They'll never take me alive" have taken on a new meaning for me. Epilogue: The cop who arrested me was the best cop I ever met. He didn't fvck around but he was no asshole. He even came by later that night to see how I was doing. The guy was a class act and the kind of cop that makes other cops look good. We need more cops like him. Sadly he was murdered 3 months later during a traffic stop not far form where I was arrested. I still think of him occasionally and sometimes say a prayer for the family he left behind. Yeah, that's the SHORT version.