Usually, in a court of law, the criminal defense lawyers are the ones speaking on behalf of a client. Of the approximate 1.3 million lawyers in the United States, that’s their job. They are the law savvy voice of people who’ve gotten themselves into legal snafus. Occasionally, some people are brave enough to interpret the law on their own and go about making their own way through the litany of legalese.

One man, alias unknown beyond a fairly undescriptive Dave, had a run-in with the law. In 1974, Dave got a parking ticket in the small town of Minersville, Pennsylvania. It being 1974, the fine was a measly $2, for which he couldn’t be bothered to pay. Leaving Minersville with that ticket, Dave went about his life.

Somewhere between the 44-year span from 1974 to 2018, Dave’s conscience kicked in. This past week he sent the Minersville Police Department an envelope with a $5 bill and a short letter inside. Return addressed, “Feeling guilty, Wayward Road, Anytown, Ca.,” it read like this: “Dear PD, I’ve been carrying this ticket around for 40 plus years. Always intending to pay. Forgive me if I don’t give you my info. With respect, Dave.”

Dave’s cheeky honesty gained the approval of the Police Chief who wants to say thank you and have a conversation with the guy. The handwritten parking ticket predated computer systems that could access drivers from other states. Dave was from Ohio back then, and who knows where he is now. All we know is that he’s finally cleared his conscience, though it should be noted, a parking ticket in Minersville now costs $20 instead of $2. Perhaps his extra $3 made up for lost time. Who can say?

Certainly not the usual legal realm for criminal defense lawyers, parking tickets are a good thing to stay on top of, too. Fortunately for Dave, the worst he got was a guilty conscience for almost half a century. No tows, immobilization, or increased fines. Wherever Dave is, we applaud his efforts in making good with the law of the land and definitely appreciate the spirit of the gesture.