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  #51  
Old 09-05-2018, 09:16 AM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
The analogy breaks down at that level, because "getting groceries" is not immoral nor illegal. Speeding, ignoring your court date, and abusing drugs, is both. So that factor affects it.

Regards,
Shodan
I was pointing out how that was a poor analogy, thank you for agreeing.

Now, I do have to admit that I do find it interesting that you consider minor traffic infractions to be immoral.

You also have not answered the question I posed earlier. You said that a punishment is supposed to hurt. For the well off, a $200 fine for speeding doesn't hurt. For someone much less well off, a $200 fine could hurt very badly. By your logic, the poor person is punished, and the well off person is not, even though they broke the same exact law.

So, is it your contention that it is only immoral to speed if you are poor?
  #52  
Old 09-05-2018, 10:11 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
You also have not answered the question I posed earlier. You said that a punishment is supposed to hurt. For the well off, a $200 fine for speeding doesn't hurt. For someone much less well off, a $200 fine could hurt very badly. By your logic, the poor person is punished, and the well off person is not, even though they broke the same exact law.

So, is it your contention that it is only immoral to speed if you are poor?
No, that doesn't follow logically. Punishment is supposed to be based on the severity of the offense, but it doesn't work the other way. If you get away with something so that you are not punished at all, that doesn't mean what you did wasn't immoral.

The law operates on everyone the same, or at least it is supposed to. You could make a case that fines should be greater for rich people than for poor, but we haven't done that yet. The fines are what legislators think is sufficient to deter a given infraction for the average person. There are some limited options to reduce the impact of fines on a poor person, like payment plans so they don't have to come up with the money all at once, or community service instead of fines.

Plus notice what was happening in the case of the woman who died from withdrawal. It wasn't a matter of her being poor, or a ticket that she couldn't pay. She had multiple tickets, which she ignored, and court dates, that she ignored. Multiple tickets is worse than one, therefore the fines are higher because they accumulate. Ignoring your court dates is worse, which is why the warrant was issued, which is why she was taken into custody, which is why she detoxed, which is why she died.

The question is, what do we do about people like that? If you don't pay your fines, and you blow off your court dates, and you continue to speed, should the consequences be different if you are rich vs. if you are poor? It sucks that she died, but how do we address the connection between her death and the fact that fines weren't working in her case?

Regards,
Shodan
  #53  
Old 09-05-2018, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
She died for speeding tickets and failure to pay them. She committed no other acts that led to her death.
Not having paid the tickets is not a mitigating circumstance that makes the death okay, so some will leave it out.

The only way I would correct her is to say that she died for unpaid speeding tickets. It's no less outrageous.
For anyone who wants a perfect example of what I was asking about in the OP, BigT's post quoted above is a perfect example.
  #54  
Old 09-05-2018, 10:27 AM
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The FACT is that she was in jail for not complying with the law about outstanding tickets, not for the tickets themselves. Traffic tickets typically carry a fine as a penalty. Not paying them or not showing up to court can get a warrant created to detain you and bring you to court. Even then, it's not "jail" in the sense of a sentence, but rather they're going to keep you in custody with the intent to compel you to show up to court.

She died because she had incompetent jailers who did not recognize her distress or symptoms and did not render her any aid. That's why she died. The drug addiction is a red herring here- had she had any other medical condition where a crisis could kill her, and that happened in custody, and they didn't help her, it would have been equally incompetent and wrong. The addictioan could have made them less sympathetic, but that's more of an indicator of incompetence than a mitigating factor.

Neither of those things are "for parking tickets". That's a very disingenuous statement- it implies that she was taken to jail for speeding and executed or something. Which is not what happened at all. Why is that so hard to understand? Is it that it doesn't fit into a specific political narrative that seeks to bash the police and justice system, so they're "simplifying" it so that it does? Is it really a lack of comprehension of what happened? Is it something else?
  #55  
Old 09-05-2018, 10:35 AM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
No, that doesn't follow logically. Punishment is supposed to be based on the severity of the offense, but it doesn't work the other way. If you get away with something so that you are not punished at all, that doesn't mean what you did wasn't immoral.

The law operates on everyone the same, or at least it is supposed to. You could make a case that fines should be greater for rich people than for poor, but we haven't done that yet. The fines are what legislators think is sufficient to deter a given infraction for the average person. There are some limited options to reduce the impact of fines on a poor person, like payment plans so they don't have to come up with the money all at once, or community service instead of fines.
I was only replying to your assertion that punishment should hurt. If you are now saying that punishment does not need to hurt, that it is based on severity of the offense, then that is different from what you said earlier.
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Originally Posted by Shodan
You are supposed to want to avoid the punishment enough to avoid the behavior that leads to the punishment.
So, the well off, to which a speeding ticket does not hurt, do not want to avoid the punishment enough to avoid the behavior, as it does not lead to punishment, while there are those who this punishment could quite literally ruin their lives.
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Plus notice what was happening in the case of the woman who died from withdrawal. It wasn't a matter of her being poor, or a ticket that she couldn't pay. She had multiple tickets, which she ignored, and court dates, that she ignored. Multiple tickets is worse than one, therefore the fines are higher because they accumulate. Ignoring your court dates is worse, which is why the warrant was issued, which is why she was taken into custody, which is why she detoxed, which is why she died.
The OP made a specific claim of a specific person in a specific article, that didn't have the "mitigating" factors of begin poor, so in this particular cherry picked instance, money and lack of ability to pay was not the problem.

The vast majority of the time, the money is the problem. You have to pay $200 fine, you don't have $200. It's not that you would need to sacrifice and not drink a latte every day for a month to save it up, it's not even that you'd have to dig deep, and start skipping lunch. It is simply money that you do not have. Then that becomes greater when you get penalties for not being able to pay it.

I suppose they could go to a check'n'go place, and become beholden to them for the rest of their lives.
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The question is, what do we do about people like that? If you don't pay your fines, and you blow off your court dates, and you continue to speed, should the consequences be different if you are rich vs. if you are poor? It sucks that she died, but how do we address the connection between her death and the fact that fines weren't working in her case?
Drug addiction is a very real health problem, and one thing that does not do anything to address or to help mental health problems is punishing people for them. Yes, in the ADHD thread, there is the claim that enough spanking will prevent ADHD. I suppose the same argument could be made that drug addiction can be cured if the punishment for it is severe enough, but I would doubt that as well.

So, we either actually work on treating the problem, or we keep punishing people for their health problems until they (the people, not the problems) go away.
  #56  
Old 09-05-2018, 10:42 AM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
The FACT is that she was in jail for not complying with the law about outstanding tickets, not for the tickets themselves. Traffic tickets typically carry a fine as a penalty. Not paying them or not showing up to court can get a warrant created to detain you and bring you to court. Even then, it's not "jail" in the sense of a sentence, but rather they're going to keep you in custody with the intent to compel you to show up to court.

She died because she had incompetent jailers who did not recognize her distress or symptoms and did not render her any aid. That's why she died. The drug addiction is a red herring here- had she had any other medical condition where a crisis could kill her, and that happened in custody, and they didn't help her, it would have been equally incompetent and wrong. The addictioan could have made them less sympathetic, but that's more of an indicator of incompetence than a mitigating factor.

Neither of those things are "for parking tickets". That's a very disingenuous statement- it implies that she was taken to jail for speeding and executed or something. Which is not what happened at all. Why is that so hard to understand? Is it that it doesn't fit into a specific political narrative that seeks to bash the police and justice system, so they're "simplifying" it so that it does? Is it really a lack of comprehension of what happened? Is it something else?
It is not a lack of comprehension on the part of those who see the tickets as the first step involving her in a legal situation she was not competent to get herself out of. That she was not competent to get herself out of the legal situation she found herself in due to minor infractions is an indictment on our legal system, as well as our educational system.

You do not need to ascribe false motives to those who are capable of following the narrative from the point where she was initially put into contact with the legal system, to where she ended up dying at the hands of the legal system.

Yes, the very worst thing that she did to attract the ire of the law was traffic infractions. That that lead to her demise should b a wake up call to us all, even a "there for the grace of god go I" moment for many of us.

To instead consider it an annoyance to *you* that you hear people complain that our legal system has these results of people's lives being ruined or ended over completely non-violent minor offenses is what I have difficulty understanding.
  #57  
Old 09-05-2018, 12:12 PM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
I was only replying to your assertion that punishment should hurt. If you are now saying that punishment does not need to hurt, that it is based on severity of the offense, then that is different from what you said earlier.
No, I am not saying anything different. Punishment needs to hurt, it is based on the severity of the offense, and the severity is based on the legislators' understanding of how much it hurts for the average person.
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So, the well off, to which a speeding ticket does not hurt, do not want to avoid the punishment enough to avoid the behavior, as it does not lead to punishment, while there are those who this punishment could quite literally ruin their lives.
That's the question under discussion - what can or should be done about people who ignore their fines and blow off their court dates up to the point where it can ruin their lives?
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The vast majority of the time, the money is the problem. You have to pay $200 fine, you don't have $200. It's not that you would need to sacrifice and not drink a latte every day for a month to save it up, it's not even that you'd have to dig deep, and start skipping lunch. It is simply money that you do not have. Then that becomes greater when you get penalties for not being able to pay it.
Yes. The question being, what do we do about people who make things that much worse for themselves?

Someone doesn't have $200 for a speeding ticket. So they blow it off, and continue to speed. Now they have multiple speeding tickets, fines for ignoring the court date, and warrants out for their arrest. Then, rarely, they get arrested and die as an indirect result.

What do we do about that? If we reduce the fines to something they can easily pay, they have no incentive to stop speeding. And IME people who don't treat a $200 ticket seriously don't treat a $20 ticket any more seriously. Do we escalate the process to the point where it rises back to $200, which they can't pay, so they blow it off, and then get arrested? Do we just say "NM the rules don't apply to you because you can't pay for your fines or your insurance"?

Regards,
Shodan
  #58  
Old 09-05-2018, 01:19 PM
bump bump is offline
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
It is not a lack of comprehension on the part of those who see the tickets as the first step involving her in a legal situation she was not competent to get herself out of. That she was not competent to get herself out of the legal situation she found herself in due to minor infractions is an indictment on our legal system, as well as our educational system.

You do not need to ascribe false motives to those who are capable of following the narrative from the point where she was initially put into contact with the legal system, to where she ended up dying at the hands of the legal system.

Yes, the very worst thing that she did to attract the ire of the law was traffic infractions. That that lead to her demise should b a wake up call to us all, even a "there for the grace of god go I" moment for many of us.

To instead consider it an annoyance to *you* that you hear people complain that our legal system has these results of people's lives being ruined or ended over completely non-violent minor offenses is what I have difficulty understanding.
You clearly don't get it... it's not the traffic tickets that ruined her life. Full stop. Just about everyone who drives eventually gets traffic tickets. 99.99999% of those people simply pay them or contest them in court. Some tiny fraction of people, for whatever reason, refuse to do either. Which is effectively telling the court, and by extension the government that you don't care to comply by their rules, just like if you skipped bail.

So they issue what's called a bench warrant, meaning that it's a warrant for your arrest issued by a judge with the express purpose to detain you and make you show up for court, which is what you were expected to do in the first place when you got the ticket. You don't end up in this situation at random- you have to basically repeatedly be irresponsible or willfully disregard the tickets/court to end up in that situation. How else should the court get you to show up? They've already asked nicely and even given you an option to just pay up. At this point, this is pretty much their only option- I'm not sure how a court system is supposed to work if the players just don't show up.

Then once they've jailed you, your jailers have a certain duty of care toward you because you can't you know, go to the hospital when you feel like it or get food whenever you want, so they have to provide those things for you. THAT is where the jailers failed in Coltrain's case.

I cherry picked this case for the reason that she was white and not poor, yet people are still making the illogical leap I was talking about- it is a better example without the factors of income and race involved.
  #59  
Old 09-05-2018, 03:01 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
No, I am not saying anything different. Punishment needs to hurt, it is based on the severity of the offense, and the severity is based on the legislators' understanding of how much it hurts for the average person.
Okay, so what you are saying is that the well off can break laws with impunity, because the punishment doesn't hurt them, and the less fortunate are punished disproportionately more than the average.
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That's the question under discussion - what can or should be done about people who ignore their fines and blow off their court dates up to the point where it can ruin their lives? Yes. The question being, what do we do about people who make things that much worse for themselves?
those are two entirely different questions. The first is something we can address with our courts and legal system, to see if we are setting realistic expectations. Did you really blow off court if taking the day off means you lose your job? Did you really refuse to pay the fine if paying it means you lose your home?

The second question is for sociologists and social workers. What do we do with people who are not capable of taking care of these tasks on their own? Do we help them out, or do we punish them further?
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Someone doesn't have $200 for a speeding ticket. So they blow it off, and continue to speed. Now they have multiple speeding tickets, fines for ignoring the court date, and warrants out for their arrest. Then, rarely, they get arrested and die as an indirect result.
Or they don't continue to speed. They get the one ticket, for going 4 mph over the limit, and they cannot afford to pay it. That then snowballs into further fines and court costs. They couldn't pay the $200, now they are looking at thousands.

They don't need to die in jail in order to have their lives ruined.
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What do we do about that? If we reduce the fines to something they can easily pay, they have no incentive to stop speeding. And IME people who don't treat a $200 ticket seriously don't treat a $20 ticket any more seriously. Do we escalate the process to the point where it rises back to $200, which they can't pay, so they blow it off, and then get arrested? Do we just say "NM the rules don't apply to you because you can't pay for your fines or your insurance"?
I personally am in favor of means tested fees and fines. Your experience may be that someone who can't pay a $200 fine also can't pay a $20 fine, but your experience is extremely limited. There are other options to be explored as well.

As long as the only tool in your tool chest to deal with people with social problems is punishment, you will always be confused on how to best apply that punishment to get people to be able to follow the rules.
  #60  
Old 09-05-2018, 03:05 PM
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manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
those are two entirely different questions. The first is something we can address with our courts and legal system, to see if we are setting realistic expectations. Did you really blow off court if taking the day off means you lose your job? Did you really refuse to pay the fine if paying it means you lose your home?
This doesn't really answer the question. What should be done with people who blow off their court date or don't pay their fines?
  #61  
Old 09-05-2018, 03:05 PM
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You clearly don't get it... it's not the traffic tickets that ruined her life. Full stop. Just about everyone who drives eventually gets traffic tickets. 99.99999% of those people simply pay them or contest them in court. Some tiny fraction of people, for whatever reason, refuse to do either. Which is effectively telling the court, and by extension the government that you don't care to comply by their rules, just like if you skipped bail.
I do get it. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean that I don't understand. If it were true that 7 nines of people have no problem with traffic tickets, then it would be the case that there would only be around 30 people who ever have a problem. As it is a bit higher than that, it is something that we should address, rather than just complain about.

In the situation that you have indicated (not sure if it a hypothetical or a real story, you have not cited it in any way to actually get any details) this person was negligent in her duties to the court, sure. According to you, she had a mental health problem. What she was effectively telling the court was that she needed help, what she got in return was punishment.
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So they issue what's called a bench warrant, meaning that it's a warrant for your arrest issued by a judge with the express purpose to detain you and make you show up for court, which is what you were expected to do in the first place when you got the ticket. You don't end up in this situation at random- you have to basically repeatedly be irresponsible or willfully disregard the tickets/court to end up in that situation. How else should the court get you to show up? They've already asked nicely and even given you an option to just pay up. At this point, this is pretty much their only option- I'm not sure how a court system is supposed to work if the players just don't show up.
And that is what you are not getting. In your cherry picked example, yes, this person was irresponsible. She had a mental health problem that prevented her from discharging her duties. That's not really the court's fault, but it's not something that I would be complaining about. Treating drug addiction as the disease it is, rather than as something to punish people over, would be a good step in that direction.
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Then once they've jailed you, your jailers have a certain duty of care toward you because you can't you know, go to the hospital when you feel like it or get food whenever you want, so they have to provide those things for you. THAT is where the jailers failed in Coltrain's case.
That was the last step in a callous legal system that ended up putting her at the mercy of these jailers, sure. They are ultimately responsible, but the system that put her in their hands shares enough of the blame that we ought to maybe look at it and find a way to get better results, rather than bitch and whine that there are people who at most maybe hyperbolized this event. You've had far more negative to say about the people bringing this sort of thing to public awareness than you have about the people who were responsible for her death.
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I cherry picked this case for the reason that she was white and not poor, yet people are still making the illogical leap I was talking about- it is a better example without the factors of income and race involved.
Right I know that you chose this example as a case where there aren't "mitigating factors", but what is your point in doing so? People with those "mitigating factors" get caught up and have their lives ruined over parking tickets all the time too. That you can imagine a marginal case that you can complain about doesn't mean that there are not people who really are having these "mitigating factors."

There are plenty of case studies to be had, with hundreds of millions of fellow citizens, and as such, you can cherry pick a story that, if you generalize outside that cherry picked case, you can use to "prove" anything you want. Cherry picking tells me much more about the person who picked it then whatever it is they are trying to prove.
  #62  
Old 09-05-2018, 03:23 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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This doesn't really answer the question. What should be done with people who blow off their court date or don't pay their fines?
Ar you asking me, specifically, to draw up legislation on the specifics of how to deal with this, or more generalities?

IF the former, no thanks.

If the later, then recognizing that the justice system is supposed to ensure justice, not dole out punishment, should give you a hint as to what sorts of things should be done with people who have difficulties in managing their affairs. Which means that the solution will be different on a case by case basis. Fortunately it is in a system made for the purpose of deciding things on a case by case basis, so we are all good.
  #63  
Old 09-05-2018, 06:43 PM
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For anyone who wants a perfect example of what I was asking about in the OP, BigT's post quoted above is a perfect example.
But BigT explicitly mentions the non-compliance follow on penalties, which does not appear to be a good example of someone ignoring them.
  #64  
Old 09-06-2018, 07:40 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
If the later, then recognizing that the justice system is supposed to ensure justice, not dole out punishment, should give you a hint as to what sorts of things should be done with people who have difficulties in managing their affairs. Which means that the solution will be different on a case by case basis. Fortunately it is in a system made for the purpose of deciding things on a case by case basis, so we are all good.
What exactly does "a case by case basis" mean?

Someone gets a bunch of speeding tickets and blows off their court dates. What should the system do about that? The person never showed up to argue that they couldn't afford to pay the fines, so the judge wouldn't know if they are rich or poor or middle class. So how is justice to be ensured?

Does the judge issue a bench warrant to compel appearance? What if the speeder can't afford a day off from work? How does the judge determine that?

Saying "we should ensure justice" is all well and good, but that's not going to come about with vague generalities.

Regards,
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  #65  
Old 09-06-2018, 08:35 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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Someone gets a bunch of speeding tickets and blows off their court dates. What should the system do about that?
This is poisoning the well.

Someone gets a bunch of speeding tickets and does not pay or appear at court. What should the system do? Here are a few ideas:

- Make the choice to go to court a choice that doesn't inherently punish people. Make traffic court convenient for people who work an hourly job or who care for children during the day.

- Make the charge for a ticket on a sliding scale so that the poor aren't more severely punished than the rich.

- If there are unpaid tickets, work with the Revenue Service of the State to garnish tax refunds or garnish wages to pay for the tickets, over time if need be.


Bottom line, this is a person who didn't pay a fine, not a person who is a danger to themselves or others, so let's just pump the brakes on issuing arrest warrants.

Last edited by Cheesesteak; 09-06-2018 at 08:36 AM. Reason: typo in quote
  #66  
Old 09-06-2018, 08:43 AM
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Bottom line, this is a person who didn't pay a fine, not a person who is a danger to themselves or others
Well, a person who speeds may be a danger to themselves and others. And I suspect that this is more likely to be true of someone who gets ticketed for speeding many times.
  #67  
Old 09-06-2018, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
I was only replying to your assertion that punishment should hurt. If you are now saying that punishment does not need to hurt, that it is based on severity of the offense, then that is different from what you said earlier.

So, the well off, to which a speeding ticket does not hurt, do not want to avoid the punishment enough to avoid the behavior, as it does not lead to punishment, while there are those who this punishment could quite literally ruin their lives.

The OP made a specific claim of a specific person in a specific article, that didn't have the "mitigating" factors of begin poor, so in this particular cherry picked instance, money and lack of ability to pay was not the problem.

The vast majority of the time, the money is the problem. You have to pay $200 fine, you don't have $200. It's not that you would need to sacrifice and not drink a latte every day for a month to save it up, it's not even that you'd have to dig deep, and start skipping lunch. It is simply money that you do not have. Then that becomes greater when you get penalties for not being able to pay it.

I suppose they could go to a check'n'go place, and become beholden to them for the rest of their lives.


Drug addiction is a very real health problem, and one thing that does not do anything to address or to help mental health problems is punishing people for them. Yes, in the ADHD thread, there is the claim that enough spanking will prevent ADHD. I suppose the same argument could be made that drug addiction can be cured if the punishment for it is severe enough, but I would doubt that as well.

So, we either actually work on treating the problem, or we keep punishing people for their health problems until they (the people, not the problems) go away.

On one end of the scale you have parking tickets ($15.00), on the other end of the spectrum you have capital murder ($1,000,000.00 for example)

Both ends of the spectrum, the extremely wealthy are going to have no problem dealing with. The it hurts thing isn't built to handle both ends, it is a median that is supposed to act as a deterrent to both ends but it cannot be equipped to handle both ends equally.
I'm open to suggestions that both act as a deterrent and perform the necessary function?
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  #68  
Old 09-06-2018, 08:58 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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Well, a person who speeds may be a danger to themselves and others. And I suspect that this is more likely to be true of someone who gets ticketed for speeding many times.
If a person has driven in an unsafe manner often enough to lose their license, it becomes a different tale.

However, I do NOT accept non-payment of a fine as a reason to lose one's license and be deemed a danger to other drivers.
  #69  
Old 09-06-2018, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
This is poisoning the well.

Someone gets a bunch of speeding tickets and does not pay or appear at court. What should the system do? Here are a few ideas:

- Make the choice to go to court a choice that doesn't inherently punish people. Make traffic court convenient for people who work an hourly job or who care for children during the day.

- Make the charge for a ticket on a sliding scale so that the poor aren't more severely punished than the rich.

- If there are unpaid tickets, work with the Revenue Service of the State to garnish tax refunds or garnish wages to pay for the tickets, over time if need be.


Bottom line, this is a person who didn't pay a fine, not a person who is a danger to themselves or others, so let's just pump the brakes on issuing arrest warrants.
See, and the reality of it is this : This person while maybe not a danger to others, cannot be trusted to show up to court, so we will keep them here until such date. I do like the sliding scale idea though

As to the court idea, the only people who need to go to court for a ticket are the people who feel like they got jobbed. 99.9% of the time you're paying the ticket.

Steve Jobs used to get a new mercedez every 6 months so he never had to go to the DMV for new plates ...
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Last edited by Kearsen; 09-06-2018 at 09:15 AM. Reason: Steve Jobs
  #70  
Old 09-06-2018, 09:19 AM
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manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
If the later, then recognizing that the justice system is supposed to ensure justice, not dole out punishment, should give you a hint as to what sorts of things should be done with people who have difficulties in managing their affairs. Which means that the solution will be different on a case by case basis. Fortunately it is in a system made for the purpose of deciding things on a case by case basis, so we are all good.
Sorry, but I don't want a hint. I want to know what you personally think should be done about a person who gets numerous speeding tickets and doesn't pay the fines.
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:20 AM
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This is poisoning the well.

Someone gets a bunch of speeding tickets and does not pay or appear at court. What should the system do? Here are a few ideas:

- Make the choice to go to court a choice that doesn't inherently punish people. Make traffic court convenient for people who work an hourly job or who care for children during the day.

- Make the charge for a ticket on a sliding scale so that the poor aren't more severely punished than the rich.

- If there are unpaid tickets, work with the Revenue Service of the State to garnish tax refunds or garnish wages to pay for the tickets, over time if need be.


Bottom line, this is a person who didn't pay a fine, not a person who is a danger to themselves or others, so let's just pump the brakes on issuing arrest warrants.
Nitpick- it's not someone who didn't pay a fine; it's someone who didn't show up to court, or pay the fine in lieu of showing up.

When someone gets a speeding/traffic ticket (parking tickets are typically civil), they are charged with an actual crime, albeit a misdemeanor.

At that point, you have the choice of doing one of two things- plead not guilty and show up for your criminal trial, or plead guilty/nolo contendere and accept the penalty, which is a fine.

The point is that you are essentially blowing off a criminal trial when you don't show up to court, or if you fail to pay. In that sense, it's very much the misdemeanor equivalent of skipping bail. And what you see when they issue warrants, jail people, and drag them into court is the state essentially saying that since they charged you with a crime, they're going to use their legitimate power to force you into court to answer for that crime.

The whole notion that you can plead and pay without showing up to court IS the convenient part in a broad sense.

I think the part that's missing here is the fact that these things are legally considered crimes, even if they're not serious ones.

So you're missing the point if you think someone's losing their license for not paying a fine. They're losing their license because they disregarded the criminal justice system, which is something entirely different.
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:30 AM
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There's a whole bunch of issues all getting jumbled up here.

a) The idea that speeding tickets shouldn't land you in jail, under any circumstances.

b) The concept of valid reasons to not pay, or attend court, for one ticket.

c) Set fines, and if they're an example of equality not being fairness.

d) Plus, accidental deaths in custody, and how they shouldn't happen.

Point d) Is bleedin' obvious, and has nothing much to do with a)-c). The conflation of a) and d) appears to be what the thread was intended to be about. No one should avoidably die in jail due to lack of care, that's not part of any punishment, procedures should be put in place to prevent that, rather than deciding the minuscule possibility of it happening should be used as a reason to not send people to jail. I don't want burglary or even murder suspects to die in jail because they had an untreated medical emergency either.

I personally disagree strongly with a) anyway; someone regularly driving in an unsafe way that is ignoring fines and penalties needs to be stopped. They may be doing so because they are mentally ill, but that does not change the fact that they could kill themselves or others, and the risk of that happening is significantly higher than the tiny odds of them having a medical emergency in jail that is not treated.

Ideally there should be another way to pick up that people shouldn't be on the road, but realistically it's not likely to happen perfectly. My own grandpa, when he got dementia, drove like an utter maniac; he could behave long enough to pass a re-test, but he was going far too fast with terrible reflexes the rest of the time. It was obvious he was going to cause an accident sooner or later, my parents wouldn't let him drive me anywhere and tried to get his license revoked, and it was only sheer luck that when it happened it was a solo crash and he survived it. Getting drivers like that off the road is in everyone's best interests, and if that requires arresting them because they're ignoring tickets, so be it. Where I live, get caught speeding 4 times in less than 3 years and you're likely to lose your license. If you're going crazy speeds, it's less than 4.

That said, it's not in anyone's best interest to tip those just this side of solvency over the edge because they once got caught going 5mph over the limit. There's a scale from reasonable error to aw, hell no, and while I don't mind the book being thrown at those who are actually an oblivious danger, the system should work with those who are making an attempt to work with it. That may mean allowing some kind of remote court attendance for minor offences, or reduced fines for those with low income (and larger fines for those with higher income), or dropping fines for community service for all, with flexible hours to make it possible for those with tenuous work/life situations to comply without meaning they lose a their job.
  #73  
Old 09-06-2018, 09:40 AM
Sparky812 Sparky812 is offline
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The analogy breaks down at that level, because "getting groceries" is not immoral nor illegal. Speeding, ignoring your court date, and abusing drugs, is both. So that factor affects it.

Regards,
Shodan
Errr.... abusing drugs is not immoral or illegal in itself, trafficking, possession, operating a vehicle while impaired, etc.. are.

However there is a similarity to compounding penalties for drug addicts who, for example, amass multiple possession charges, are unable to go to court, pay the fines, etc..

As for the OP, I'd say click-bait, TV news teasers and selling newspapers.

Last edited by Sparky812; 09-06-2018 at 09:43 AM.
  #74  
Old 09-06-2018, 10:58 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Using drugs may or may not be immoral - abusing them is, almost by definition. ISTM that becoming addicted to drugs to the point where you die while detoxing is abuse. If the woman in the OP went into withdrawal after being arrested, there is a good chance that she was driving under the influence. Maybe that was why she was speeding, and why she got so many speeding tickets. It may even have contributed to her failure to show up for her court dates.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:22 AM
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(Accidental post)

Last edited by etasyde; 09-06-2018 at 11:22 AM.
  #76  
Old 09-06-2018, 12:44 PM
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Here's an idea for fairness in the criminal justice system. Abolish monetary fines entirely and impose a system where all fines are replaced with hours of community service - one hour of service for every dollar in fines. For example...a $100.00 fine would become 100 hours of community service. While we're at it, put in a law requiring employers to give unpaid time off for their employees to do this community service, and to forbid discrimination / retaliation for such participation - the only exception being is if the employer was the victim of the crime in question.

Now, how would we pay for all this? Simple. One hundred hours of community service would cost $725.00 at minimum wage. Multiply that by a thousand people, and you're looking at $725,000.00 worth of free labor. That should free up enough money in other areas to pay for this system.

Equality is assured - when the rich d-bag caught speeding in his Aston-Martin wears the same county orange on the same chain gang picking up the same trash by the side of the same interstate as some poor good-old-boy caught speeding in his hooptie, they're gonna feel the same pain. No buying your way outta THAT one - the rich and the poor suffer the same, which is exactly how it should be.

Last edited by Mumberthax; 09-06-2018 at 12:45 PM.
  #77  
Old 09-06-2018, 01:10 PM
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manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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Originally Posted by Mumberthax View Post
Here's an idea for fairness in the criminal justice system. Abolish monetary fines entirely and impose a system where all fines are replaced with hours of community service - one hour of service for every dollar in fines. For example...a $100.00 fine would become 100 hours of community service. While we're at it, put in a law requiring employers to give unpaid time off for their employees to do this community service, and to forbid discrimination / retaliation for such participation - the only exception being is if the employer was the victim of the crime in question.

Now, how would we pay for all this? Simple. One hundred hours of community service would cost $725.00 at minimum wage. Multiply that by a thousand people, and you're looking at $725,000.00 worth of free labor. That should free up enough money in other areas to pay for this system.

Equality is assured - when the rich d-bag caught speeding in his Aston-Martin wears the same county orange on the same chain gang picking up the same trash by the side of the same interstate as some poor good-old-boy caught speeding in his hooptie, they're gonna feel the same pain. No buying your way outta THAT one - the rich and the poor suffer the same, which is exactly how it should be.
And when the person doesn't show up for their mandatory community service, what do you suggest be done?
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:23 PM
Mumberthax Mumberthax is offline
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And when the person doesn't show up for their mandatory community service, what do you suggest be done?
Haul their ass up in front of a judge, then let good old fashioned common sense decide the penalty.
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:29 PM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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Nitpick- it's not someone who didn't pay a fine; it's someone who didn't show up to court, or pay the fine in lieu of showing up.

When someone gets a speeding/traffic ticket (parking tickets are typically civil), they are charged with an actual crime, albeit a misdemeanor.
Should they be?

Should a simple speeding ticket, something that I'd estimate 95+% of drivers could legitimately be written up for every single time they operate their car, be a matter for our criminal justice system to deal with?

Understand, you get a big thumbs up from me for involving the police and courts when a driver is a specific danger to others, a proven reckless driver, no insurance, etc. But if this person is not a danger to other people, why would you charge them with a crime, or something that could become a crime if they aren't properly respectful of the system?
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:05 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Sorry, but I don't want a hint. I want to know what you personally think should be done about a person who gets numerous speeding tickets and doesn't pay the fines.
Those are two different issues. It only confuses because you insist on treating them as one.

Numerous speeding tickets, they should lose their license. If they get caught driving without their license, then they can have their car towed and impounded.

Doesn't pay fines, we should make sure that the fines are something that are affordable, even if uncomfortable, and if they can afford them, but refuse to pay, they should be taken care of through tax refund or wage garnishment.

What do you think should happen to someone who has a fine for going 4mph over the speed limit, was not able to take off work to make their court date and didn't have the $200 to pay? Should they be punished further? Does punishing them further get them more time off work or more money somehow?

I do judge a civilization by how many levels of coercion we have to ensure proper behavior of citizenry before we resort to violence. So, IMHO, every step we can put in between someone breaking a rule, and that someone having violence inflicted upon them in an attempt to get them to follow that rule, the better. We are way too quick to use violence to punish people for non-violent infractions.
  #81  
Old 09-07-2018, 07:01 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Numerous speeding tickets, they should lose their license. If they get caught driving without their license, then they can have their car towed and impounded.
Earlier you were talking about people who would have their lives ruined if they had to pay a $200 ticket. Now you want to take away their car. How are they going to get to work?

Regards,
Shodan
  #82  
Old 09-07-2018, 07:29 AM
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manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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I'm having trouble reconciling your statement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
What do you think should happen to someone who has a fine for going 4mph over the speed limit, was not able to take off work to make their court date and didn't have the $200 to pay? Should they be punished further? Does punishing them further get them more time off work or more money somehow?
with your statement:

Quote:
Numerous speeding tickets, they should lose their license. If they get caught driving without their license, then they can have their car towed and impounded.

Doesn't pay fines, we should make sure that the fines are something that are affordable, even if uncomfortable, and if they can afford them, but refuse to pay, they should be taken care of through tax refund or wage garnishment.
Isn't taking their car away a "punishment"? How can they pay through wage garnishment if they don't have a job? Even if they do, isn't that "punishment"?
  #83  
Old 09-07-2018, 07:30 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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Earlier you were talking about people who would have their lives ruined if they had to pay a $200 ticket. Now you want to take away their car. How are they going to get to work?
If they get their license taken away because they are a danger to other drivers, they can get to work the same way as the dangerous driver with a good job. That is, they can walk for all I care, it ain't my problem.

My beef is when it has more to do with writing a check or showing your face somewhere than endangering other drivers.
  #84  
Old 09-08-2018, 10:07 AM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Earlier you were talking about people who would have their lives ruined if they had to pay a $200 ticket. Now you want to take away their car. How are they going to get to work?
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
I'm having trouble reconciling your statement:

with your statement:

Isn't taking their car away a "punishment"? How can they pay through wage garnishment if they don't have a job? Even if they do, isn't that "punishment"?
Both of you seem to be confusing the need for public safety with your desire to punish people for violating the rules. These are two different things, only combined because the same agencies are tasked with both.

If a person has demonstrated that they are not able to operate a motor vehicle safely then for public safety, you take away their ability to operate a motor vehicle until they have demonstrated that they have learned to do so. That certainly can affect their life negatively, but it is the least harm necessary to impose in order to protect the public. I also advocate for a much more robust public transit system, specifically in order to prevent people from being in situations where they have no practical legal options for transportation.

If a person has demonstrated that they are not able to pay a fine, then giving them further fines serves what purpose in protecting public safety, exactly?

If someone keeps running with scissors, you take away their scissors, you don't break their ankles.

Now, I've answered a couple of times, with further clarifications, as to what I feel should be done about someone who continues to be a danger to the public with their unsafe driving. If you have follow up questions, I will be happy to address those, however, I do ask, one more time, what you think should be the appropriate consequence for someone that gets a ticket for 4mph over the limit, is unable to get time off work to challenge it in court, and cannot afford the fine? Should further punishment be meted out upon such a person?

Keep in mind, also, that poor people get pulled over more. When I have driven a beater car, cops would follow me, looking for an excuse to pull me over, and often times giving me very flimsy reasons when they did. When I've driven "respectable" cars, I had to be doing something pretty blatant to attract the attention of traffic enforcement.

So, follow up question, what should be done about a person who gets numerous speeding tickets for 2-3 mph over the limit, violations for "improper lane changes", and other petty stuff that they would let go for you? Would that change at all, if they were a part of a minority that has been shown to have been disproportionately targeted by law enforcement in that area?
  #85  
Old 09-08-2018, 11:00 AM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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There's a guy here who has been repeatedly jailed for refusing to wear clothes. Directly he is released from jail he strips off again, and is often rearrested in the jail parking lot. He will probably spend the rest of his life in jail, for refusing to interact with the justice system.
  #86  
Old 09-08-2018, 01:07 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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There's a guy here who has been repeatedly jailed for refusing to wear clothes. Directly he is released from jail he strips off again, and is often rearrested in the jail parking lot. He will probably spend the rest of his life in jail, for refusing to interact with the justice system.
Is throwing him in jail solving the problem?

Sounds like someone that needs help, not punishment.
  #87  
Old 09-10-2018, 09:52 AM
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manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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So, follow up question, what should be done about a person who gets numerous speeding tickets for 2-3 mph over the limit, violations for "improper lane changes", and other petty stuff that they would let go for you?
Well, according to you, they should lose their license. I agree with that.

Sucks for them. Good thing we are not punishing them with a fine though!

Last edited by manson1972; 09-10-2018 at 09:53 AM.
  #88  
Old 09-15-2018, 01:40 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Well, according to you, they should lose their license. I agree with that.

Sucks for them. Good thing we are not punishing them with a fine though!
No, according to me, someone who is posing a danger to the public should lose their license. That is different from someone who is overly targeted by police due to their demographics.
  #89  
Old 09-15-2018, 06:42 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Well, according to you, they should lose their license. I agree with that.

Sucks for them. Good thing we are not punishing them with a fine though!
Oh yeah, I was busy earlier, so I didn't get to it. That was a follow up question to the question that I asked a few times.

What do you think should be done with a person who gets one minor traffic ticket, but cannot afford the fine or the time off from work to contest it? Should they get additional fines and other sanctions, or should a way be worked out to make sure that this traffic ticket does not cuase them far more harm than it would cause to someone of more means?

I've been in situations where my food budget, the closest thing I have to discretionary money, is less than $100 a month. If I had to pay such a fine, that essentially means going 2 months without food. Is that an appropriate punishment?
  #90  
Old 09-16-2018, 03:40 PM
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That's my point- she wasn't jailed unfairly.
Are you making a positivist argument? As in, "The law is fair because it says so," or the like?

We do change laws sometimes, and hopefully because something outside the law gives us an idea what is or is not fair.
  #91  
Old 09-17-2018, 05:18 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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Is throwing him in jail solving the problem?

Sounds like someone that needs help, not punishment.
Psychiatrists have, apparently, concluded that he is sane, just ornery.
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Old 09-18-2018, 12:21 AM
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it sound like one side of the argument is that if being responsible when caught breaking the law is to inconvenient for the person we should let them go.
I still want to know what Cheesesteak thinks should happen if someone gets numerous tickets and refuses to pay them or go to court. Should we just let them go because they're poor?
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  #93  
Old 09-18-2018, 03:45 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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Two scenarios:
1) Driver, as a result of the types and severity of tickets, is deemed to be a danger to others. Regardless of whether the person pays the fine or goes to court, their license should be suspended and they should be denied the opportunity to drive. If someone, rich or poor, continues to drive, it is justification for arrest, and the criminal justice system can take over. Note that this result is unrelated to whether or not the ticket is paid, or if the person went to court, if you are a dangerous driver, you should not be driving.

2) Driver is not a danger to others, but simply has unpaid tickets. The state has the ability to take civil actions to retrieve the money, garnishment of wages and tax refunds, liens, etc. This can apply to the scenario above in addition to suspending the license, if that driver hasn't paid their fines.
  #94  
Old 09-18-2018, 06:58 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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What kind of traffic violations do not present a danger to others? Speeding? Failure to signal? Driving without insurance? Expired tags?
Quote:
The state has the ability to take civil actions to retrieve the money, garnishment of wages and tax refunds, liens, etc.
If they are unemployed, or working off the books?

Regards,
Shodan
  #95  
Old 09-18-2018, 07:36 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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What kind of traffic violations do not present a danger to others?
Driving 56 in a 55. Failure to signal. Expired tags.

I can drive to the supermarket and see a dozen drivers fail to signal, or fail to completely stop at a stop sign, or drive 5mph over the limit. All of which can be traffic violations, and none of which suggest those drivers should have their licences taken away.

To reverse it, I don't really care which violations fall into the 'dangerous' and 'not dangerous' categories, as long as every blessed driver, rich or poor, paid or unpaid, who commits the dangerous ones gets their licence revoked.


I'm also not that worried about folks who are in the direst of financial conditions being squeezed for every last penny they have to their names. Particularly not, if it means we have to use up valuable police and court resources to do it.
  #96  
Old 09-18-2018, 08:14 AM
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manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
I've been in situations where my food budget, the closest thing I have to discretionary money, is less than $100 a month. If I had to pay such a fine, that essentially means going 2 months without food. Is that an appropriate punishment?
And how would a $200 fine hurt you worse than losing your license?

I'm just not seeing it.
  #97  
Old 09-18-2018, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
Two scenarios:
1) Driver, as a result of the types and severity of tickets, is deemed to be a danger to others. Regardless of whether the person pays the fine or goes to court, their license should be suspended and they should be denied the opportunity to drive. If someone, rich or poor, continues to drive, it is justification for arrest, and the criminal justice system can take over. Note that this result is unrelated to whether or not the ticket is paid, or if the person went to court, if you are a dangerous driver, you should not be driving.

2) Driver is not a danger to others, but simply has unpaid tickets. The state has the ability to take civil actions to retrieve the money, garnishment of wages and tax refunds, liens, etc. This can apply to the scenario above in addition to suspending the license, if that driver hasn't paid their fines.
That's how it currently works; not every ticket is a misdemeanor. Stuff like parking fines are civil violations and fall under scenario 2 in most places.

The issue here is that the laws tend to view most moving violations as class C misdemeanors, which puts them on par with simple assault, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, minor theft, etc... I think the general feeling around here seems to be that they're not even that serious.

So let's look at it this way- if someone's charged with assault and fails to pay their fine or show up to court, and then gets a warrant issued for their arrest and gets hauled into jail, is that reasonable? What about if they're not able to pay their assault fine?
  #98  
Old 09-18-2018, 11:59 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
That's how it currently works; not every ticket is a misdemeanor. Stuff like parking fines are civil violations and fall under scenario 2 in most places.
People do occasionally get arrested for parking tickets, here's the first example I found.
Quote:

The issue here is that the laws tend to view most moving violations as class C misdemeanors, which puts them on par with simple assault, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, minor theft, etc... I think the general feeling around here seems to be that they're not even that serious.
Exactly, speeding is not assault, and it's not petty theft. It's something at least 95% of drivers do every single time they drive, if only momentarily. If their crime is simply not paying a bill, treat it that way, it's a debt to be paid. If they objectively put people around them in danger, more danger than the typical driver, then I'm very supportive of punching up the response.
  #99  
Old 09-18-2018, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
If their crime is simply not paying a bill, treat it that way, it's a debt to be paid.
And if they don't pay that debt, what should be done?
  #100  
Old 09-18-2018, 01:31 PM
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If their crime is simply not paying a bill, treat it that way, it's a debt to be paid. If they objectively put people around them in danger, more danger than the typical driver, then I'm very supportive of punching up the response.
You're missing the point- it's not just a bill to be paid- the bill itself is *the* penalty for the crime. By not paying or showing up to court to contest the charges, you're essentially saying you can't be bothered to be responsible for your actions one way or another, and that you don't care what the law says.

Now why something like a speeding ticket is a class C misdemeanor and not a civil penalty like a parking ticket I don't know. (that's ultimately what's at issue here)

But I do understand why the justice system reacts as they do to unpaid tickets when they're misdemeanor tickets.
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