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Mon May 27, 2019, 09:48 PM

When a Traffic Ticket Costs $13,000

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/opinion/drivers-license-suspension-fees.html

When a Traffic Ticket Costs $13,000
Suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid fees buries poor people in debt.
By Emily Reina Dindial and Ronald J. Lampard
May 27, 2019

For most people living in America, transportation is central to daily life. About 83 percent of Americans report that they regularly drive a car multiple times a week. Yet millions of drivers across the country have had their licenses suspended — taking away their ability to drive to work, school, the grocery store or the doctor — essentially because they are poor.

In 2014, Leah Jackson was ticketed for obstructing traffic in Ostego, Minn., after turning left at a red light. That kind of thing happens to many people. But, as Ms. Jackson explained to state lawmakers in 2018 testimony, she had just started a new job and hadn’t yet received a paycheck, so she couldn’t pay the $135 fine right away.

A few months later, she was pulled over, told her driver’s license was suspended for an unpaid ticket and cited for driving with a suspended license — a new $200 ticket. Her job responsibilities as a retail store manager required her to make bank runs and other deliveries, so she kept driving in order to keep her job. In less than a month, she received two more tickets for driving with a suspended license. After accounting for the additional tickets and the resulting increase in her monthly insurance premiums, her debt from the initial infraction spiraled into more than $13,000 over four and a half years.

The criminal justice system too often produces a self-perpetuating cycle, particularly for the poorest people, who can’t pay fines or hire lawyers to make charges go away. In 39 states, you can lose your driving privileges if you’re unable to pay a court fine or fee, for things as minor as a traffic violation. But a bipartisan effort is growing to end the fundamentally unjust practice of wealth-based suspensions.

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Reply When a Traffic Ticket Costs $13,000 (Original post)
dalton99a May 27 OP
SWBTATTReg May 27 #1
localroger May 27 #3
mnhtnbb May 27 #4
stopdiggin May 28 #11
SWBTATTReg May 28 #16
stopdiggin May 28 #20
SWBTATTReg May 28 #21
stopdiggin May 28 #23
SWBTATTReg May 28 #24
tazkcmo May 29 #28
UniteFightBack May 27 #5
PatrickforO May 28 #7
JI7 May 28 #10
Dorian Gray May 28 #12
SWBTATTReg May 28 #15
LanternWaste May 28 #18
SWBTATTReg May 28 #19
Dorian Gray May 29 #25
Hassin Bin Sober May 29 #27
Demovictory9 May 27 #2
AllaN01Bear May 27 #6
rocktivity May 28 #8
eggplant May 28 #9
MichMan May 29 #31
aikoaiko May 28 #13
WhiskeyGrinder May 28 #17
underpants May 29 #26
Jose Garcia May 30 #38
ecstatic May 28 #14
Dem_4_Life May 28 #22
Hassin Bin Sober May 29 #29
Captain Stern May 29 #30
Vinca May 29 #32
hunter May 29 #35
Vinca May 29 #36
hunter May 29 #37
Ilsa May 30 #40
Jose Garcia May 29 #33
hunter May 29 #34
Ilsa May 30 #39
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jun 5 #41

Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2019, 09:52 PM

1. Just curious ... why not use Uber or the like instead of driving on a suspended license, etc., ...

incurring more possible liability if no insurance, etc.? Is Uber etc. not available perhaps in these areas? Or, is perhaps Uber too expensive, etc.?

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #1)

Mon May 27, 2019, 10:10 PM

3. Uber was pretty much not available anywhere in 2014. /nt

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Response to localroger (Reply #3)

Mon May 27, 2019, 10:59 PM

4. Uber was started in San Francisco in 2009.

My son used Uber in Paris in 2014.

It may not have been available everywhere in the US in 2014, but I don't think it's true to say it was unavailable almost anywhere 5 years after it was started.

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Response to mnhtnbb (Reply #4)

Tue May 28, 2019, 01:17 AM

11. lots of places

But the fact is, Uber was still not available in a LOT of places 5 years ago. And .. isn"t it a little tone deaf to be suggesting Uber to the economically disadvantaged? The OP was about an individual losing her drivers license due to unpaid traffic ticket. I don't think daily Uber use is probably within means here.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #11)

Tue May 28, 2019, 02:17 PM

16. Why don't you pull your claws in before you accuse someone of being tone deaf...I

didn't know how much Uber cost and in fact did ask this in my orig. Posting.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #16)

Tue May 28, 2019, 02:36 PM

20. you're right

Apologies. Perhaps that was a little intemperate. And, yes, I see that you did reference cost in your post. But .. my post was actually in response to another (not yours). And, as you'll note, there was more than one reference to Uber in much the same vein as you read down the string. So the "Uber" query triggered more than just one response.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #20)

Tue May 28, 2019, 02:55 PM

21. An unfortunate situation for this poor lady overall. In MO, they have a law that limits the...

amount of 'take' that local communities can get from their tickets (some cities were getting huge and excessive amounts from their tickets, grossly unfair and obscene). Some smaller cities in the outskirts of STLMO were generating huge amounts from their tickets and people were complaining, which led to the state passing such ordinances (that a city can obtain only XX amount from ticket writing). In summary, I hope that perhaps exposure of this practice in MN eventually helps this poor woman driver (and of course others in this same boat). Absolutely disgusting. Take care.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #21)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:43 PM

23. Ferguson

Yes. I'm aware of Ferguson .. and the spotlight it shown on the "money mills." And, you're right, it is/was disgusting. And had been disgusting for a long, long time. And, as I point out to my friends, unfortunately nobody really gave a good G-damn about the poor people caught up into it .. until they started rioting, trashing stores, blocking roads, and the TV cameras and the national news eventual showed up. And then we all ask, "Why do they act like that ..?"

MO has recently done some good things. I hope it helps. Unfortunately .. I see a bit of a conundrum in the issue as well. If people are just allowed to dodge penalties, fines and judgments (forgiven, put in abeyance, or ignored) .. what does that do to our civil society? Can I completely disregard all traffic laws .. in fact drive without a license at all .. due to the fact that I am low on the wage scale? What is parking going to look like in your town, without the enforcement garnered by parking tickets? How about other court fines, and laws that they apply to? Can I just pile my trash up out in the street, or in front of my neighbor's door now? Aren't we more or less inviting (actually engineering) a scofflaw civil order. Or, at the very least, a layer of society that pays even less attention, showing even less regard, to laws and regulation than the minimum that they pay notice now?

While having all the sympathy in the world for the working poor (and in fact the poor in general) .. they DO have to obey the same laws as all the rest of us. I think we need to think this through a little bit.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #23)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:47 PM

24. I haven't seen anything like this (civil ignorance of other laws) in this area. It is something...

that I'm sure that the powers that be in Ferguson and other areas are closely paying attention to.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #23)

Wed May 29, 2019, 06:21 AM

28. " If people are just allowed to dodge penalties, fines and judgments..."

You just stated the main reason for impeachment! Oh wait, laws are for Little People. My bad.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #1)

Mon May 27, 2019, 11:33 PM

5. I'm not even going to say what I want to say I'm just going to leave this thread alone. nt

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #1)

Tue May 28, 2019, 12:01 AM

7. Uber?

For your job? As a retail store manager? Every day?

That would get real expensive fast.

I think the point of this post was that the victim was grossly overcharged with fines.

Seriously, God help you if the 'justice system' gets its claws in you.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #1)

Tue May 28, 2019, 12:54 AM

10. her job involved driving. if she was going to use uber or similar for it then she might end up payin

more for transportation than the money she makes.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #1)

Tue May 28, 2019, 06:12 AM

12. Because using Uber multiple times a day

would incur costs, just as the traffic tickets did. She didn't have the money to pay.

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Response to Dorian Gray (Reply #12)

Tue May 28, 2019, 02:14 PM

15. $13000 worth for Uber, as well as the loss of priviledge? I didn't realize Uber is that expensive..

as one or two of the posters in this trend seemed to mock me. I haven't used Uber so don't knock me, I didn't realize it was so expensive. I seemed to hear that Uber is everywhere and that it's the wonder drug of the world according to some of my friends.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #15)

Tue May 28, 2019, 02:24 PM

18. I s'pose when we rely on "wonder drug" as the basis of our argument, we go downhill fast.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #18)

Tue May 28, 2019, 02:35 PM

19. In some states, one can get a hardship license, which is strictly to/from work/home. Also, I...

kind of wonder where are the others in her same predicament, I can't believe she's the only one. I would think that this wouldn't be allowed to proceed as far as it has. In STLMO, they even have an program that if you can't pay, they setup a payment plan while also stopping any outstanding warrant issues, etc. I guess in MN, they don't have such programs. Perhaps these types of plans are only in big urban cities like STLMO, large number of urban poor, unable to afford pricey tickets, etc. (also don't have insurance, etc.). This kept the city's jail population down (reducing the non violent offenders from jail). The city did this too for small amounts of pot found on ones' person too.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #15)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:48 AM

25. She couldn't afford to pay the original ticket of $150.00

The price of Uber depends on where you are going and how long you will be in the car. If I take Uber x (the cheaper non car pooling version) in NYC from my home to my daughter's school, which is 2 miles away, it costs about $9.00 each way. That would be $18.00 a day. $4,680 a year (if I took the uber 2 times a day for 260 days a year. I didn't include weekends and took out a few extra days for good measure.) She also had to run deliveries as a part of her job. So jumping into an uber one more time a day... at $9.00 per trip (which is a very lowball amount), would up that to $6,900 per year.

If the amount is any higher, which it probably would be in suburbia where there aren't as many cars or as many uber x vs. uber black options, you're looking at potentially $20 - $30 per ride. Or more. (Some people drive an hour to work each way, or more) In NYC to go from our home to the Upper East Side (where my husband works) would be about $30 each way in an uber X. Twice a day, that would be $15,600 per year. Add deliveries throughout the day via uber, and you're looking at over $20,000 per year.



In NYC, we have the luxury of the subway, of course. So that is completely unnecessary. But "Just taking a taxi" or "just taking an uber" isn't an option for people who are struggling financially.

It's a tone-deaf suggestion.

I'm sorry people are making fun of you for it. That's not cool. But uber isn't a good answer for someone who is struggling financially, as the woman in the OP was. And in three years, she could spend a ton of money on rides.


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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #1)

Wed May 29, 2019, 06:13 AM

27. Absolutely! What can't the poor just set up their uber account with their Visa Platinum?

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2019, 10:07 PM

2. k&r

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2019, 11:57 PM

6. after my bad experiance with uber , i will never use either uber or lift ever again .

on edit, where i lived before i moved here , the cops would pull over a teenager for a "fixit ticket . take it to the judge and have it noloed and fixed . same kid would be pulled over and over and over for same offense ... and people wonder why i dont drive .

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 12:06 AM

8. Unless she was PAID monthly

why couldn't she get the $135 together within a few months?


rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #8)

Tue May 28, 2019, 12:44 AM

9. I'm guessing because she is poor and money is tight.

The problem is a system that punishes those people who are living paycheck to paycheck.

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #8)

Wed May 29, 2019, 07:11 AM

31. Probably intended to pay it but kept putting it off until next week etc

Likely because she had been putting it off for a few months and was feeling it would be OK to keep putting it off a little longer. Perhaps she was planning on paying it "next week" but kept postponing.

She had plenty of opportunity in several months to pay off the original fine. Once she got the 2nd fine however, to continue doing it again and again shows a certain amount of recklessness. It turned out to be a very foolish and expensive mistake.

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 06:49 AM

13. This is not a good result for minor traffic violations.



But this person must be a terrible driver to pulled over so much.

Left in red? Who does that?

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #13)

Tue May 28, 2019, 02:18 PM

17. People are pulled over all the time for non-moving violations.

And sometimes, just for the heck of it.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #13)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:51 AM

26. In Virginia you can take a left on red

I'm sure other states too

That's if you are on a one way street turning onto a one way street.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #13)

Thu May 30, 2019, 07:04 AM

38. Not everyone is cut out for driving

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 07:59 AM

14. It sucks that she was pulled over so many times.

I wish there were more federal laws to protect citizens from that type of over-policing/over-ticketing/fines. I almost always keep up with the flow of traffic, which is usually well above the speed limit, but I haven't been pulled over in close to 15 years (knock on wood). My county doesn't rely on traffic tickets to fund our cities (knock on wood).

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:12 PM

22. I have a friend going through a similar thing

He is lucky that he works for himself but he still needs to get places and currently cannot drive since he doesn't want to take the risk of getting arrested since driving with an expired license is an arrestable offence in Texas. So he does take Uber/Lyft along with using friends/family although this is a huge burden and has even cost him jobs that he cannot take because of transportation issues.

This all comes from an OLD ticket that was suppose to have been dismissed but there was an issue with this small town. This original ticket was total BS and he should have never got a ticket in the first place. He was already promised a new trial by the judge and is currently waiting on when that will be scheduled (which he has been waiting months). It is the small towns like this that count on making people lives a living hell to just plead guilty to something that they didn't do just to make money.

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Response to Dem_4_Life (Reply #22)

Wed May 29, 2019, 06:28 AM

29. I had a guy working for me a few years ago who got caught driving suspended.

The city of Chicago has a $1300 dollar “admin fee” for driving on a suspended license. His license was suspended for parking tickets.

The new game in Chicago is everything is now a “municipal violation” versus a state violation. That way the city gets to keep all the revenue

(He wasn’t driving one of my vehicles so I had no reason to run his record)

The shit this guy and his family went through was really eye opening for me. The city takes the car and sells it at auction for pennies on the dollar regardless of any lien you may owe to a bank.





How Chicago Ticket Debt Sends Black Motorists Into Bankruptcy
A cash-strapped city employs punitive measures to collect from cash-strapped residents — and lawyers benefit.



https://features.propublica.org/driven-into-debt/chicago-ticket-debt-bankruptcy/


In 2007, an estimated 1,000 Chapter 13 bankruptcies included debts to the city, usually for unpaid tickets, with the median amount claimed around $1,500 per case. By last year, the number of cases surpassed 10,000, with the typical debt to the city around $3,900. Though the numbers of tickets issued did not rise during that time, the city increased the costs of fines, expanded its traffic camera program and sought more license suspensions.
The result: more debt due to tickets.
Legal experts say what’s happening in Chicago’s bankruptcy courts is unique. Parking, traffic and vehicle compliance tickets prompt so many bankruptcies the court here leads the nation in Chapter 13 filings.
It’s a problem fueled both by the city’s increasingly aggressive ticketing to boost revenue — tickets brought in nearly $264 million in 2016, or about 7 percent of the city’s $3.6 billion operating budget — and a handful of law firms that pitch bankruptcy protection as a cheap solution to drivers’ woes.

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 07:11 AM

30. It sounds like she didn't put a lot of effort into taking care of the original ticket initially.

Unless things work differently in Minnesota, you can have your case continued to give you more time to deal with it.

However, the problem here is that they are suspending people's driver's licenses for nonpayment, after just a few months. That causes a cascading effect of more tickets and higher insurance premiums.

I don't have a problem with licenses getting suspended for major infractions, but nonpayment on ticket received for a minor traffic violation isn't a good idea. It would make more sense to attach a late fee, and submit the item to a collection agency.

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 07:20 AM

32. If she hadn't turned left on a red light, the entire sequence of events wouldn't have happened.

While I sympathize with her inability to pay the initial fine, laws apply to people with money and people without money. If a child had been crossing the street and was hit by her car when she made the illegal turn, the sad story would have taken a totally different turn.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #32)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:55 PM

35. Oh bother. The first fine is nothing to an affluent person...

... but impossible for someone living close to the edge.

That's not justice.

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Response to hunter (Reply #35)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:59 PM

36. There would be no fine if there hadn't been an illegal and dangerous left turn.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #36)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:20 PM

37. Um...

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Response to Vinca (Reply #32)

Thu May 30, 2019, 07:40 AM

40. That's true, but do we even know if there

was a protected left turn available at that intersection? If traffic is heavy, sometimes the only way to get the turn is to pull into the intersection and wait for the yellow and red lights to stop oncoming traffic. I wonder if the cars before and after her did the same thing. I wonder if there was a long line of cars trying to make the turn.

For all we know, the police officer could have given her a warning and then reported the intersection as one that needs a change in the traffic light system to provide for safer left turns.

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:03 PM

33. Most judges will let you do a payment plan if

you actually show up to court.

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:50 PM

34. In some nations traffic fines are proportional to income.

Finland’s system for calculating fines is relatively simple: It starts with an estimate of the amount of spending money a Finn has for one day, and then divides that by two—the resulting number is considered a reasonable amount of spending money to deprive the offender of. Then, based on the severity of the crime, the system has rules for how many days the offender must go without that money. Going about 15 mph over the speed limit gets you a multiplier of 12 days, and going 25 mph over carries a 22-day multiplier.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/03/finland-home-of-the-103000-speeding-ticket/387484/



Ms. Jackson might have paid a fine of a few dollars.

Wealthy people have paid fines over $100,000.

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Response to hunter (Reply #34)

Thu May 30, 2019, 07:32 AM

39. I've heard of this and was

About to search for it and post it. Thanks for beating me to it. I like the idea.

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 01:08 PM

41. In many places court is a 9 to 5 deal

In some cases, missing a half day may get you fired.

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