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(MassLive)   Fewer people are contesting traffic tickets since Massachusetts started charging a fee to plead not guilty   (masslive.com) divider line 123
    More: Obvious, Massachusetts, Registry of Motor Vehicles, Supreme Judicial Court, small claims court, fees, Insurance Board of Appeals, trial courts  
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8262 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Jun 2012 at 10:03 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-24 11:05:42 AM  

AliceBToklasLives: GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

Look, if you can't afford the $75 it takes to appeal a ticket, you haven't earned the right to use the court system. Get a job and maybe you can get an appeal.

Why should taxpayers who don't even use the court system have to pay for it? If a private company was doing that we'd call it theft.


I know you're trolling, but that's actually a fantastic argument. In the civil court world, the party who brings the action has to pay court costs and fees, and only has the opportunity to recover them if they win. Since the party bringing the action in criminal cases is the state, it only makes sense that they'd be on the hook unless they can prove their case. There's precedent, it's logical, it's symmetrical with civil cases... basically everything but "profitable" which is all traffic court is really ever meant to be.
 
2012-06-24 11:07:30 AM  

RembrandtQEinstein: This will prevent the corruption that is inevitable if law enforcement is preformed for profit.


Yeah and who in law enforcement is going to get behind this?
 
2012-06-24 11:10:33 AM  

foxyshadis: GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?

I think there's more overlap between Tea Party and Sovereign Citizens than you realize.

The court costs bullshiat is about a 40/60 split for various states. The East and Midwest love screwing everyone, the South and West not so much.


A co-worker found the court costs here are $160. Again, no idea if that is normal or not.
 
2012-06-24 11:11:25 AM  
Hey, if you wanted to be able to plead not guilty, you should have been born to wealthier parents. What makes you think you deserved to be treated as equal under the law, peon?
 
2012-06-24 11:13:12 AM  

Abox: csb: When I lived in Austin TX, I got a ticket I thought was unjust and I took it to court. They dismissed immediately on 'lack of evidence'. Next ticket I got, same result...dismissed on lack of evidence. I got a lot of tickets for whatever reason...speed traps, I suck, who knows. But I took every one to court - probably a dozen in the 12 years I lived there - and every one was dismissed without a fight on lack of evidence. In fact, all the other people in the courtrooms with me got their speeding tickets dismissed as well. I don't know if it still works like that down there but it was fun while it lasted. My coworkers were always amused with the collection of tickets and dismissals that I kept tacked to my cube.


I got 4 tickets at once in Miami. (Don't ask). All 4 dismissed, as was everyone else's in the court that day.
 
2012-06-24 11:14:06 AM  

Snarfangel: Honest Bender: machoprogrammer: And seriously, how is this not unconstitutional?

What constitutional right would this violate? Have you actually read the constitution?

I'm going with Eighth Amendment. Innocent people should not be fined, so charging any fine at all to an innocent person is by definition excessive.


I was thinking along these lines too. I don't delude myself by thinking that Mass. and of course the other states that do this don't have their asses covered with legal language.

But... it seems to me that we also have a fundamental right to due process as presented in the Fifth. You have the right to a trial by jury(or otherwise... at least a review); a right to face your accuser. You shouldn't have to pay for these rights.

Consider this. At one point, some states charged fees to vote. Is this much different? They both adversely affect the poor. They both charged a fee to exercise a fundamental human and/or Constitutional right.

Is it possible to also compare it to a bill of attainder? "A bill of attainder was a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them, without benefit of trial. Such actions were regarded as odious by the framers of the Constitution because it was the traditional role of a court, judging an individual case, to impose punishment." William Rehnquist

In this case it singles out the accused. Not the guilty... merely the accused, which comprise also the innocent. A state shouldn't have the ability to punish the innocent.

Prolly not. As I said, I'm sure that... Mass, and the other states that do this, have their butts covered.

I guess I look at the Constitution and think about what it should mean. I guess that's why I'm not in charge, among other things.

And I'm sure the Fark Constitutional Scholars will be along shortly to shred me on minutiae and case law.

/my "h" key isn't working very well... so if I appear to be speaking in "Dick Van Dyke Cockney" or pseudo Irish... please forgive.
//Damn... zamboni must've started on the vodak early.
 
2012-06-24 11:15:22 AM  
born_yesterday:doesn't that mean a law enforcement officer can guarantee revenue just by issuing a citation

Not really. The ticket revenue goes to the cop's town, but the $25 fee goes to the state. For the cop it is much better if you don't contest it.

leading to a cost/benefit analysis of whether to pay the ticket outright?

If the ticket is a points-on-license violation, then it is *always* better to contest it. A $25 fee to try to avoid a $1000 increase in your insurance rates? Easy decision.

If it is just a parking ticket, or other non-points violation, then yeah, just pay it.
 
2012-06-24 11:17:09 AM  

enry: TheZorker: GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?

Just asking, but isn't it called Taxachusetes for a reason?

Doesn't it have one of the Highest tax systems in the nation?

As an honorary Masshole from NYS, no.

Sales and income taxes are way lower, property taxes are lower, and no school tax.


Income Tax rates

Mass: Highest Flat* State Income Tax

(Granulated tax rates may be higher - 21 states have % rates lower then Mass regardless of bracket, including the other flat/no income tax states)

Sales Taxes

36 states have lower - 2 are the same as the 6.25%

...I'm sorry. What were you saying?
 
2012-06-24 11:21:33 AM  

italie: Gunderson: And if every citizen turned around and told the state "F-U. We're not going to pay any tickets.", what would they do?

Build more prisons and call it "Job creation", probably getting a lot of them re-elected...


I know your reply was tongue-in-cheek, but what is happening around here is that alot of drivers either can't afford all the BS driving fees, tickets, insurance or are not driving legally to begin with. So, rather than pay the tickets, they let their licenses get suspended and don't give a crap. The jails are already too full and prohibitive costly to operate and because of NIMBY, no more are being built, so basically the argument is:

If you put someone in jail for traffic violations, who are you going to let out to make room for him?
The rapist? The drug dealer? or the gang banger?

So in summary, the net result of excessive fees/costs associated with driving is that the fees make driving more dangerous, not safer, as more drivers either disregard the law for financial reasons, and are more like to flee a traffic stop knowing they will be arrested if they pull over
 
2012-06-24 11:23:52 AM  
I received a $300 ticket for a stop sign in Chelsea, cost me $25 to appeal, I had to wait about a year to get a court date, take a day off of work, and explain (with a map) that police cant see through trees. I hate chelsea, I hate mass...All these fees are just another tax to the citizens for the failed forced healthcare and failed big dig....where the dems just dumped money on worthless and over priced unions...
 
2012-06-24 11:25:04 AM  

tarhammer: born_yesterday: St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

This would mean the end of prison stuffing, rounding up the 'usual suspects', about 95% of the big time horseshiat in the judicial system, and it'd be a lot cheaper after the first round of DA's gets fired for costing more than they brought in.


www.filmreference.com

Does not agree
/hot, like bergman
 
2012-06-24 11:37:25 AM  
I'm constantly amazed how otherwise intelligent people continually fail to understand basic economics.

1. Whenever your tax (fee) something, you get less of it.

Taxing appeals means less appeals.
 
2012-06-24 11:37:44 AM  

midnite_farker: /hot, like bergman


Damn straight. Between her and Rita Hayworth, the forties weren't so bad. WWII included.
 
2012-06-24 11:42:52 AM  

skylabdown: I'm constantly amazed how otherwise intelligent people continually fail to understand basic economics.

1. Whenever your tax (fee) something, you get less of it.

Taxing appeals means less appeals.


Personally, I'm constantly amazed how otherwise intelligent people fail to understand basic proofreading.

/I'm so sorry... I couldn't help it.
 
2012-06-24 11:44:36 AM  

Gunderson: And if every citizen turned around and told the state "F-U. We're not going to pay any tickets.", what would they do?


I don't believe it would require every citizen, though it might require quite a few.

Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked, "Henry, what are you doing in there?"

Thoreau replied, "Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?"


But I agree with you entirely. I see this as a failure of citizens who can pay, to refuse to pay, and thus avoid their civil duty to protest.

But I also don't understand, given the numbers of lawyers, law students, and politicians, why this seems unopposed by lawyers, law students, and politicians that might a) see opposing this as the right thing to do, or b) see opposing this as a way to get great publicity.

(I was similarly surprised that so few lawyers took any real steps towards opposing John Yoo, even after reading countless lawyers writing in opposition to him in newspapers, online, on blogs...)
 
2012-06-24 11:48:18 AM  
I always love the subtext in traffic ticket threads that people just shouldn't have to pay them - that, guilty or not, somehow there should be no penalty. Sure, you knowingly did 70 in a 45 zone, but... somehow... that doesn't count. Now, this particular issue seems stupid and ripe for abuse, sure. But sometimes the "how dare you ticket me!" stuff starts to get as nasty as "bad man hurt dog" lunacy.
 
2012-06-24 11:50:05 AM  
But, there is so much more wool shorn of sheeple this way.

The disconnect between the butthurt orderlies and the "people" has reached critical mass.
Teach your children well and buy ammo.

Laws are supposed to be by the people, not a few nuts. And we are long overdue for housecleaning.
Step up, grab your balls and make your government afraid, very afraid!
The system is there, you just have to put down the remote control and kick some ass, your own.
 
2012-06-24 11:57:38 AM  

skylabdown: I'm constantly amazed how otherwise intelligent people continually fail to understand basic economics.

1. Whenever your tax (fee) something, you get less of it.

Taxing appeals means less appeals.


So we tax income to keep those incomes down eh?

I actually agree.
 
2012-06-24 12:03:29 PM  

St_Francis_P: It's just the natural transition from "You have nothing to worry about if you're innocent" to "You have nothing to worry about if you can always avoid the police".


In Texas it's more "You have nothing to worry about if you're white and upright."
 
2012-06-24 12:11:39 PM  

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


Yes, because wanting to quell the government's reach into our pockets somehow means we want them to charge as a "fee" (tax) for a constitutional right that we have to plead not guilty of a crime and face our accusers.

Either you're a troll or the biggest liberal douchebag i've seen in weeks. Grow up.
 
2012-06-24 12:15:46 PM  

macadamnut: Aar1012: Whenever I would hear about the sales tax of Mass, I would shake my head since I knew that the 6.25% sales tax was NOTHING compared to my home state of Ohio. Ohio's state rate is 5.5% but the counties can add on to it. I'm surprised that Mass hasn't caught onto that.

Doesn't Boston do this?


No, I'm still paying 6.25%. Of course, I'm also paying an extra ~1% in income taxes, which'll come out to about $200 out of pocket.

/Michigan resident "visiting" MA for the summer.
//Get to do my taxes 4 times this year instead of twice like last year, just to see if there are any weird subsidies that'll make up the ~1% difference between MI and MA income tax rates, and to see if the 1040 gives better discounts than the 1040EZ.
 
2012-06-24 12:26:55 PM  

Fade2black: Either you're a troll or the biggest liberal douchebag i've seen in weeks.


A lot of people are mislabeled as "trolls", which suggest that their expressions are voluntary and intentional.

The behavior is more like how a single-cell organism responds to stimulus.
 
2012-06-24 12:37:32 PM  
Am I reading this right? If you get a ticket and want to contest it, you have to pay $25 to get it in front of a judge? How does that not violate the sixth amendment right to a trial? If having to pay to vote is unconstitutional, how can poll trials be legal?
 
2012-06-24 12:38:11 PM  

Gunderson: And if every citizen turned around and told the state "F-U. We're not going to pay any tickets.", what would they do?


They would hunt us down one by one. Remember the full force of the state emanates from the point of a gun.
 
2012-06-24 12:39:41 PM  

Karac: How does that not violate the sixth amendment right to a trial?


Criminal vs. Civil?
 
2012-06-24 12:43:48 PM  
Not to turn this into a political thing, but why is it that democrat states are taxed to death and often broke off their ass (looking in your general direction California), yet people look at republicans like they are the crooks?
 
2012-06-24 12:44:14 PM  

Snarfangel: Honest Bender: machoprogrammer: And seriously, how is this not unconstitutional?

What constitutional right would this violate? Have you actually read the constitution?

I'm going with Eighth Amendment. Innocent people should not be fined, so charging any fine at all to an innocent person is by definition excessive.


I thought the First. "Petition the Government for a redress of grievances" and all that.
 
2012-06-24 12:44:18 PM  

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


I know, right? If we all just paid more taxes, then government would get smaller and stay out of our business and we'd have more freedom.
 
2012-06-24 12:48:17 PM  
The solution is simple. Stay the fark out of Massachusetts. If you're already there, get the fark out of Massachusetts.
 
2012-06-24 12:50:18 PM  

Dired: I always love the subtext in traffic ticket threads that people just shouldn't have to pay them - that, guilty or not, somehow there should be no penalty. Sure, you knowingly did 70 in a 45 zone, but... somehow... that doesn't count. Now, this particular issue seems stupid and ripe for abuse, sure. But sometimes the "how dare you ticket me!" stuff starts to get as nasty as "bad man hurt dog" lunacy.


Actually, I think in this case, the complaint is, if not guilty, one still has to pay. It is not "how dare you ticket me!" rather, how dare you charge me for something I am found not guilty of.
 
2012-06-24 12:57:34 PM  

JMel: Not to turn this into a political thing, but why is it that democrat states are taxed to death and often broke off their ass (looking in your general direction California), yet people look at republicans like they are the crooks?


Now you're getting the hang of it. This is what happens when you encourage people to depend more on the state then themselves. See also: NY.
 
2012-06-24 12:57:42 PM  

GAT_00: So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


When I lived in MD, it wasn't. I got pulled over, and issued over $1000 in tickets once, and all it cost me was an hour and a half of my time. Speeding, reckless, illegal lane change, etc. Court date was the day before Thanksgiving. I showed up, the trooper didn't. NOT GUILTY, your Honor. Thanks have a nice day.
 
2012-06-24 01:15:17 PM  
sucks to live there
 
2012-06-24 01:31:25 PM  

Aar1012: enry: Sales and income taxes are way lower,

When I moved to New Hampshire, I did a stint in retail. I worked at the front so I dealt with returns and questions. New Hampshire has no sales tax and I worked on the border between NH and Mass. I would love hearing the Mass residents either

1. Talking about how they're here to avoid the sales tax
2. Complaining about how we didn't have something because they drove from *Insert town that passes three different stores that has the product in stock* because they wanted to save on sales tax
3. Bought an item in Mass and wanted to return it and rebuy it to get their tax money back. (I always enjoyed telling them 'no' and seeing the look on their face when I said, point blank, that it was tax fraud

Whenever I would hear about the sales tax of Mass, I would shake my head since I knew that the 6.25% sales tax was NOTHING compared to my home state of Ohio. Ohio's state rate is 5.5% but the counties can add on to it. I'm surprised that Mass hasn't caught onto that.


There are no county governments in Massachusetts, counties only exist as administrative districts.
 
2012-06-24 01:39:10 PM  

JMel: looking in your general direction California


Two things to consider:
1. California has more residents than any other state. That means there's more cost associated with governing our state. Primarily with welfare services.
2. We pay out more in Federal taxes than we get back.
 
2012-06-24 01:40:20 PM  

TheZorker: enry: TheZorker: GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?

Just asking, but isn't it called Taxachusetes for a reason?

Doesn't it have one of the Highest tax systems in the nation?

As an honorary Masshole from NYS, no.

Sales and income taxes are way lower, property taxes are lower, and no school tax.

Income Tax rates

Mass: Highest Flat* State Income Tax

(Granulated tax rates may be higher - 21 states have % rates lower then Mass regardless of bracket, including the other flat/no income tax states)

Sales Taxes

36 states have lower - 2 are the same as the 6.25%

...I'm sorry. What were you saying?


The total tax liability for a Massachusetts resident is actually rather low. No city or county income/sales taxes, no taxes on clothes or groceries, no county taxes at all. Property, income, sales, and meals taxes are pretty much it and only the property taxes and a very small meals tax (.25%) are local.
 
2012-06-24 02:06:00 PM  

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


In California the court costs are included as a part of the citation, regardless of whether you go to court. This is how, once you add the various fees and penalty assessments, we get from a $35 ticket (for, say, speeding 1-15 over) to a $230 ticket. Want to go to traffic school? That's another $60 processing fee.
 
2012-06-24 02:09:57 PM  

Aar1012: enry: Sales and income taxes are way lower,

When I moved to New Hampshire, I did a stint in retail. I worked at the front so I dealt with returns and questions. New Hampshire has no sales tax and I worked on the border between NH and Mass. I would love hearing the Mass residents either

1. Talking about how they're here to avoid the sales tax
2. Complaining about how we didn't have something because they drove from *Insert town that passes three different stores that has the product in stock* because they wanted to save on sales tax
3. Bought an item in Mass and wanted to return it and rebuy it to get their tax money back. (I always enjoyed telling them 'no' and seeing the look on their face when I said, point blank, that it was tax fraud

Whenever I would hear about the sales tax of Mass, I would shake my head since I knew that the 6.25% sales tax was NOTHING compared to my home state of Ohio. Ohio's state rate is 5.5% but the counties can add on to it. I'm surprised that Mass hasn't caught onto that.


California is like that and there are places where state tax+local tax is over 10%.
 
2012-06-24 02:21:33 PM  
last ticket i got was for illegal parking - and i was in my driveway. i contested it and won, then had to pay 3/4 of the original fine as "cost of court".

/not far from Action Park
 
2012-06-24 02:26:18 PM  
This is basically the case anyway -- if you want to contest a ticket, you have to take a day off work and go down to the courthouse to argue with a judge who has no incentive not to take your money. That's why so few courts have "off-business" hours -- to make simply going along and paying up the easiest course of action. It's just a revenue stream in disguise.

/liberal
//not anti-tax
 
2012-06-24 02:31:17 PM  

Honest Bender: What constitutional right would this violate? Have you actually read the constitution?


I'm going with "No person shall be [...] deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;" imposing court fees on a guilty verdict or even a plea of no contest is one thing, but if a person pleads not guilty and isn't convicted, I don't see how the fark this possibly passed the laugh test.
 
2012-06-24 02:49:48 PM  

Honest Bender: JMel: looking in your general direction California

Two things to consider:
1. California has more residents than any other state. That means there's more cost associated with governing our state. Primarily with welfare services.
2. We pay out more in Federal taxes than we get back.


Texas has the 2nd highest population, New York 3rd.

CA = democrats = high taxes
TX = republicans = low taxes
NY = democrats = high taxes

This is unscientific of course.
 
2012-06-24 03:03:42 PM  

Honest Bender: What constitutional right would this violate? Have you actually read the constitution?


A number of them.

The due process clause.

An argument could be made for the 5th amendment right of self incrimination. Basically that this is forcing a guilty plea.

Etc.
 
2012-06-24 03:06:16 PM  

Honest Bender: Here's a simple solution: Bill the issuing officer for the court costs if the ticket is overturned.

The people will be happy because they wont be on the hook for expenses when they've done nothing wrong.
The courts will be happy because they get their money.
The police will be incentivised to only write good tickets.


take a police officer to court if they aren't getting media blitzed and see what happens. you'll end up just paying more.
 
2012-06-24 03:14:09 PM  

Honest Bender: Karac: How does that not violate the sixth amendment right to a trial?

Criminal vs. Civil?


Unless one could somehow consider the government an individual or a private entity, we aren't talking about civil cases.
 
2012-06-24 03:25:50 PM  

KrispyKritter: last ticket i got was for illegal parking - and i was in my driveway. i contested it and won, then had to pay 3/4 of the original fine as "cost of court".

/not far from Action Park


Exactly what is wrong with the system. Innocent until proven guilty is thrown out the window with this. You just paid a fee to remain innocent. I believe in some circles they call this extortion.
 
2012-06-24 04:05:21 PM  
I swear this is so wrong it must be illegal... somehow.
 
2012-06-24 04:19:25 PM  

born_yesterday: St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.

Not to delve into hyperbole here, but doesn't that mean a law enforcement officer can guarantee revenue just by issuing a citation, no matter how ridiculous, leading to a cost/benefit analysis of whether to pay the ticket outright? Isn't this akin to jailing someone even after a not guilty jury verdict, just because they plead not guilty?


Yup. That's the whole idea--remove the notion of being able to meaningfully contest it.


What we need is a simple rule: You're found not guilty and the court pays your reasonable defense costs, the court pays you the fine that you would have paid if you had been found guilty and the court pays you an hourly rate equal to last year's income / 2000 with a minimum rate of minimum wage. (The last is considered earned income for tax purposes.)

The would be a lot more careful with the quality of tickets and arrests.
 
2012-06-24 04:23:33 PM  
I wish the court fees in Florida were that low. That would be nice.

125 court fee, had to pay even with not guilty result
For a 200 dollar ticket because I had to pull out of the way of some idiot who was speeding and about to plow into the back of my car.

Once they caught the other driver, I was able to take them to small claims court for the 125 court fee I had to pay, plus all court fees associated with small claims court.

/So I got 250 bucks.
 
2012-06-24 04:29:02 PM  

Nemo's Brother: St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.

Good old liberals.


This came in under our long string of REPUBLICAN governors, but ya, modern Repubs aren't really conservative, are they?
 
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