Appeal all traffic tickets

Ever in search of new ways to rip off off citizens, California government now is hitting traffic violators with massive fines:

Fines on traffic tickets have surged in the past five years as the state has added fees and penalties that can raise the cost of most infractions into the hundreds of dollars. Running a red light: $446. Driving solo in the car-pool lane: $445. Speeding at 81 mph on most freeways: at least $331. Ignoring a “don’t walk” sign: $173.

And for moving violations, tack on an extra $50 if you go to traffic school to keep your record clean.

Even fix-it tickets that once cost nothing to resolve, like a broken headlight, now run $25.

The reason is that state and local governments, having taxed us to death, still want even more money, so they impose cruel and unusual punishments on us for measly traffic violations. Cops will tell you that, if they follow someone, within a few blocks they’ll find at least one traffic violation. Humans, obviously, are imperfect, and a reasonable system would have reasonable fines for reasonable violations. But in California government nowadays, nothing is reasonable.

With millions unemployed in the Depression, it’s especially cruel and unusual to hit them with massive fines for minor traffic violations — with the money going to pay the massive pay and pensions of the cops writing the tickets.

The solution is obvious: Take every ticket to court. Maybe the cop who stuck you with the absurd ticket won’t show up. Or he can’t read his notes. Or you can out-reason him.

If you get pulled over, don’t get upset or say, “I’ll see you in court.” Just be John Q. Stupid Citizen, be polite and bland, and take the ticket. Afterward, write down everything that happened. Get a book on fighting traffic tickets from the library or a book store.

Then go to court and be polite but informative. Even if you lose, it’s good experience for the next time.

If enough people appeal these Soviet-level fines, the courts will be so clogged they’ll have to relent and cut the fines — at least in half.

— John Seiler

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  1. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 8 April, 2010, 07:51

    The saddest part is, those most likely to get a ‘fixit’ ticket are those very people who have deferred repairing their car because groceries come first. Now they are forced to pay for those repairs AND pay a fine…and the kids go hungry.

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  2. Matthew
    Matthew 30 August, 2012, 16:16

    Here here. At the age of 24 I had yet to ever receive any sort of traffic violation until a couple of months ago. On my way home about a block away from my house I was pulled over by an officer, who’s first words out of his mouth were “I bet you’re wondering why I pulled you over?” Apparently I hadn’t come to a complete -2 second- stop at the intersection. I stopped, just not for as long as he liked.

    Up until today I planned on contesting it, but reading other people’s experiences online fighting the violation (“Failure to stop”, which in itself is an entirely gross exaggeration of what actually occured) were dismal and unsatisfying. I likely wouldn’t win the fight, being that the officers words would weigh much more than my own. I decided to pay the ticket and was astonished at the cost:

    297 dollars, which included a ‘convenience’ fee to use my credit card over their phone, having to navigate their automated system (some convenience) and another 70 dollars simply to get registered for traffic school – NOT traffic school itself, which from what I’m reading will be another 100 dollars give or take.

    400 dollar ticket, for stopping a whopping .5 seconds less than the officer expected. This hits me even harder, being a recent college graduate working my first job tangently related to my major (incidently I was driving home in order to be interviewed for this very job) this represents a full week of labor filling the government coffers.

    This really makes me rethink living in California. They’re bleeding their citizens dry.

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