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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