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Thread: Why Georgia traffic tickets have so many extra fees

  1. #1

    Why Georgia traffic tickets have so many extra fees

    Most Georgians know they’ll get hammered with hefty fines if they get busted for speeding, driving on a suspended license or possession of marijuana.

    But a new, multi-state study demonstrates one reason Georgians must often empty their wallets over a misdemeanor offense: the state’s long list of “surcharges” that judges must add to almost every fine.

    The Georgia General Assembly, over the years, has approved one add-on after another for various causes. Individually, the surcharges may not add much to the cost of a ticket. But taken together, it’s another story.

    “By the time you add them all up, you can almost double what your base fine was,” said Sarah Shannon, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia who is one of the authors of the study.

    Sarah Shannon is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia.

    Monetary Sanctions in the Criminal Justice System” reveals how nine states — including Georgia — handle fines. Surcharges are just one part of the in-depth study. But it’s an aspect of the justice system that can make Georgia a really expensive place to get busted for a relatively minor crime.

    The study found that a Georgian who is fined for driving with a suspended license will likely face surcharges of at least $405 — on top of a ticket that can range from $500 to $1,000. In Minnesota, where the state doesn’t rely so heavily on surcharges, the overall cost would be much less, the study found. For the same offense, a Minnesota driver can expect a fine of $200, with much smaller add-ones: surcharges of $75 and fees of $3 to $13.

    Surcharges are usually mandatory charges that judges must impose, so almost anyone who pays a fine also must pay the surcharges. In Georgia, the add-ons have been passed over time to collect money for law enforcement training, brain and spinal injuries, indigent defense, law libraries, retirement funds, drug abuse treatment, victim assistance and other special purposes.

    Shannon said court fines are clearly about punishment. “You broke the law, this is what you have to pay,” she said.

    Surcharges are different, she said, because they’re used to pay for government functions that may not always have much to do with the offense that led to the citation.

    “It’s really a question of ‘What is the purpose of those funds? And, is it appropriate to be charging money on top of the fines to fund the system or to fund things that are not related to the criminal justice system?'” she said.

    The issue has become even more complex in Georgia, which has a track record of diverting money collected through surcharges to the state’s overall budget instead of the special purpose of the surcharge.

    While Georgia may stand out for its surcharges, the extra charges are an issue almost everywhere, as are the base costs of the fines that some cities rely on to pump up their budgets.

    The issue has been more controversial in recent years, in the wake of a Department of Justice report concluding that police operations in Ferguson, Missouri were focused more on collecting revenue than protecting the public. Ferguson was the site of protests after a white police offer there shot Michael Brown, a black teen who was not armed.

    Many judges in Georgia aren’t fans of all the surcharges they must add to fines they impose.

    Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Gary Jackson said he goes to great lengths in his courtroom to explain to defendants that he has no control over the surcharges and that the extra money collected goes to the state, not the city of Atlanta or other municipalities.

    Jackson, who is also president of the state’s Council of Municipal Court Judges, said that in his court the state-mandated surcharges add about 40 to 45 percent to the cost of a simple traffic ticket. On some offenses, he said, the surcharges exceed the amount of the actual fine.

    “I have a great distaste for state surcharges because they are diverted away from the programs promised to be funded by these surcharges,” he said.

    In his courtroom, Jackson said, he has heard the surcharges described as “creative accounting, legalized embezzlement and phantom earmarks.”

    The other states included in the study are California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

    Georgia also stands out from some other states, the researchers noted, because traffic offenses are classified as criminal offenses. Many other states have decriminalized minor traffic offenses. Because the offenses are considered criminal, the researchers found, Georgians face not only large fines, but also the possibility of probation. Defendants in Georgia who cannot afford to pay their fines on the day they come to court are often placed on misdemeanor probation while they pay off their fines.

    The researchers noted changes that Georgia has made in its misdemeanor probation system to address abuses.

    ...
    http://investigations.blog.myajc.com...llet-and-more/
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    This intellectually stimulating conversation is the reason I keep coming here.



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  3. #2
    Because fu thats why.
    “[T]he enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” (Heller, 554 U.S., at ___, 128 S.Ct., at 2822.)

    How long before "going liberal" replaces "going postal"?

  4. #3
    Towns and states have high fees on tickets or pull people over way excessively to get around having higher income, sales, or property taxes. It is what caused massive outrage in MO as many small towns were go crazy with tickets to fund their local governments. It is what the state of GA is doing here. It is what MA did when it instituted a new fee that defendants must pay if they fight a ticket in MA and actually manage to win the case. Ticketable Red light and speed cameras are the best known example of this nonsense
    Lifetime member of more than 1 national gun organization and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. Part of Young Americans for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty. Free State Project participant and multi-year Free Talk Live AMPlifier.

  5. #4
    Ironically, I went to check the mail (I didn't yesterday) and found a ticket. Apparently, Mr Animal ran a school bus stop sign. The bus stops on a main highway instead of pulling into the subdivision and from the series of photos they sent, he appeared to be toward the bumper of the bus when the stop sign came out.

    The ticket it $300.00.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    This intellectually stimulating conversation is the reason I keep coming here.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    Ironically, I went to check the mail (I didn't yesterday) and found a ticket. Apparently, Mr Animal ran a school bus stop sign. The bus stops on a main highway instead of pulling into the subdivision and from the series of photos they sent, he appeared to be toward the bumper of the bus when the stop sign came out.

    The ticket it $300.00.
    When the judge ask who was driving the car, you know what to do.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Ron Paul know some weird people...



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  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Danke View Post
    When the judge ask who was driving the car, you know what to do.


    I can't see your pic.

    I would take the fall for him because he gets a lot of tickets and I've only ever gotten one in my entire life but the ticket has his name on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    This intellectually stimulating conversation is the reason I keep coming here.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    I can't see your pic.

    I would take the fall for him because he gets a lot of tickets and I've only ever gotten one in my entire life but the ticket has his name on it.
    I have been having no luck posting pictures lately...
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Ron Paul know some weird people...



    Quiz: Test Your "Income" Tax IQ!


    Short Income Tax Video

    The Income Tax Is An Excise, And Excise Taxes Are Privilege Taxes

    The Federalist Papers, No. 15:

    Except as to the rule of appointment, the United States have an indefinite discretion to make requisitions for men and money; but they have no authority to raise either by regulations extending to the individual citizens of America.

  9. #8
    $66 for parking tickets in Oakland.



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