July 02, 2007
Astronomic "civil remedial fees"
Attention drivers... our neighbors to the southeast have come up with a bit of unpleasantness:
Starting July 1, an array of traffic offenses, from expired licenses to speeding, come with a "civil remedial fee" attached. That means a motorist convicted of reckless driving (75 mph in a 55 zone would qualify) faces not only a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail, but a non-negotiable $350-a-year tax for three years. The law forbids judges from waiving or reducing the fee.
And if you've had prior offenses, you pay higher and more fees. Zing!
Posted by binky at July 2, 2007 11:16 AM
| Posted to Filthy Lucre
But the fees can't be applied to out-of-state offenders. I bet the VA state police are really disappointed about that one.
eliminating the judicial discretion, though, is harsh, and likely to create ground newly fertile for discrimination. it's not unlike the effect of mandatory minimum sentences, and other measures that reduce sentencing discretion. discretion will be exercised, and the only question is in whom you choose to repose it -- if the judges don't have it in the felony context, it lies in a combination of the cops and the DA's, with greater discretion in the latter; in summary cases, the discretion almost completely lies with the police. and while judges can discriminate pretty badly, too, if i were black in NJ, for example, i think i'd rather roll my dice on the judges than on the state troopers.
another interesting aspect of the law -- and i haven't even bothered to read the articel -- is the enhanced reckless driving penalties. since prison is in the offing, if you choose to contest such a ticket (and given the penalties, why wouldn't you?), you're probably constitutionally entitled to a public defender. for a speeding ticket. of only +20mph. some of us drive cars that have a funny habit of jumping 20mph, at highway speed, in response to certain songs. and we probably weren't going the speed limit when the song started. :-)