Apparently, there is some person who, either incompetently or maliciously, made up an e-mail trying to make people think that there is some kind of surcharge (known as “Civil Remedial Fees” or “Abuser Fees”) being put on speeding tickets beginning July 1.
If you got that e-mail, it cited a “Newspaper.com” article claiming there is a “new law.” The problem is that the original e-mail author did not actually take time to look at the article he was forwarding. If he did, he would have noticed that it is from three years ago. I have received a lot of inquiries. Here is my general response:
1. The article cited is from 2007.
2. This person should be writing to reps in NJ, TX and MI which all have this law.
3. The law was repealed three years ago.
4. I voted for the repeal. When I started working on this concept 6 years ago, it seemed like a good idea because many other states are doing it with no controversy. And, from 2004 to the date it was passed in 2007, I received only one call complaining about it. The concept was to make people who commit criminal violations on the roads pay more to upkeep the roads than those of us who just get a traffic ticket every year or so. As you can tell from the height of the grass in the medians, there is no money for road maintenance. And no one seems to want a tax increase. So, I thought that since other states are doing this without controversy, maybe it would be a good idea for us. But after it went into effect, a lot of people did not like it. My job is not to do what I want, but to do what my constituents want, so I voted to repeal it. All money charged was refunded. I am not perfect – just trying my best in very difficult circumstances. All I can say is that unlike most politicians, I at least “man up” to it and admit when I made a mistake.
5. Fifth, no mere traffic tickets were ever charged one penny under the short time the law was in effect. The article cited by this person incorrectly stated the law to begin with. It stated that there was a “$3,500 speeding ticket.” No speeding tickets were ever charged a dime. The offense had to rise to the level of a Misdemeanor crime (e.g DUI, Reckless Speeding, Vehicular Manslaughter …) so the fine/fee charged was the least of people’s worries. People should have been more concerned about getting a criminal record more than the fee. As for a $3,500 fee/fine? $3,000 was if you killed someone. But the article just happens to leave that small detail out.
6. Typical unaccountable internet rumors that mislead people.
7. Oh, and the part about benefiting me? Raising punishments on activities lowers the occurrence of the activity. That is why we raise penalties on bank robbery, so that people won’t do it. When the “Abuser Fee” law was in effect for its brief 7 month life span, Reckless Driving charges went down, and my firm, along with every other law firm, actually had less people calling them for representation, and thus, made less money. And according to the State Police stats, as soon as the Abuser Fees were repealed, people went back to driving insanely. Surprisingly, they did not have any effect drunk drivers. Apparently, drunks don’t care what the punishment is, they just keep doing it.