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Should people be jailed over simple unpaid fines?

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posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 11:00 AM
reply to post by Rezlooper

I have been avoiding this situation by the skin of my teeth the past year. I had a disorderly conduct along with my g/f for being "too loud" (and we live in the country, literally woods and fields all around) but some rancher who likes to call the cops for anything, heard our music around midnight.

Then I got a citation for having an expired inspection sticker, mainly because my windshield was broken, and the "friend" who broke it kept avoiding me when I would confront about him paying the bill as he said he would do. So $400 windshield out of my pocket, and $100 some fine later, I couldn't afford an inspection or even my phone bill; but still had to drive to work to make pay, and risk another citation.

Then my g/f looses her job, so to keep her and I out of jail, I was paying more then I could afford per month, and the day I forgot to make a payment, I get a phone call from a friend who is a cop, saying he say we had warrants issued for our arrest because of an unpaid ($20 per month each) fine!!! Immediately the next morning I go to pay the fines, and they add on $35 each to remove the warrant!?!?!

If they jailed me, how would I pay my fine, how would I keep my job that is actually paying me well and that I love, and how would I keep my g/f out of jail who can't find a job anywhere? It's a all-fail system, and it's just so that these people who work in the district courts can drive nice new vehicles, and have a house, while the rest of us who run this country hard 40+ hours a week struggle for even the little things in life, and drive around cars from the 90's, and live in over priced apartments or with our parents after college.

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 11:09 AM

reply to post by Rezlooper

So you jail them for non payment of fines then house them at a cost of around $5000-10000 per calendar month??? How very cost effective!

Considering those who lobby to jail people over petty offenses, unpaid fines being a very petty offense, or those who profit off of full prisons. The cost of housing prisoners comes from tax payers, not from those who run the prison. Also once in prison, if the prisoner upsets a prison guard or doesn't get with the program then they can be sentenced to more time without a trial. Prison labor is a commodity.

Essentially the for profit prisons are another way that elite can tap into tax dollars and make a ton of money from it.

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by Rezlooper

if it were me? I would rather do the time. Than give them a single penny more of my hard earned money!
That way it would cost them even more money to jail me and feed me for the time, than the fine I would have too pay.
So just to stick it too them, I would just suck it up and do the time.
To me more satisfaction in doing the time thanks!

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 11:59 AM
Can't get my head around some of the posts following this thread.

No-one appears to have had a fine that was not their fault.

The majority also appear to have not paid the fines, whatever the reason.

So, if it appears that you get fined for braking civil law, hence civil penalty, or criminal law and a criminal penalty, stop breaking the law and getting caught and don't get fined! Then you don't have to worry about getting jail time for not paying your dues.

However, I don't agree with jail time for minor civil non payment, it seems that TPTB are content to use draconian expensive incarceration as an alternative to cheaper civil recovery because the tax payer funds the easy route, as per previous posts.

So, if you live where the draconian powers are being used, stay out of trouble or move or vote the beggars out of power. Trouble is that won't work, especially in the US because of APATHY, but that's a different post on ATS.

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 01:12 PM
reply to post by Shuftystick

I've noticed a couple of posts where you guys say "just stay out of trouble and don't get fines," but even law-abiding citizens occasionally rub elbows with law enforcement and it doesn't make them criminals. Trust me, you break the law every day and you just don't know it because there are so many ridiculous laws on the books. You ever jaywalk? Do you wear your seat belt every time you get behind the wheel? You never know when your life can a take a sudden unexpected turn...say, for example, road rage, bar fights, someone assaults your child, speeding, etc. etc....

In my younger day I once was arrested because my wife and I were partying with some friends and she, along with her girlfriend were going to run down and get some more beer. Well, it was New Year's Eve and when she left, we had a scanner going in the kitchen at these friends house and we overheard two dumb ass cops talking about the girls in a sexual manner and then they said they were going to pull them over for a headlight out but it was really just to check them out. They only went a few blocks to the gas station for beer and were harassed like this. They were pulled over just outside the house so I went out and told the cops, who I knew personally (living in a small town) that we overheard them on the scanner and this was a bunch of BS. They end up slapping cuffs on me and throwing me in the back of the squad car for "Obstruction of Justice." What? This is just another made up charge they have when they actually don't have any real crime to charge you with. My fine was to be $379 for Obstruction. I ended up going to the cop shop and asking for the transcripts and they somehow weren't available and I got stuck with the fine.

Obstruction of what justice?

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 01:43 PM
reply to post by jrod

Sounds very much like a form of slavery to me, at the very least an indentured servant with the chance of being bummed!

edit on 27-12-2013 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 02:10 PM
I had a fender bender a few years back. Was the last guy in the four car pileup so I got a failure to control.
I pled nolo-contendre and got it dropped but the judge asked myself and another no contest to sit in the front row until his session was complete.

I watched for nearly an hour as he dealt with this very issue.

Person after person was brought up for misdemeanors, tickets and fines that had to be paid but were not because the individuals had no money.
That's not to say they were poor or broke. Most of them had months to pay these fines but simply had not. Most of these people were seeing this judge on a first name basis as they had been in for multiple offenses in the past.
The judge gave most of them a choice of jail time or public service.

He also spent quite a bit of time talking to them.
The conversations were usually ended with a question like, "Fred, when are you going to find another way to spend your Friday nights?" or "Leonard, I can't let this go any more. If you come in here again I'm going to have to send you to the penitentiary."

Public service selectors were immediately taken to do janitorial work around the courthouse or sent out to pick up trash.

From what I observed that day, there are a hell of a lot of people who break the law every day. They do it repeatedly and eventually the judge just gives up on them.

After all of that was done and the court had finished it's dockets, the judge looked over at us and said, "Drive careful now."

He wanted us to see how much of his time was taken up by minor crap.
From what I saw, most of the people in there had been in multiple times before.

What is the law supposed to do with people who break the law constantly and never pay their fine or get the message?
Eventually you have to do something with constant law breakers.
edit on 27-12-2013 by badgerprints because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 02:12 PM
reply to post by Rezlooper

Some of us drive for decades and even lifetimes of driving and not get a ticket. And if we get one, we are wise enough and organized enough to pay it in due time. You, on the other hand, get a second stop some time later which we must assume was for another driving infraction and go to jail because the officer found that the prior offense was unpaid. Sounds like a common procedure for treating those that don't pay their prior fines. I think that is fairly standard for most states and areas. I've had a few tickets in my day, but I can't imagine forgetting them or willfully not paying them.

What did you expect, they should have merely given you another ticket that you could drive away with and not pay? Be honest about yourself and manup and ditch the victimhood spiel.

However, I have always insisted that driving infractions are unfairly weighted against the poor. The rich person in a Mercedes or BMW can pay the ticket with no problem, but the poor guy may be going to be short on groceries for the month if he gets nabbed for the same infraction.

I believe it is Finland that has proportional amounts for driving infractions depending upon the income of the offender. I'm sorry for you misfortune.

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 03:05 PM
reply to post by Aliensun

Sorry that I'm not the perfect snob and have driven for decades without a traffic violation, like yourself. See, I like to live a little, and so I'm a bit of a lead foot (but I have to admit I've slowed down now that I have children) but that doesn't make me a criminal. In my case, here in WI, you're given a court date and if you don't show, that means you're guilty of the traffic infraction. Then, you are given 60 days to pay and the court itself is usually 30 days within the violation, so, 90 days can easily pass without one knowing that a warrant has been issued.

But, back to the case of my being arrested for the unpaid fine. I was immediately picked up from the jail but if I hadn't been and I decided to stay in jail to pay off the fine I would have to stay at a rate of $25 per day or 9 days for the $209 fine. The average cost to the county for housing an inmate in WI is around $60 per day. Does this make a whole lot of sense? So, instead of collecting the $209 for the state coffers, I would've cost the state $540 for my extended visit. That's a $749 swing from revenue for the state to an expense. There has to be a better way to collect fines than the rush to throw folks in jail.

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 04:09 PM
Not In Texas no.
an unpaid fine is a debt the municipality is placing on you.

Keep in mind in title you asked "should" not "can"
edit on 27-12-2013 by Nephalim because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 05:33 PM

This sounds like it could be very beneficial to the homeless in our country! Minor offense, unpaid fine = 3 squares, warm shelter and a hot indoor plumbing!
Guess we need to build more prisons now......

Makes me think of FEMA and the prison camps, same thing I guess.

Regards, Iwinder

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 06:54 PM
Putting people in jail over fines is not intended as a way for the State to make money. When they have privatized all prisons it will be a way for the taxpayer to pay private industry. Just like they use the taxpayer's military, police force to protect their property. Banks give guaranteed student loans because no matter what they will be paid.

It is just another scam that ensures that, no matter what, the corporations will be paid. Either the person pays the fine or he goes to jail. If he goes to jail the taxpayer will pay to house and feed him. Pay at a rate of profit as private prisons will not be non-profit.

Even now when the prisons are mostly public..they still have to contract out work to private industry. Does not matter that the State loses money or breaks even. When a person is imprisoned...private industry still earns from the taxpayer.

edit on 27-12-2013 by spav5 because: (no reason given)

edit on 27-12-2013 by spav5 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 08:19 PM
People don't seem to understand the other businesses that have their hand out in the legal system. A lot of probation services are private. The driving classes, DUI, Domestic Violence etc classes. If someone is poor and punished to pay for a minor offense it is not just the fine. Most people end up paying fines, court cost, probation fees, urine test fees, class fees. The benefit to the system is they can pile it on knowing you cant pay. You play along for awhile but if you get behind they throw you back in front of the judge and it starts all over again.

Its kind of like but not exactly when banks loan money to people who cant afford their houses. They take the peoples money til they cant pay then kick them out and start all over again knowing they can continue to do this and constantly profit.

City money is squandered on raises and pensions. Id rather cut the city employees and enforce more community service which often has a direct impact on the community as opposed to some class owned by the judge and DA.
edit on 27-12-2013 by NihilistSanta because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 08:28 PM
reply to post by Shuftystick

Easy to say, but more and more bogus laws are passed everyday making it tougher to be a 'law abiding' citizen. Sure there are many derelicts that just don't pay there fines, but there are many more who are unable to pay.

I've paid all my traffic tickets and other fines I've accumulated in a timely manner, but I can see how one can easily not pay a simple fine. Failure to pay for a minor offense is not justification for jail time in a so called free country.

Like I said before, the justice system has for the most part has become a racketeering scheme. A wealthy person can essentially pay to have charges dropped for a serious offense, while a poor person will end up in jail because they can not afford the fines for a minor offense. That is not justice.

posted on Dec, 28 2013 @ 04:25 AM
reply to post by jrod

Here at least, if you can prove your case of financial hardship and register that fact within the time allowed to pay the fine, a suitable arrangement can be made for you to pay the amount in installments over an extended time. If you simply ignore the fine (and the reminders they send here) eventually they'll be coming after you. We also have a point system for traffic offenses so accumulate 12 points over a 24 month period and your license is suspended automatically. That arrangement puts the rich and not so rich on a more even footing which was the intention to deal with rich kids in fast cars who could pay any amount of fines with no problem.

EG exceed the speed limit by more than 10km/hr and you'll get 3 points, under 10km/hr and it's 2 points with fines in both cases. I doubt there are any 1 pointers any more. More serious offenses like failing to stop at a red light, a pedestrian crossing (with pedestrians on it), exceeding the speed limit by over 60km/hr, failing to stop and give assistance after being involved in a collision, driving unlicensed, driving with 0.05% alcohol or over, under the affect of non-prescription drugs etc etc are instant arrests and the judge will determine your penalty (not gonna be very nice) rich and poor alike.

ETA: Some may be tempted to give a false ID if caught red handed and want to avoid the points but that's just compounding a bad situation into a nightmare. That comes under 'perverting the course of justice' and will see you appearing in the supreme court with an excellent chance of a minimum 3 months in a cell with fine(s) as well to boot.
edit on 28/12/2013 by Pilgrum because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 28 2013 @ 05:48 AM
reply to post by jrod

40 yrs plus driving including a Suzuki 380GTS 6 speed 2-stroke, a Yamaha XJ 650 Turbo and a variety of fast cars from a Jensen Interceptor in the UK to a Chevy Stingray in NJ back in '76. I have a clean licence, which must mean I guess I never got caught speeding, camera or Police patrol.
I was taught that you need to be aware of what is around you, not just immediately in front of you, especially as motorcyclists are vulnerable to unobservant car drivers.
Being a motorcyclist has made me a better car driver.
As a cyclist however, most motorists, including professionals scare the bejasus out of me. At least I should be able to maintain a clean licence when it comes to speeding.
Have I ever sped? What do you think?
Don't break the law and get caught and you won't be moaning on here about getting dumped upon for unpaid fines...

edit on 28-12-2013 by Shuftystick because: Mispel and omission

posted on Dec, 28 2013 @ 06:07 AM
reply to post by dobbiedabill

they don't jail people in the u.k anymore for fines they make them do labor

Yes they do.....but it tends to be a last resort.

The usual penalty for non-payment is a further fine.
Continued failure to pay results in Community work whilst still owing the outstanding fine.
If a person continues to miss regular payments then they tend to be sentenced to a period in jail with further fees being added to the balance.

Once over it was possible to do a short stretch and the fine was quashed. Not now, you have to do the time and pay the fine.

posted on Dec, 28 2013 @ 06:14 AM
This has nothing to do with making money. They spend more to incarcerate than the fines are worth. The OP's source is a little low imo. I did the math on our operating budget a few years ago. Not $65/day. It's closer to $300/day. This is about conditioning. "You will OBEY....or else."

posted on Dec, 28 2013 @ 10:28 AM
Jail time in the UK is a last resort, ask anyone working in the Judicial System about that.

As for costings, I doubt the true figure will ever be known due to the increasing use of Public Private partnerships. If you could figure in the hidden costs, including offshore tax avoidance of the tax liability of public funded establishments then a truer picture might emerge.

Don't forget there is also the post incarceration cost of monitoring and parole systems.

As for the hidden costs of the victims...

posted on Dec, 28 2013 @ 11:15 AM
reply to post by intrepid

It is the tax payer who pay to house prisoners.

To the poster who said something about the point system on a driver's license, a wealthy person can hire a good traffic court attorney that can get those points dropped. A poor person can not afford that luxury.

Florida used to allow community service in lieu of a fine, usually $10 an hour. That stopped a few years ago because it was decided that it costs too much money(in other words they want your fine money!).

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