My morning at magistrate court
Paying traffic fines really chaps my ass. I got pulled over about six weeks ago for driving without my seat belt on. Just as you’d expect, a few days prior I’d taken all my car documents out for some reason, so I also got a ticket for not having insurance. I brought that to court and had that charge dismissed, but I still got slapped with the fine and fees for the seat belt violation. The breakdown is a great example of local government in action:
Automation fee $10
Since none of my transaction was automated, I can’t imagine what this is for.
Mag[istrate] Facilities fee $10
While I don’t like the idea of any of this, at least it was actually in magistrate court. However unwillingly, I did sort of use the facilities. I don’t think I got ten dollars’ worth out of the fountain, but maybe the water is extra expensive there.
Jury and Witness fee $5
This was a pretty simple victim-and-clerk transaction, without judge, jury, or witnesses, so who knows why I had to pay this.
Correction fee $20
So generic that it’s hard to say anything about.
Traffic Safety fee $3
The only thing I got pulled over for was not having a seat belt on. Not reckless driving, not running red lights--basically, nothing unsafe except possibly for myself.
Judicial Education fee $3
Is the judge taking night classes? Is this for the sack lunches for Take Your Child to Court day?
DV Treatment fee $5
In this case, “DV” is for domestic violence, a practice I’ve never engaged in, and one that’s not in any way related to traffic either.
Brain Injury fee $5
This is my favorite one. The state trooper harasses me and makes me late for work over something that I should be allowed to do, and then the county makes me pay for it.
At long last, here we come to the punishment, a fine amounting to 29% of the take they demanded before I could leave.