Stefan
Can you be fined with $1600 for missing a license plate decal?

Just recently a Texas municipal court judge had fined a woman $1,590 for a decal on her car license plate being missing... Though just a few days after, she has obviously changed her mind about the penalty and its amount. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week reported on the plight of 52-year-old Fulton County resident Linda Ford and what the paper described as an "outlandish" fine that had been imposed by Grantville Municipal Court Judge Lisa R. Reeves. The woman repeatedly tried to pay the fine at once, but she just missed a deadline...

Ms. Ford's troubles began last fall... It was then, when on an unfortunate occasion she's been driving past the local police department building, as the Grantville, TX police officer pulled her over. According to the journalists, that's what happened next:

She's been driving to the local church's yard sale, where she intended to raise some money for homeless women of Grantville. While she passed the police building, the officer pulled her over, he said, because her license plate cover had too much tint. Despite the fact that it was the dirt - not tinting - blown from the car's exhaust that made it difficult to read her plate, the officer didn't bother to mind it. Eventually, it was found suspicious that the license plate of Ms. Ford's car did not have a proper look, and her case was then brought before the court. And that was then when the story began to become eerie...

Her colleague, the dweller of Fairburn, TX, who works as a baggage handler had confirmed to the judge at a hearing that she didn't have enough money to pay it. In a miraculous manner, the next day a report emerged, that after hearing those arguments Judge Reeves canceled the fine this week. It's not officially known yet what triggered the judge's decision. We have reached out to Judge Reeves for comment. Ms. Ford told the newspaper that she's still bothered by the whole episode. "Even though they dismissed it, I still feel dirty. ... I still feel like a criminal," she said. That kind of math shows that while on one hand our police officers are doing a massive job on noticing the smallest issues and law breaches, on the other, the system looks a bit broken...

Mind that:

  • Ms. Ford is just one of the half of all fine recipients for similar breaches, who just cannot possibly afford herself to pay the fine at once. And the postponing services that exist and allow you to pay a fine at a later date, do hike the end size of the fine by ... times!
  • The fact that our law enforcers are wasting their time on the issues which are not of a primary citizen's concern is a bit worrying... All in all, our law firm will be glad to inform you of any further developments for this story and help anyone who've found himself or herself entangled within this rotten system of minor fines and fees...
Comments:

While I've been fined "just" $500 recently, I'm sure that we need to make those fines for such minor things a little more human-friendly and fiscally sane...

Posted by Albert Wallary reply

As a lawyer, I am horrified by how many people do get fined like that yearly, in my city alone! We've got to do something about it!

Posted by Wallace Rice reply
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