Sunday, October 4, 2009

Traffic Ticket Revenue...

Every week it seems that I have a theme. Sometimes I'll write a lot of a certain violation, or maybe I'll cite a lot of a certain car, or perhaps I'll get a lot of teenage drivers.

This week's theme was people who thought I write tickets to generate revenue for the city.

That is just plain wrong.

People think just because they get dinged with a $212 fine for talking on their cell phone, my city is getting all of it. This is absolutely not the case. In reality (and I'm not referring to the artificial Berkeley reality here where people believe whatever suits their needs at the time. I mean real reality), out of that $212 fine the courts get all but the $20 base fine. My city gets 10% of the base fine, which in the case of a cell phone ticket adds up to an amazing $2. That's right. Out of that two-hundred twelve dollar fine, my city gets two bucks.

I absolutely do not write tickets to generate revenue.

I write tickets to promote safety among the drivers and pedestrians who pass through my city. I focus my efforts mostly in areas where there are a high number of collisions or complaints brought about by a certain type of violation. If we get a lot of speed related collisions, we focus our speed enforcement in that area. If we get complaints that a lot of folks are running a particular stop sign, we focus our attention on that stop sign. If people are not wearing seat belts, we focus on that.

The tickets I write don't even pay my salary. I'd have to write four speed tickets an hour just for the city to break even, and that's not even counting gas and maintenance for my ride.



HonkingAntelope said...

So, instead of the city, the courts and the county are the ones who get to take the lion's share of the fine? Where exactly does court funding come from? The city? The county? The state?

I got a 22349a (78 in 65) a couple of months back, and the cost to do traffic school is $270($220 if you want to just eat the point and insurance hike) and I still remember it used to be $159 less than two years ago in the same friggin county!

If anything, this a great reason to contest every single ticket if traffic school isn't an option or the charge is a non-moving violation. If the courts want their 30 silver pieces, let them work for it! And if people want to just pay up without putting up a fight, they deserve to get socked for every cent they got!

Roanoke Cop said...

"No, we don't have a quota, I can write all the tickets I want."

"Yes, if I write one more I win a free toaster oven."

My favorite answers. :D

Honestly sometimes people say the most ignorant crap to me on traffic stops.

*Goddess* said...

Wow, glad you explained that. I always thought the PD got all of the $.

Gramma was really do learn something new every day:)

Raindog said...

In my neck of the woods, my jurisdiction loses money on tickets. There is no muni-court to tack on fees. The bail does not cover the OT for an officer to attend court. And finally most officers write fix it tickets or if you attend traffic school, I'll dismiss it tickets. It's not about money it's about education and changing behavior.

Anonymous said...

Thank-You for sharing this. Hopefully it will educate the masses.

Triple Beeper said...

Citizen callers who complain that the officer was just "trying to meet his quota" also get me; I think people just absolutely have to find someone else to blame. God forbid it be their own actions that caused them to be hit in the pocketbook, which is the only way they will pay attention.

Anonymous said...

Wow. A $212 fine. In the state my hubs writes tickets in speeding starts out as low as $10. Not much of a deterrent.

Officer "Smith" said...


Our traffic court is a County Superior Court. County court funding largely comes from fines and penalties.

You are correct that the fines have gone up. As of the first of the year the base fines went up, as did some of the court fees. Traffic school sign up is now $50 instead of $15.

Like I tell many drivers I cite, it will not break my heart if you contest the citation. In fact, I think you should. The worst that could happen is the judge finds you guilty and you pay the fine anyway. Contrary to what some folks believe, the fine is not higher if you take it to court.

Front Porch Society said...

It is either they are paying your salary or helping us get that toaster. *shaking my head*

HonkingAntelope said...

Of course, news article like this one:

aren't helping any, nor the fact that shitties like Oakland, Berkley, and San Francisco abuse parking enforcement and send out meter maid platoons equipped with protractors and rulers (19inches away from the curb? TICKET! Didn't curb the wheels far enough? TICKET! etc...). Of course, most of general public doesn't know which tickets are the most profitable in their own state, let alone other states.