Traffic Infraction Tickets Can Be Very Costly If Not Paid

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Traffic Infraction Tickets Can Be Very Costly If Not Paid

As if out of a Charles Dickens novel, people struggling to pay overdue fines and fees associated with court costs for even the simplest traffic infractions are being thrown in jail across the United States. Critics are calling the practice the new “debtors’ prison” — referring to the jails that flourished in the U.S. and Western Europe over 150 years ago. Before the time of bankruptcy laws and social safety nets, poor folks and ruined business owners were locked up until their debts were paid off. Reforms eventually outlawed the practice. But groups like the American Civil Liberties Union say it’s been reborn in local courts which may not be aware it’s against the law to send indigent people to jail over unpaid fines and fees — or they just haven’t been called on it until now. Advocates are trying to convince courts that aside from the legal questions surrounding the practice, it is disproportionately jailing poor people and doesn’t even boost government revenues — in fact, governments lose money in the process. “It’s a waste of taxpayer resources, and it undermines the integrity of the justice system,” staff attorney for the ACLU’s National Prison Project, told FoxNews.com. “The problem is it’s not actually much of a money-making proposition … to throw people in jail for fines and fees when they can’t afford it.
If counties weren’t spending the money jailing people for not paying debts, they could be spending the money in other ways.” Breaking down the cost to municipalities to jail debtors in comparison with the amount of old debt it was collecting. It doesn’t look like a bargain. For example, according to the report, one county collected $33,476 in debts in a year but spent $40,000 jailing 246 debtors — a loss of $6,524. Fines are the court-imposed payments linked to a conviction — whether it be for a minor traffic violation like driving without a license or a small drug offense, all the way up to a felony. Fees are all those extras tacked on by the court to fund administrative services. These vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with some courts imposing more than others. As states and counties grapple with shrinking budgets and yearly shortfalls, new fees are often imposed to make up the difference, though they can be quite overwhelming to individuals passing through the system — 80 percent of whom qualify as indigent (impoverished and unable to pay).
One state, for example, has added 20 new fees since 1996, according to the center. Another state imposes late fees on debt not paid and surcharges ofn payment plans. More and more, courts are dragging people in for fines and fees that have ballooned due to interest imposed on the initial sums. Some owe money to the public defender’s office for the representation they received during their time in court. Others incur hundreds of dollars in fees while they’re incarcerated — for everything from toilet paper to the beds inmates sleep on. The tab for the average offender could be as low as $250 or as high as $4,000.

The ACLU has been targeting big states with multiple jurisdictions they say are flouting U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 1970, 1971, and 1983. Those rulings essentially say courts cannot extend or impose a jail sentence for unpaid fines and fees if individuals do not have the ability to pay. At the very least, according to the high court, the courts must inquire and assess whether a person is indigent and might benefit from an alternative method of payment, like community service, before sentencing. Even though a lot of jurisdictions do have statutes on the books that allow judges to waive fines and fees, it doesn’t always happen. Much of the time, probation or the conviction itself will hinder individuals from finding employment. But another incarceration over debt could either ruin the job they managed to get or make it even harder to find one.

Many jurisdictions have taken to hiring private collection/probation companies to go after debtors, giving them the authority to revoke probation and incarcerate them if they can’t pay. Research into the practice has found that private companies impose their own additional surcharges. Some 15 private companies have emerged to run these services in the South. A Circuit Judge in Alabama shut down what he called the “debtors’ prison” process there, echoing complaints that private companies are only in it for the money. He cited them in part for sending indigent people to jail. Calling it a “judicially sanctioned extortion racket,” Hw said many defendants were locked up on bogus failure-to-appear warrants and slapped with more fines and fees as a result. Defenders of the collection programs say the money is owed to the state and it’s the government’s right to go after it. When, and only when, an individual is convicted of a crime, there are required fees and court costs. If the defendant doesn’t pay, law-abiding taxpayers must pay these costs.

Meanwhile, there’s evidence that groups like the ACLU are prompting reforms. For example, the ACLU found that seven out of 11 counties they studied were operating de facto debtors’ prisons, despite clear “constitutional and legislative prohibitions.” More recently, one state ACLU completed a report on “pay or serve” programs throughout the state. The penalty was one day in the clink for every $50 owed; every offender got an automatic 10 days in jail. The report also found that one jail racked up more than $70,000 in costs for incarcerating 154 people over a five-month period — and only managed to collect $40,000 in overdue fines and fees in that time. Judges in these courts never assess the defendants’ ability to pay before sentencing them to jail, which would be unconstitutional. One Municipal Court judge told FoxNews.com he agreed with the tenets of the ACLU investigation, but added that the practice of the automatic 10-day jail sentence was already scrapped. “It was because we had jail space problems and beds needed to be limited to actual criminals,” he said. He complained that local coverage of the ACLU report “makes it sound like we’re putting everyone in jail.” He said he asks everyone who comes before him if they have the ability to pay. He acknowledged, however, that his court is working with the ACLU and will be instituting formal “show cause” hearings to determine indigence. “Maybe the ACLU did some good, they brought it to my attention. Maybe they just should have done it in a better way,” he said. The reform movement is proceeding, albeit slowly in tough fiscal times. “A lot of the jurisdictions are still using fines and fees and passing legislation to add more fees and fines,” she said.

Trucking accident law- self insured

Truck Accident Lawyers – Personal Injury Attorneys

Truck Accidents causes can be divided into three distinct categories. They can be weather-related, equipment failure-related, or simply caused by the driver. In some cases, it can be a combination of more than one reason. For example, a driver going too fast when the road was slick due to rain or snow can cause a crash. Here in Texas, fog sometimes in combination with smoke from wildfires is a significant contributor to major truck accidents and deaths.Trucking accident law- self insured

If you have been involved in an accident with a heavy truck it is important that you seek the advice of a trucking accident lawyer, who understands the issues and causes of these types of accidents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency responsible for overseeing America’s truck industry has developed a Safety Measurement System (SMS) to help in the task of improving highway safety in the truck industry. This system uses seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to evaluate the safety performance of truck companies. They are:

UNSAFE DRIVING – Operating in a careless or reckless manner. Method of evaluation – Traffic Violations: Speeding, Reckless Driving, Improper Lane Changes and Inattention.
FATIGUED DRIVING – Drivers who are ill, fatigued, or violate the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations. Method of evaluation – Exceeding HOS, incomplete or inaccurate logbook, and operating the truck while ill or tired.
DRIVER FITNESS – Drivers who are unfit because of lack of sufficient training, experience, or medical conditions.
CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES and ALCOHOL – Drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, or misuse of either prescription or over-the-counter medications. Method of evaluation: citations for use or possession of controlled substances or alcohol.
VEHICLE MAINTENANCE– Failure to properly maintain equipment. Method of evaluation: citations for brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects as well as failure to make required repairs.
CARGO RELATED – Failure to prevent shifting loads, spilling cargo and unsafe handling of hazardous materials. Method of evaluation: Citations for improper load securement, cargo retention and hazardous material handling.
CRASH INDICATOR – An evaluation of a trucking companies crash history based on data from State provided crash reports which help identify histories or patterns of the high number of crashes, including both the frequency and severity of such accidents.semi-truck accident lawyers accident injury lawyers

Most truck drivers are paid on a “per mile” basis. The more miles that a driver completes, the larger that his paycheck will be. While the maximum number of hours a driver is supposed to complete is mandated by the HOS, keeping track of those hours is the sole responsibility of the driver himself. It’s similar to the fox guarding the chicken coop. Some drivers have even been known to keep dual paper logs. One for the truck, the second for their paycheck. If they will cheat their employer, they will do almost anything illegal.

Accidents with heavy trucks can cause life-changing injuries and often, death. Truck drivers who have been negligent must be made to pay. Your case could help make the highways safer for others. So how do you choose a lawyer?

Here are some things to consider:

The number of years your lawyer has been litigating these cases.
The understanding your attorney has for what is involved in cases such as yours.
An attorney with a good track record is essential.
The attorney has been recognized by law associations with awards and distinctions.
Truck drivers have a difficult job and in these economic times, the temptation to cheat must be very high. But you, as an accident victim, should not have to pay for the mistakes of others! If you have been involved in such an accident it is prudent that you contact a truck accident lawyer to assist you in obtaining just compensation.

Trucking accident law- self insured

Truck Accident Lawyers – Personal Injury Attorneys Dallas

Truck Accident Lawyers

While large commercial trucks fill highways, interstates, and other public roadways, transporting billions of dollars worth of goods across the country every day, our truck accident lawyers are all too aware of the serious threat these large vehicles can pose to other motorists on the road. Because of their considerable size, any accident involving an 18-wheeler or other large truck is often far more devastating in its consequences than a typical car accident would be, potentially leaving drivers with life-altering physical damages or worse.Trucking accident law- self insured

Aside from the pain and suffering that may be caused by the injuries resulting from a truck accident, there are many other consequences with which accident victims may have to cope. Among other repercussions, these often include expensive medical bills from treatment for the injury, both in the immediate aftermath and later on if physical rehabilitation is necessary, as well as potentially substantial losses of income, either from time spent away from work recovering or permanently reduced earning potential. More on this website @ https://www.accident-lawyers-dallas.com/18-wheeler-accident-lawyer/

No one should have to pay for these types of consequences by themselves. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a truck accident that was caused by the reckless or negligent actions of someone else, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses and suffering. Contact our car accident attorneys today to speak with a qualified legal professional about the details of your case. We make it our priority to fight aggressively to protect the rights and interests of our clients when they are going through such a situation.

Truck Accident Injuries

Truck accident injuries may be caused in a number of different ways. The most significant cause is typically the impact of the accident itself. However, there are other issues relating to truck accidents that may have the potential to cause serious physical harm to the accident’s victims, including fires that may occur as a result of fuel tank explosions and exacerbation of injuries due to the attempts of medics to remove injury victims from the scene of the accident.

The actual injuries which may occur as a result of an accident with a large commercial truck can vary significantly. However, some of the most common truck accident injuries include the following:

Severe contusions
Broken bones
Internal organ damage
Severe burns
Spinal cord injuries
Traumatic brain injury

The consequences that these and other types of injuries caused by a trucking accident can have a devastating effect on the lives of those who are affected. Whether you have suffered these or any other types of truck accident injuries, our team of experienced legal professionals may be able to help you fight for the justice you are seeking.Truck Accident Attorneys

Contact Us
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a truck accident caused by another person’s negligence, the responsible party should be the one to bear the burden of their actions. Contact our car accident lawyers today to discuss your case with an experienced member of our legal team and find out how we may be able to help you hold these individuals liable for their transgressions. More here on this website