My take on local news and events. All Comments are the responsibility commenter . All comments moderated. The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. ~~~ Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Note From Judge Tom

Thank you Judge Tom for the info.

Actually, most of the cost of tickets in Wisconsin are already the result of various 'surcharges'. Take your average speeding ticket, for example--say 9 miles an hour over the limit (34 in a 25 zone); the ticket says $83.80. Of that amount, $30 is for the actual speeding offense. On top of that, state law adds a 26% "penalty surcharge". Then add the following: $18for the "jail surcharge/ crime lab drug surcharge", and up to $28 in "court costs" (assessed whether you actually go to court or not). Add it up, and you get the total for a ticket that goes through a MUNICIPAL court ($83.80). If you get the ticket from a Sheriff's deputy or State Trooper, and you go through CIRCUIT court (for the same offense/speed), then the "court costs" are only $25, BUT, you add another $80 for the "justice information system surcharge/court support services surcharge". The result: the 'punishment' for a 9 mph over the limit speeding ticket is only $30, either in municipal or circuit court. However, when you add up all the 'surcharges', that $30 ticket becomes $83.80 in a municipal court; that SAME OFFENSE in a circuit court is $160.80. Make sense?
Before adding on a 'fuel surcharge', consider what happened in California a number of years ago. The Legislature there started adding on surcharges for a whole variety of things--all seemingly good causes. At the end of the day, though, a minor speeding ticket ended up costing around $300 (for a $30 offense). Many couldn't afford to pay that, so they didn't show up to court. Bench warrants were issued for 'Failure to Appear', a misdemeanor crime which carried a separate $200 fine. So, in a few short years, California had a whole bunch of fugitive criminals, all because the 'surcharges' turned a simple $30 traffic offense into a crime. Be careful what you ask for; you might get it! Judge Tom

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