Monday, December 15, 2008

Mugged and Mad!

I just got back from paying a traffic ticket. It has been on my mind for weeks. I have tried to pay it on line. But the mechanism to do so has been disabled so I had to go down town to the Police Department and pay it there. No way did I want to go to court. I finally went today, just three days before my court date. I was figuring $80-$100s for a fine. And whenever I thought of the amount I inwardly cringed. But I am cringing no longer. I am furious. I just paid $160 for not stopping completely at a stop sign. After my shock at the counter, I paid the fine and left. I then looked at my receipt a few minutes later in the car and read that I had actually paid a "traffic fine" of $45 and an "Assessment fine" of $115. Excuse me? What?! I have tried to call the city courthouse to ask just what is an "assessment fee" but they are not answering. So what to do next. Well I wrote a letter to the Chief of Police. My only regret at this point was not CCing the Mayor. (Never mind I just recent the letter with carbon copy to deputy police chief and the mayor.) I wonder if I have caused any upset at City Hall?


Dear Sir,
I am writing after being shocked at the fine I just paid for "running a stop sign". $160 which included a fine of $45 and an assessment fee of $115. I am appalled.

First of all, I paid the fine because I trusted that the officer was right and I did not come to a complete stop. However, I did not "run a stop sign" as was stated on my ticket. But I am sure I did not follow the law to the letter. Having the police officer stop me has increased my awareness at every stop sign and for that I am grateful. But now I am just mad. I have always taken great comfort in the number of police officers that Ocean Springs has on duty. I see them everywhere. Lately, however, I mostly see them pulling people over. People are talking about the amount of tickets being given out. Putting two and two together I wonder how much money is being made on the nit picking of police officers in this town.

As I tried to do some research on traffic tickets in this town I could find almost no information on how the amount for fines are determined and what an assessment fee is as well. I would like to see a list of these fine and administrative fees that make up the charges drivers are getting charged for each particular offense. I think it should be posted of the web site for public knowledge. I would also like to know how the revenue from traffic tickets of last year compares to this year. Can I find that on the city's annual report? Are officers and court personnel paid through the revenue that traffic fines bring in? And if so if this not a conflict of interest.

I hope you might be able to answer some of these questions for me.

Thank you for your time.

Stephanie Lanza Harvey

2 comments:

Coffee Bean said...

Oh my goodness! How frustrating!

I haven't been reading blogs much... just writing mine. Sigh. I will need to get caught up here when I have more time! I just wanted to pop by and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

(((HUGS)))

Coffee Bean said...

Oh my goodness! How frustrating!

I haven't been reading blogs much... just writing mine. Sigh. I will need to get caught up here when I have more time! I just wanted to pop by and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

(((HUGS)))