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Archive for Friday, August 30, 2013

City proposing $30 increase in speeding fine

August 30, 2013

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A heavy foot on the accelerator is going to produce a lighter pocket book for Lawrence motorists if city commissioners approve a new set of fines for speeding violations.

City Hall staff members are proposing a $30 increase in speeding fines, giving Lawrence one of the higher total ticket prices in the region, according to information compiled by the city.

The city hasn't changed its fine for speeding tickets since 2009, said Maria Kaminska, assistant city attorney.

"We periodically look at our fines and fees," said Kaminska. "We don't want to be the most expensive, but we also don't want to be at the bottom when it comes to these fines."

The latest fine proposal, which commissioners will discuss at their Tuesday evening meeting, would ensure that the city is not near the bottom. The ordinance proposes to increase the minimum fine for a speeding ticket to $80, up from $50.

The $80 fine will give the city the fourth highest speeding fine among the 10 communities that the city surveyed. But when you add in the court costs each city charges, Lawrence will have the second highest total ticket price.

Lawrence's total ticket price for a standard speeding ticket would be $140, trailing only nearby Baldwin City, which checks in at $160. According to the results of the city's survey, here's what other communities charge for speeding tickets:

  1. Baldwin City: $85 fine; $75 court costs; $160 total
  2. Lawrence: $80 fine; $60 court costs: $140 total
  3. Olathe: $96 fine; $34 court costs; $130 total
  4. Topeka: $45 fine; $72 court costs; $117 total
  5. Atchison: $40 fine; $75 court costs; $115 total
  6. Hutchinson: $25 fine; $76 court costs; $101 total
  7. Overland Park: $80.50 fine; $20.50 court costs; $101 total
  8. Manhattan: $18 fine; $79 court costs; $97 total
  9. Salina: $35 fine; $55 court costs; $90 total
  10. Shawnee: $31.50 fine; $45.50 court costs: $77 total

Lawrence officials point out that the proposed changes would bring the city's standard speeding ticket total in line with the $141 charged by the state. Kansas district courts charge $96 in court costs and a $45 fine for a minimum speeding ticket, which is given when a motorist is breaking the speed limit by 10 miles per hour or less.

Kaminska said the city doesn't yet have an estimate on how much the new fine would increase city revenue.

Defendants in Lawrence Municipal Court may face some other changes as well. The city also is proposing:

• An increase in the fine for driving with defective equipment. The city is proposing an $80 fine, up from $50 currently. Defective equipment citations are given for violations such as a broken turn signals or inoperative headlights or taillights.

• A new policy that would allow the Municipal Court judge to order a person found guilty to repay the city for any legal costs related to the city having provided them an attorney.

In cases where an individual is facing charges that could result in jail time, the city is required to appoint a defense attorney if the defendant can't afford one. Currently, the city does nothing to recoup those costs from defendants.

"But it is permissible by state statute, and there are several cities that are now recouping those costs," Kaminska said.

Kaminska said the situation would apply in more serious misdemeanor cases such as theft, battery and some driving-under-the-influence cases. A defendant would be responsible for costs ranging from about $100 for a simple defense to several hundred dollars if the case is more complex, Kaminska said.

The proposed ordinance gives the Municipal Court judge the option of waiving the repayment requirement if he believes the defendant doesn't have the means to pay. The ordinance also gives the judge the ability to set up a payment plan for defendants.

Defendants would be subject to the repayment only if they were found guilty or entered into a diversion agreement.

The city paid about $103,000 in 2012 to provide legal services to indigent defendants. Kaminska said that cost has been going up in recent years.

City commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Comments

oneeye_wilbur 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Make the fine high, write fewer tickets, and then come back and say speeding down. Sounds good.

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George_Braziller 7 months, 2 weeks ago

So can a police officer give himself a ticket for speeding? I regularly see one guy who does it all the time around shift change, and does it against traffic on the one-way street in front of my house

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SusabelleGee 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I found this article very interesting since I cannot remember the last time I saw someone pulled over in this town. Maybe if they would enforce the laws we do have they would not need to increase costs. I did not see anything about running stop signs. I have seen 2 accidents happen because people run stop signs like crazy in this town. I wonder when it became legal to go through stop signs 2 cars at a time? Hmmm...........

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Steven Gaudreau 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Why is everyone gung hoe to punish a drunk driver to no end but then want to protect speeders? Speeding cars cause more accidents and wrecks then drunks every year. Raise the fine.

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oneeye_wilbur 7 months, 2 weeks ago

So who are the staff members who want this?

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Beer Guy 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Why don't we just fine $80 plus court costs to every person that voted those idiots in office. That would fix alot of problems. And its not like this town is a democracy anyways.

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jayhawklawrence 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The standard practice in managing city governments is to get more revenue anyway you can. It is not a free market system and I think it is an area that is abused often. This is a typical example. These costs have gotten way out of hand and it is questionable whether resources are being managed as efficiently as possible.

1

Carol Bowen 7 months, 2 weeks ago

It never ceases to amaze me when someone gets angry because they got caught doing something s/he knows they are not supposed to do. You have the freedom to disregard the laws, and the freedom to suffer the consequences. Even the + or - 5mph is to allow for inaccurate speedometers. Mathematically, it's possible to be going more than +5mph and not know it. Besides, percentage-wise (17% compared to 7%), that's a rather extreme rule of thumb for local driving and should be saved for the highway.

For those who choose to speed, you need to think about those around you. You may not have had an accident, but how much stress, confusion, or accidents have you caused? Speeding in Lawrence is a problem. It is not safe to drive, cycle or walk in most places. People are restricted because of speeding motorists.

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mags_and_k 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Here is a silly thought...........DON'T SPEED!!!! Good lord!!! As with ANY situation there are no less than two choices.........1) Obey the law or 2) Suffer/Pay the consequences.....it’s not rocket science people!!!

1

omnedon 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I will typically drive the posted speed limit in town and on the highway, posted limit +5, so I am by no means one who insists on busting everyone who goes a little over the limit on the highway. However, in town, where cars are closer together leaving less room to maneuver in emergencies, more distractions (and not just cell phones), cyclists, walkers, kids, etc...I feel speed limits are valuable for our general safety. The people who ignore those limits do so for many reasons..."late to where I'm going, I've never had an accident, I have good reaction times if needed, driving faster is more fun, etc..." and while this may be ok for them, consider the new drivers who haven't quite got the hang of judging how fast a car is approaching and pulls out in front of a speeding car. They think they have more time, and BANG, or perhaps speeding down a neighborhood street and suddenly a dog runs out or heaven forbid a small child runs out chasing a loose toy. Can they possibly justify driving faster in those cases?

The problem isn't the fines, they could make it $1000 per infraction and it would not be an effective deterrent. The mindset of "I have NEVER been pulled over for driving too fast." is far too common, so people will drive 5-10 mph over the limit in town (15-20 mph over down 23rd in the morning is common in my experience before 7:00). Enforcement of these limits is the only way to get people to slow down, and not just in the known "speed trap" areas. When people finally become aware that they can and will be caught speeding, and punished for that infraction, will they eventually start to slow down.

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weeslicket 7 months, 2 weeks ago

wouldn't the city raise more revenue by lowering the cost of tickets and court costs??

isn't there a laffer curve for that??

2

catfishturkeyhunter 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Court costs is the biggest sham I have heard of. Most people mail in or just pay the ticket with out contesting it. You can't tell me it costs 30-60 dollars for a desk clerk to enter the payment and note that the fine was paid into the computer. What am I saying, everything at the courthouse is a rip off.

2

patkindle 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"most" speeders, are just jerks with big egos, who are more important than everyone else and have a "right" to ignore the speed limits because their time is so valuable, and everyone else's needs are insignificant

2

kukhawk 7 months, 2 weeks ago

If you can't follow the traffic laws walk. Although, the same people that can't follow traffic laws probably can't figure out how to properly walk across an intersection. (Hint, go to the funny white lines at the corner). If you can't follow traffic laws or walk take the bus. Traffic violations should be a week in jail WITH fines and an ongoing education program paid for by the violator. Driving is a privilege. It is your responsibility to know the laws and follow direction when driving. Get off your phone and pay attention!

1

woodscolt 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The speeding ticket should reflect how much people are speeding. The more they are speeding the higher the ticket should cost. Starting at $140 is way to much. Highway robbery. You don't even really have to be speeding to get a ticket. All you have to have is a cop saying you were speeding and the rest is a done deal.

2

Pork_Ribs 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The added fines should be for the fools that can't seem to figure out how to drive the posted speed limit. If you're not going the speed limit...you should expect tailgaters. I think there should be a fine for anything beyond 5 mph + or - the posted limit. It's 45 mph on Iowa South of 27 and 65 on the SWT. If they want to make money and be 'progressive'...this is a great way to pave the way. (pun intended)

If these fools would pay attention to the road instead of their phone.... things would be much better as well. Every time you get caught not paying attention because your face is in your phone...there are multiple people around you doing the same thing.

1

rbwaa 7 months, 2 weeks ago

i appreciate knowing what the fines are in other cities so i can shop around for the best place to speed....

2

Greg DiVilbiss 7 months, 2 weeks ago

It was 20mph on Bob Billings with constant speed traps at the bottom of the hill.

0

jayhawklawrence 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Why?

And the 25 mph speed limits in construction zones are too long.

By the time the contruction zone ends you have 5 cars riding your bumper. There is a lack of common sense.

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LJ Whirled 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The idea behind speed limits was supposed to be safety. It's not anymore. It's about revenue. Swell. Bite Me.

3

oneeye_wilbur 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The article very clearly stated about unknown new revenue.

The city wants money. The city is spending and spending.

The current fines are high enough, if the speeders were caught.

Simple: raise the fine, work less !

3

gccs14r 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Be nice if the cops wrote themselves tickets for their own violations. Failure to signal and failure to come to a complete stop at stop signs are two big ones. Someone needs to tell them "wipers on, lights on", too, and that the hours for full lights changed to sundown to sunrise about twenty years ago.

4

Rick Aldrich 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Why? No wait i bet it's because we're a college town and a lot of rich students go here.

1

Rachael Sudlow 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Fine, raise the ticket prices..but DONT ask for a handout for a new jail.

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kernal 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Would be okay with me if the fines for running red lights and stop signs are doubled. Seems to me those drivers cause more danger than speeders, especially when they're doing over 30mph when they zip through, or in some cases zoom through.

2

oneeye_wilbur 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This is the same city that spendsmillionson sparking GarageBand wants to charge 20cents to park.

Not too bright.

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oneeye_wilbur 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Every street I have been driving on is hard to speed on . They are crap streets.

This must be another attempt to hire more police and then a bigger building.

1

swampyankee 7 months, 2 weeks ago

try enforcing speed limits on north 5th street north of Lyons street should be easy money for LPD I have no idea what the speed limit is but I doubt it is 40 MPH

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patkindle 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I would prefer to live in a community with the lowest number of speeders. we would all be better off, kind of like fighting crime, how unique? d

2

Liberty275 7 months, 2 weeks ago

How about we hold off on the fines until we aren't caught up twice in construction zones on the way yo work. And make the trafficway 75. That way we can do 80 and use our cars like they are supposed to be used.

Cut the citizens some slack until you get the streets cleaned up. We don't get all day for lunch and we have to make up for sitting at construction sites.

2

kef104 7 months, 2 weeks ago

So we are going to raise fines to be in line with other communities. Suppose we consider that our fines are already too expensive once the higher cost of living in our community is considered along with our lower average salary. Seems to me we already have the highest ticket cost to affordability ratio in the state.

3

patkindle 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I would rather they spend more time picking up more speeders, if they have to raise fines, that's ok too, It only dips in the pockets of the really stupid

3

Joe Hyde 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The best defense against getting a speeding ticket is to use your cruise control, if your vehicle has that feature. Some people think it's silly to set your cruise control in town, and at speeds as low as 30mph, or 40 or 45. But it works like a charm. Set it and forget it (except for downhill grades, when you might need to work the brakes a bit).

1

Silverhair 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Looks like if they want to bring it in line with the state, they need to reduce it. The fact is, nobody knows the cost until they go to pay it. An excessive charge is not a deterrent.

5

Missingit 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I tend to agree. I got a ticket for defective equipment and I got to fix it and then not have to pay for it. Looking at the list of other towns we would be way ahead of a fellow college town, Manhattan, keep it lower. If they are worried about being in line with other jurisdictions raise parking tickets to $6.

2

toe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice way to pay for a new police building.

1

cowboy 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Stop the madness...the city has escalated fines and prosecution beyond the means of the populace to pay. For the record i haven't had a ticket forever and have never been arrested. Im only an onlooker but one only need look at the daily jail arrest log to see that the municipal court , LPD , and the city prosecutors are out of hand. The log is littered with failure to appear arrests with half a dozen or more each day.

When you raise a speeding ticket to 150 bucks , if you work at minimum wage thats a weeks pay. 80 bucks for a broken signal , come on , if they had 80 bucks they'd fix it. You can't excuse violations but in the quest for ever increasing revenue the city has priced the lower class out of being able to pay obligations.

I would go on the record as stating a need to draw back the punitive costs for minor traffic violations , its not a deterrent , clogs up the courts with multiple appearances and FTA's .

In regards to the attorney's fees , if Judge Miller and the city prosecutors weren't such a bunch of hard to deal with folks they wouldn't need the attorneys.

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nate cleveland 7 months, 2 weeks ago

why dont we just increase EVERYTHING already... MY God! its already $80 plus court costs! They probably wont raise the fines, just the court costs lol...

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