Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

City proposing $30 increase in speeding fine

August 30, 2013


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.


nate cleveland 4 years, 9 months 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...

Starlight 4 years, 9 months ago

The fine should be $500, $1000 if you caused a wreck speeding. Then it might actually be a deterrent.

SinoHawk 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm pretty sure that fining somebody $500 for going 31 in a 30 is unduly burdensome. Just think of how many struggling families would be hurt by such a heavy MINIMUM fine.

Frankly, the costs are already outrageous. If they want to increase the fines for higher speed, then fine. I find it ridiculous that the minimum fine is already well over $100.

cowboy 4 years, 9 months 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.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

You may be right about fines being too high.

But, $150 isn't a week's pay at minimum wage - that would be about double that, at $290. $7.25x40=$290.

I'd actually like to see the city enforce traffic violations more, not less - particularly things like turning without signaling, etc.

weeslicket 4 years, 9 months ago

the actual take home pay would be closer to $150 that $300, and that's still assuming 40 actual work hours a week.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

I get about $230, which is about halfway.

And, yes, when somebody says "a week's pay at minimum wage", it's likely they mean an actual 40 hours of work.

Food_for_Thought 4 years, 9 months ago

Just FYI, you do realize that if someone gets a defective equipment ticket that they can get it dropped (meaning pay nothing) if they fix it within a specified amount of time, right? Also, whether or not you can afford a ticket, you can work out monthly payments with the municipal court, but you have to APPEAR in court to arrange such do realize this...don't you?

Missingit 4 years, 9 months 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.

Silverhair 4 years, 9 months 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.

Joe Hyde 4 years, 9 months 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).

windjammer 4 years, 9 months ago

Do not listen to Joe Hyde it is just plain dangerous to set your cruise in town. Who is Joe Hyde to tell the public how to drive.

JayCat_67 4 years, 9 months ago

I've used it "in town" heading south of K-10 on Church street in Eudora. Not real heavy traffic or a lot of intersections, but it's really easy to speed in that area, and the police there patrol it regularly. I think that's really the only place I'd do it though.

patkindle 4 years, 9 months 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

kef104 4 years, 9 months 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.

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months 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.

windjammer 4 years, 9 months ago

Are you out of your mind ? 80 mph around town on a trafficway. Pack your lunch in a bucket if you don't have enough time speedy.

MarcoPogo 4 years, 9 months ago

75 on Redbud Lane sounds like a good plan.

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

80 if it's a divided four lane. Better?

I may have done 80 down 23rd, Louisiana to Mass showing some guy with an late 60s Chevelle he needs to spend more on his engine. OTOH, I might not have done that.

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't want carte blanch. I'm going to drive as fast as I want. I just think they should free up traffic by getting the rest of the SLT in place and finishing the current road work before boosting fines for speeding.

patkindle 4 years, 9 months 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

Eugehne Normandin 4 years, 9 months 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

kernal 4 years, 9 months 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.

truebluejb1958 4 years, 9 months ago

I say the exact same thing all the time. A stop sign doesn't mean anything to some people. And, if you are already speeding up to get through the green light at a thousand feet away and the light turns red, then speed up some more to get thru the red light. After all, one car runs the red light, then another, then another. I see this every day. That would be a lot of revenue for the city. Oh no! Someone will get angry that I stepped on their toes. The truth hurts. Doesn't it.

Rick Aldrich 4 years, 9 months ago

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

gccs14r 4 years, 9 months 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.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 9 months ago


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.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 9 months ago

Most of the the time there is not a worker in sight. So the city makes you drive for 1/4 mile at 25 miles per hour and you can easily see there is nothing going on. A ticket for going 31 mph one of these stretches can run you close to $300.

There is clearly something wrong with the size of these fines.

Greg DiVilbiss 4 years, 9 months ago

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

rbwaa 4 years, 9 months ago

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

Paul Wilson 4 years, 9 months 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 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.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Posted speed limits are maximum, not minimum speeds.

Tailgating is rude and dangerous.

woodscolt 4 years, 9 months 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.

Kevin Kelly 4 years, 9 months 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!

woodscolt 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree with a lot of what you have posted but just because someone breaks the law doesn't mean that any punishment should be acceptable. Your nuclear options go beyond that part where "the punishment should fit the crime" thing.

Kevin Kelly 4 years, 9 months ago

Sure would make people think a little more before they break the law. Obviously what is applied now is not working. It is not safe in Lawrence to drive, bike, or walk. Better look twice before you go on that green light..

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

A week in jail would be a vacation for most working people.

patkindle 4 years, 9 months 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

Jeremiah Jefferson 4 years, 9 months 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.

weeslicket 4 years, 9 months 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??

Chris Phillips 4 years, 9 months 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.

Maggie Morrissey 4 years, 9 months 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’s not rocket science people!!!

Carol Bowen 4 years, 9 months 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.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 9 months 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.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 9 months ago

Fines are not part of the free market, but fines are a result of free market inflation. It's a cost that is easily avoided. Follow the traffic laws.

Sue Grosdidier 4 years, 9 months 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...........

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months 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

Commenting has been disabled for this item.