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Focus on inherent unfairness of flat fines for traffic violations

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2018 | Traffic Violations |

The enforcement power of enacted state and federal American laws should apply with equal force to all citizens, right?

We suspect that virtually all Colorado readers of our blog at the Denver criminal defense firm of Shazam Kianpour & Associates believe that to be true. Arguably, a criminal sanction that visits one person more or less severely than another is patently unfair and even morally indefensible.

That is certainly the viewpoint expressed by the author of a recent opinion piece written in the New York Times. That writer flatly asserts that, “Equity requires punishment that is equally felt.”

And equity is grossly undermined, that op-ed article notes, when fines across the country that are meted out for traffic offenses do not consider the income and/or earning capacity of an offender.

To wit: Is a message of punishment and deterrence (don’t do that again) equally relevant and evenly applied in a case of two offenders with radically differing amounts of wealth? If one of those individuals makes millions of dollars a year and the other is fighting to stave off poverty, is it a fair proposition to fine both of them $150 for speeding?

Revisit that thinking and commonplace American norm, urges the above-cited article, and do it now.

In fact, consider the norm operative in many other countries that impose a “day fine” for such offenses that links a traffic violation outcome with what an offender earns in a day. Clearly, such a system takes inherent inequity out of the equation. If you’re vastly rich, your reckless driving infraction is going to sting you equally as much as it will a dirt-poor driver in an adjacent lane.

Traffic violations carry a bite in any case, and certainly in Colorado, where punishment can result in insurance-rate spikes, an accumulation of adverse licensing points, time and money lost in administrative matters and more. Motorists wishing to fight back against punitive exactions can contact a proven traffic violations attorney for guidance and tailored legal representation.