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Thread: Income based Traffic Fines
01-11-10, 09:44 AM #1
Income based Traffic Fines
GENEVA — European countries are increasingly pegging speeding fines to income as a way to punish wealthy scofflaws who would otherwise ignore tickets.
Advocates say a $290,000 speeding ticket slapped on a millionaire Ferrari driver in Switzerland was a fair and well-deserved example of the trend.
Germany, France, Austria and the Nordic countries also issue punishments based on a person's wealth. In Germany the maximum fine can be as much as $16 million compared to only $1 million in Switzerland. Only Finland regularly hands out similarly hefty fine to speeding drivers, with the current record believed to be a $190,000 ticket in 2004.
The Swiss court appeared to set a world record when it levied the fine in November on a man identified in the Swiss media only as "Roland S." Judges in the eastern canton of St. Gallen described him as a "traffic thug" in their verdict, which only recently came to light.
"As far as we're concerned this is very good," Sabine Jurisch, a road safety campaigner with the Swiss group Road Cross.
She said rich drivers were lightly punished until Swiss voters approved a 2007 penal law overhaul that let judges hand down fines based on personal income and wealth for moderate misdemeanors including excessive speeding and drunk driving. Before, they had to assign relatively small fixed penalties or — rarely — a few days in prison.
full story at
Europe Slapping Rich With Massive Traffic Fines - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News - FOXNews.com
01-11-10, 09:48 AM #2
Thank God for equal protection under the law here. That is insane.
Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat
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01-11-10, 02:06 PM #3
Thats ridiculous.No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
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01-11-10, 06:30 PM #4
While kinda ridiculous, it also makes sense. If you're a multimillionaire, a $100-200 ticket means absolutely nothing to you. For somebody making minimum wage, that ticket is punishment. So by adjusting the ticket, it's now a punishment to everybody.Alpha Phi Sigma Alum - Alpha Delta Chapter
01-11-10, 07:29 PM #5I'm your huckleberry...
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!
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01-11-10, 07:32 PM #6
"Advocates say a $290,000 speeding ticket slapped on a millionaire Ferrari driver in Switzerland was a fair and well-deserved example of the trend... In the latest Swiss case, the court took into account the man's history of similar offenses, the high speed with which he drove through a small village (60 miles an hour, nearly twice the 30 mph limit), and his estimated personal wealth of over $20 million."
First of all I believe that there should be equal punishment no matter who you are.
$290,000 / $20,000,000 "estimated" wealth = 0.0145%
Even if you're an advocate for a sliding scale I think that if you multiply your personal wealth by that rate the fine seems high. I'm not certain how they "estimated" his wealth, but I tried adding up the savings in my bank account, vehicle value and the equity in my home. After multiplying my estimated wealth by 0.0145% the resulting fine by that scale would be significantly higher than the amount I'd pay, for a 30 over ticket, with the system currently in place in my state. Sometimes the system here frustrates me, but the Swiss system does not seem fair.
The logic behind it doesn't make sense either. Punishing people who ignore tickets? If the fine is such a trivial amount to the motorists they would probably just pay it without care. I expect more people would dispute the ticket if the fine was especially heavy, as in the example above. Or if they do ignore the ticket, suspend their privilege to drive for failing to answer the summons.
If there is a point system in place to punish habitual offenders, I think it will work across the board. It doesn't matter if you're driving a Hyundai or a Bugatti. You're going to regret it when your car is impounded and you're chained to a bench waiting to see a judge to answer for your suspensions."never bring paws to a gunfight" - Jenna
01-11-10, 10:40 PM #7
"Equal protection" wouldn't do squat to prevent that here. Financial status isn't a suspect classification like race, gender, religion, et al., meaning strict or intermediate scrutiny wouldn't apply. Rational basis scrutiny would apply, and the law would almost certainly pass that test.
We already have significant financial status based laws in effect (tax laws, for example). The only thing keeping that from passing here is unpopularity.
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