Sunday, November 20, 2016

Exorbitant fees, costs continue in McHenry County Court

I received the following email from a driver who was unlucky enough to encounter the exorbitant court costs and fees in McHenry County Court.

"I wanted to write to you because I came across your post about the outrageous costs, fees, and fines that McHenry County charges people for having the temerity to show at court and dare ask for court supervision. I got a $53.00 ticket for [charge redacted to protect identity of writer]. I went to court to ask for court supervision, and I was slapped with a $315.00 bill. I thought I'd be able to make payments, but I fell behind because I had a hefty car repair that I had to cover. As things stand, I think the bill has gone to collections, which means it will also be a mark on my credit rating as well. I am outraged that the state and the county are gouging people like this. I don't make much money, and I know others are just struggling to get by as well. I agree that I was guilty of talking on my cell phone while driving, but just 6 years ago I was involved in a car accident and my fines and court costs from the fender bender were about half of this! I would like to get people together and see if we could all fight this together as citizens. Any thoughts on how to go about organizing a group to address the state ripping off the citizens?"

What drivers don't know is that, as soon as they don't pay the ticket before court and then set foot in the courtroom, the "costs and fees" take over.

Traffic court judges may still explain that they only set the fine and that the court costs and fees are set by the McHenry County Board and the Great State of Illinois. I have heard judges forewarn those in court not to get mad at the women working at the ticket payment counter on the first floor. However, even at the beginning of court, those who are there do not suspect just how heavy the hammer is going to be. The judge might fine a driver only $25.00, but he knows that driver will get socked with $250 of "court costs and fees" on top of the fine.

There must be a fairer system. If a person intends to plead guilty, they probably don't have to go to court. And they should not! Pay it ahead of time.

Many drivers think they can just walk into the courtroom, plead guilty, and walk out to pay only the fine. SURPRISE. You are about the get screwed over by your government!

You already know what the happy gang of McCounty County Board members will say when you call. But call, anyway. And remember ... these is more power in numbers. If a huge organization sprang up and threatened Board members with retirement at the next election, think they might listen a little harder? 

If you are interested in fighting for a change in the system, send me your name, email address and phone number. I'll forward it to the person whose comment is quoted above.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

https://www.co.mchenry.il.us/home/showdocument?id=22787

This is handed out with every ticket issued. Says right on there in bold print that court costs are expensive. Also says in plain English how to request supervision without going to court. Seems pretty clear to me.

Gus said...

Thanks for providing that.

The problem for the person who is not familiar with how to read all that jargon is, it is confusing and overwhelming. Sure, they could call an attorney and pay $100-200 for an explanation. Instead, they go to court. Then ka-ching, ka-ching.