Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Outrageous Traffic Fines, McHenry County

Is the fine for a speeding ticket in McHenry County really $164.00?

Recently I had occasion to look up traffic fines. (No, I did not get a ticket.) I found a schedule that shows the fine for a citation up to and including June 30, 2019 was $120.00. If you waited until July 1, 2019 to get caught for speeding, the fine is $164.00. That's an increase of 36.7%.

The new schedule combines the violations for 1-20MPH above the limit and 21-25MPH over. In other words, the fine is the same whether a County mountie runs you down and cites you for 25MPH over or a Bull Valley cop cites you for 1MPH over. (Assuming there still are Bull Valley cops and that the ticket is answerable in McHenry County Court, not in the "Bull Valley system".

The minimum fine appears to be $164.00 and that's if you pay in advance and plead guilty.

If you go to court, the judge will assess the fine AND you will be responsible for court costs and fees.

The traffic judge might take pity on you and set your fine at $100. You'll breathe a sigh of relief and walk out of the courtroom thinking you have saved $64.00.

BUT... just wait until you walk up to the payment window.

One Google search result for the amount of court costs and fees revealed: 

"Minor traffic ticket court costs would be $226.00 (schedule 10) in addition to the fine set by the judge. Major traffic offenses would be $325.00 (schedule 9) in court costs plus the court ordered fine."

So that speeding ticket fine of $164.00 plus $226.00 will cost you $390.00 to walk out of the courthouse!!!

Why isn't there a revolution in McHenry County???

Remember when a burned-out headlight was $75.00? (2007) Or failing to signal a right turn far enough ahead of an intersection? $75.00

Well, somebody has to pay for that fancy courthouse and all those employees and judges sitting there, and YOU are that somebody.

Judges will tell you not to get mad at the women at the payment counter. They only collect the money. Court costs and fees are set by State legislators and the McHenry County Board. There is where you direct your anger and outrage!

If you are going to plead guilty, mail in your fine and waiver BEFORE the court date. Or take it in person to the courthouse BEFORE your court date (which you probably cannot do during the COVID-19 health crisis). 

Even if you walk into court and plead guilty, you are going to get slammed with the court costs on top of the fine!!!  $390.00 worth of Slam.