It Shouldn’t Cost Anything to Fight a Ticket

Let’s get something straight, speeding tickets are issued because going faster than an arbitrarily selected speed is dangerous, they’re issued because speeding tickets are sources of profit. Actually this is true of almost every type of fine and citation that the government issues and that’s why they try to make it as difficult as possible to fight.

Take a look at Northampton, Massachusetts; it costs $319.90 to fight a ticket:

Vincent Gillespie said the $319.90 cost of appealing his July 19, 2005, parking ticket in Hampshire Superior Court far exceeded the $15 fine.


Because Northampton’s system did not include the option of appearing before a hearing officer, as it does now, Gillespie filed for summary judgment in Hampshire Superior Court, saying he was denied his rights. Judge Bertha D. Josephson found in his favor, but ruled in the city’s favor on Gillespie’s Constitutional argument that the fee system effectively denied him access to the courts.

A common complain when you mention privatized courts is that those without means won’t be able to receive justice as they couldn’t afford going to court. To that I ask, what’s the difference between private and public courts? As it currently sits many courts require you to pay a large fee, much larger than most citations issued by the government, in order to fight a citation. This is by design though, the government just wants your money and in order to get it they’re making it difficult for you to contest their decision to write you a citation.

I received a parking ticket in St. Paul last winter for $35.00. My options were to go before a hearings officer who would then determine whether or not I had a valid reason to contest the ticket. If he didn’t agree my reason was valid the cost of going to court was something akin to $100.00 (plus all the time I’d have to take off of work, gas to get there, etc.). Having the option of going before a hearings officer is also malarkey because the government shouldn’t be in charge of determining whether your grievance with the government is valid. Anytime a grievance occurs a neutral third-party should be used to judge whether a grievance is valid or not. After all, if you had a grievance against Ford you wouldn’t go to an employee of Ford to determine the validity of your grievance.

In summary the cost of fighting a citation is purposely set to prevent people from fighting them. The government wants your money and they want to get it with the least amount of hassle possible. If you fight it they have to utilize their resources (which you pay for, so you’re effectively paying them to fight you as well) which requires work and as we know government goons are adverse to work.

As people living in a supposedly free society we should demand that the government hears our grievances with them at no additional expense to ourselves. We already pay for the government, we pay them to write us citations, we pay them to run the court, we pay for the paper citations are written on, we pay for the whole damned thing. Since we’re already paying for a whole system we shouldn’t be required to pay more when we believe the system that we pay for has wronged us in some way.