One of society’s most valued rights, the right to due process, is violated on a regular basis without the knowledge of the public at large. Traffic courts are making Californians pay their ticket fines and fees before they are able to contest the ticket in court. This “Bail for Trial” strategy essentially keeps low-income people with traffic violations from ever having a day in court or a chance to erase the infraction.
The fines, usually in excess of $500, may be unaffordable to a great amount of people, making it very difficult for them to pay the amount. This, in turn, keeps them from fighting the ticket. The hefty prices only carry a base fine of about $100, meaning the rest is made up of fees used to generate revenue and to fund various government operations.
Until recently, this secret tax on Californians was unbeknownst to most. The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, began the movement to make it clear that citizens of California do not have to pay the ticket fee in order to be heard in court. Cantil-Sakauye is also hoping to take a look at the widespread effect of this due process violation to see in which other areas of law the similar deprivation of fundamental rights may occur.
All in all, this is a sign of progress toward ensuring government officials and citizens of California realize the importance of preserving Due Process rights.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, or their professional license is at risk, contact Attorney Miranda McCroskey for an immediate consultation at (833) 865-6253 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.