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Is law enforcement too aggressive with traffic tickets?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2021 | Traffic tickets

When police face claims about excessive behavior, the first scenario that comes to mind is an incident involving unreasonable force. In New Jersey, some worry that law enforcement might act unreasonably and excessively in other areas of their formal duties. Specifically, concerns exist about whether the police have become overly aggressive with the issuance of traffic tickets.

Going too far when issuing traffic citations

Questions exist about whether law enforcement issues tickets as a matter of public safety or revenue collection. Fines from traffic tickets go to the state’s treasury, so money motivations may exist. That said, someone driving 20 mph over the speed limit in a school zone likely deserves a high fine. Dissuading such dangerous behavior seems reasonable.

Motorists who repeatedly commit moving violations might lose their driving privileges. When someone’s behavior proves too dangerous for the roads, a license suspension or revocation appears justified. However, national statistics show that some drivers suffer due to an excessive approach to issuing traffic tickets.

Someone may receive citations for behavior that did not come close to hurting anyone or putting anyone at risk. Drivers could face significant fines for such minor offenses, and repeat offenses add points and more fines.

The inability to pay a fine

Someone could make an inexcusable traffic violation and face a fine. In other instances, the traffic ticket could be dubious. A police officer might write a traffic ticket for someone not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign when the driver did stop. Fighting the ticket remains an option, but many drivers may not know how to go about it.

People of limited financial means could find themselves unable to appear in court if doing so means risking their jobs. The no-show could mean the ticket stands, along with the fine. The inability to pay fines may result in a license suspension, creating more hardships.

Being overly aggressive with traffic tickets might have unfortunate costs to the community. Persons unable to drive may become unable to work. Such a situation may have little or no bearing on public safety and financially punishes someone who made a minor mistake.