Parking Fines Are Unconstitutionally Excessive, Violate Due Process, Claims Class Action Suit

Jennifer Abel writes in Consumer Affairs about an interesting approach to fighting parking tickets: a class-action federal suit complaining that the end result constitutes an unconstitutionally "excessive" fine.


Lead plaintiff Jesus Pimentel ran up a $63 expired parking meter fine, which is bad enough, but the city gave him only two weeks to pay before doubling the fine. Then there was a $28 "delinquent" fee and a $21 "collection" fee. Add it all up and Pimentel was out $175, which he thinks is so excessive it's downright unconstitutional, Courthouse News Service reported. 

Besides the money, Pimentel was miffed when the DMV threatened to withhold his car's registration if he didn't pay up, the city threatened to boot and impound his car while also holding out the possibility of civil litigation, damage to his credit rating and garnishing of his state tax refund. This, says Pimentel, violated the Due Process clause.....

Pimentel's fines come to 336 percent of the daily median income for a Latino Angeleno.

I wrote last month on how the pettiest end of state enforcement of laws regarding things like vehicular and body movement can quickly escalate to life-ruining problems.

[Hat tip: Jeff Patterson]

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  • SIV||

    Jennifer Abel


  • Pro Libertate||

    While you're at it, much the same could be said for speeding tickets, which are absurd 90% of the time. The whole idea is that speeding is supposed to be illegal because it's dangerous, not because GOTCHA--PAY UP! It's particularly foolish when everyone in this country drives 80 mph on all interstates and multi-lane highways.

  • Agammamon||

    I'm not sure how they're going to show this. Pretty much *all* punishments for breaking law are decided both by the severity of the crime and by what is *necessary* to produce incentives to *not commit* the crime.

    If the ticket was $5 it wouldn't serve its purpose. And it sounds like $175 doesn't either.

    OTOH - I'm not a supporter of added on fees. A fine should be what the legislator levees, no needing to search through a half-dozen regulation manuals to find all the hidden costs.

  • SIV||

    Some states have legislated low fines which are grossly inflated by "court costs". My only speeding ticket was like a $30 fine with $150 court costs for mailing in the signed citation with a money order.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've long thought some other disincentive system that doesn't serve as its primary, secondary, and tertiary purpose the enrichment of the state might be a nice change of pace.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    I've thought about the possibility of having all fines donated to charity. There are abuse potentials in that, too, but I bet they can be minimized if city or state allows a wide range of charities to choose from.

  • ||

    This so reminds me of Conrad in "A Man in Full."

  • RishJoMo||

    Legalized Theft! US Government, biggest racket around!


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