York and New Jersey Speeding and Traffic Ticket
Defense Attorney since 2000
response: Scan and email me your ticket here
or fax it to fax# 845-818-3905
Matisyahu Wolfberg, Esq. NY & NJ Traffic and Criminal Defense Attorney since 2000
Matisyahu Wolfberg, Esq. NY & NJ Traffic and Criminal Defense Attorney since 2000New York State Point Chart for New York
Speeding tickets and New York Moving Violations
|Speeding (MPH over
speed limit not indicated)
||Following too closely
|Speeding (MPH over speed limit):
improperly, changing lanes unsafely, driving to the left of center,
driving in the wrong direction
|1 - 10 MPH
||Cellphone or texting
- 20 MPH
to obey a traffic signal, a Stop sign, or a Yield sign
|21 - 30 MPH
- 40 MPH
to yield the right-of-way
|More than 40 MPH
violation, including seat belt and child safety seat violations for
passengers under the age of 16
the scene of an accident that includes property damage or the injury of
a domestic animal
|Failed to stop for a
||Other moving violations
brakes (vehicle of an employer)
be very confusing to figure out how the DMV Calculates Your Point
The DMV computer system automatically calculates your point total as
You must be convicted of the traffic violation for the points to be
added to your point total, but the calculation of your point total is
based on the date of the violation, not the date of the
The points for violations that all occurred within the last 18 months
of one another are added together to calculate your point
The record of the conviction, and the points, are listed on your driver
record for as long as the conviction remains on your record. The
information about the conviction and points is not removed after 18
months from the violation date. Only the calculation of your point
total changes. Learn more about convictions and your driver
18 months after the violation date, the points disappear
4 years after the conviction date, the conviction disappears
Example #1 (18 months after the violation date, the points
1st 6 point ticket is received January 1, 2008,
2nd 6 point ticket is received June 2, 2009
that equals 12 points and suspension, right? WRONG, the 6 points for
the first violation disappeared on June, 1, 2009
Example #2 (18 months after the violation date, the points disappear):
1st 6 point ticket is received January 1, 2008, conviction is entered
January 2, 2011
2nd 6 point ticket is received January 1, 2009 conviction is entered
January 2, 2012
that equals 12 points and suspension, right? CORRECT, the motorist
would have 12 points, even if the convictions happened long after each
other, the DMV goes back to WHEN YOU RECEIVED THE TICKET.
Example #3 (4 years after the conviction date, the conviction
1st 6 point ticket is received January 1, 2008, and conviction is
entered on Janauary 2, 2010
2nd 6 point ticket is received June 2, 2009 and conviction is entered
on June 2, 2011
as of June 2, 2011, how many speeding tickets appear on the record that
the Insurance company sees? the answer is: Both appear.
The Effect of Points
If your point total reaches 11 points or more based on the calculation
described above, the DMV notifies you and suspends your driver license.
You can request a DMV hearing only to show that a different person
committed the violations. You cannot request a DMV hearing to prove
that you were not guilty of the violations. You cannot request a DMV
hearing to request a waiver of the suspension.
Fight Speeding and Traffic
the following New York and New Jersey Counties: Albany County, Allegany
County, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Bronx County, Broome County,
Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cattaraugus County,
Cayuga County, Chautauqua County, Chemung County, Chenango County,
Clinton County, Columbia County, Cortland County, Cumberland County,
Delaware County, Dutchess County, Erie County, Essex County, Essex
County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Genesee County, Gloucester
County, Greene County, Hamilton County, Herkimer County, Hudson County,
Hunterdon County, Jefferson County, Kings County, Lewis County,
Livingston County, Madison County, Mercer Middlesex County, Monmouth
County, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Morris County, Nassau County,
New York County, Niagara County, Ocean County County, Oneida County,
Onondaga County, Ontario County, Orange County, Orleans County, Oswego
County, Otsego County, Passaic County, Putnam County, Queens County,
Rensselaer County, Richmond County, Rockland County, Salem County,
Saratoga County, Schenectady County, Schoharie County, Schuyler County,
Seneca County, Somerset County, St. Lawrence County, Steuben County,
Suffolk County, Sullivan County, Sussex County, Tioga County, Tompkins
County, Ulster County, Union County, Warren County, Warren County,
Washington County, Wayne County, Westchester County, Wyoming County,
SOUTHEAST, N.Y. ó New York State police have issued 29 traffic tickets and made one DWI arrest during a six-hour period.
Troopers patrolled I-684 in Westchester and Putnam counties between 9 p.m. Saturday and 3 am. Sunday.
say they issued 11 speeding violations, one seatbelt violation and tickets on 17 other offenses.
A 29-year-old Carmel man was arrested on a DWI charge in the Town of Southeast. Police say he was driving 97 mph in a 65 mph zone.
Dad jumps out of car to save boy, gets traffic tickets
Itís things like this that give cops a bad rap.
A New Jersey man whose car rolled over a cliff after he jumped out to save his son from falling over the edge was slapped with $110 in traffic tickets Thursday.
Frank Roder, 38, of Winifield Park, took his son Aidan to the river to feed ducks after school. Just before he finished parking his Jeep, the boy jumped out of the car and started running toward the edge of the 35-foot cliff nearby, Fox News reported.
ďI saw him running towards this log... I just envisioned him like, hopping over it to go to the water,Ē Roder told New Jersey 101.5 radio. ďAnd once you hopped over it was straight down. And I just panicked and jumped out after him.Ē
Roder caught his son just feet before the edge of the cliff, Fox News reported. The two then turned to see the jeep roll straight over the edge into the river below.
Union Country police arrived on the scene and a crane pulled the car out of the water.
A cop gave Roder two tickets ó one for failing to produce the insurance card, which was somewhere in the drowned car, and the other for failing to use his emergency break, Fox News reported.
The tickets were for $50 and $60.
Roder told Fox News he was shocked. He said the cop told him that if he had just taken five seconds to apply the brake this never would have happened.
ďI say, ĎReally? And if I did and my boy stepped over the edge and fell instead of the Jeep, then were would I be?í He says, ĎJail, for child endangerment,íĒ Roder told Fox News.
Roder said he actually thought he did put the car in park. He said he grabbed the windshield wiper switch thinking it was the shifter, which is on the steering wheel in his car. He was driving his wifeís car that day, he told 101.5 radio.
Roder will appear in municipal court May 30 where he may get forebearance on the tickets.
Union County Police Chief Daniel Vaniska told Fox News his officers have some discretion about when and when not to write a ticket, and admitted in this case, ďIt probably could have gone either way.Ē
New York State -- NY State Police troopers handed out more than 1,900 speeding tickets to New York Thruway drivers during a weeklong August 2012 safe-driving campaign.
ďOperation Summer BrakeĒ was created by the New York State Police to help prevent reckless driving behaviors and to stress the importance of highway driving laws, according to a state Thruway Authority news release Wednesday.
ďThe busy summer travel season has ended, but ĎOperation Summer Brakeí did its job by heightening motoristsí awareness of safe driving in work zones, by ticketing speeders, and aggressive and distracted drivers, and by getting many intoxicated drivers off the roads,Ē said Thomas Madison, the organizationís executive director, in a statement issued to the press.
New Yorkís state troopers issue more than 900,000 tickets a year, (wow!) even though they total only 6 percent of the stateís law enforcement officers, according to the release. Troopers issue approximately 55 percent of speeding tickets and 47 percent of seat-belt and child-seat law violations, and they make 30 percent of DWI arrests. So slow down out there!
New York State Police Troop T Sgt. Thomas Ferritto said in a statement released to the press, that the campaign offered a chance to inform drivers about enforcement efforts across the state of New York.
ďWe are particularly pleased to have the chance to educate motorists about the Ďmove over lawí and protect maintenance workers, tow-truck operators and state troopers,Ē he said.
PICKENS, S.C. -- A South Carolina police officer who issued a speeding ticket to Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney was fired after using company equipment to post an account of it on the Internet.
Pickens Police Chief Rodney Gregory said in a release that officer Michael McClatchy used a department computer on Sept. 14 to detail what he said happened during the stop. Swinney was clocked going 63 mph in a 35 mph zone on Sept. 3 on the way to his radio call-in show. He was cited for speeding and the officer reduced the penalty to a minimum fine and points, according to Gregory.
McClatchy's post said he thought Swinney expected to be excused for the violation.
Gregory said Swinney paid the fine and apologized. No. 10 Clemson plays at No. 4 Florida State on Saturday night.
NJ woman jailed for decade-old traffic ticket
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
NEW YORK ó A New Jersey woman says she spent a night in a New York City jail after police discovered she had a decade-old traffic summons.
Krystle Garcia tells NBC New York that she was arrested Thursday at a Manhattan checkpoint.
Garcia was 17 when she received the forgotten summons. It was issued because she did not have an insurance card with her.
Garcia said she received, and paid, other tickets in New York after that. She was able to renew her New Jersey driverís license and registration without any issues.
Garcia, who works in New York City, agreed to a $155 fine. But she said her 14-hour ordeal in a holding cell was ďhorrifying.Ē
She said she shared her story because she doesnít want it to happen to anyone else.
Internet entrepreneur Julien Chabbott, 28, was arrested after he allegedly used his $260,000 (£165,00) luxury Ferrari Spider to run over the foot of a police officer writing him a ticket in New York on Sunday, according to police.
Mr Chabbottís girlfriend, Stephanie Pratt, a reality TV star in the US, watched the drama unfold.
As the footage of the incident shows, she later retrieved items from the Ferrari after the arrest and left the scene.
The whole scene was captured by 17-year-old New Yorker Damian Morys who was passing the Mercer hotel when the incident happened.
He said: "It was a pretty crazy situation. I was definitely at the right place at the right time - I couldn't believe it was unfolding before my eyes and that I was actually capturing it on video.
Lathrup Village police will decide later today or Wednesday whether to let stand a traffic citation Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh received this month for driving without due care and caution.
Police Chief William Armstrong said he plans to meet with the city attorney this afternoon to discuss whether that charge should go forward as is, be dropped altogether or whether Suh should be reissued a speeding ticket.
Suh was cited Nov. 15 as he drove his black Land Rover northbound on Southfield Road, just north of 11 Mile. Armstrong said no drivers complained about the incident, but the officer who issued the ticket thought Suh was driving at a high rate of speed as he passed cars on the right and nearly caused an accident.
After watching dashboard video of the incident, Armstrong said he feels ďthe charge wasnít proper for what Mr. Suh did.Ē
ďI would have said, if anything, speeding,Ē Armstrong said. ďAnd looking at the video tape, itís hard to say exactly how fast he was going. When you look at the video, it appears that heís traveling faster than the other vehicles around him, but was it excessive? I donít think it was excessive, and heís merging over and from what I see on the tape, as far as when he merges over, my opinion, I donít see the near-accident.Ē
Armstrong said no radar reading was taken. Suh, who has been involved in at least four other traffic incidents since the Lions drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, was polite and cooperative during the traffic stop.
ďThe officer was telling him why he stopped him, and Suh was explaining to the officer what he did, and that was, basically, it,Ē Armstrong said. ďItís hard to hear Suh, but from talking to the officer, there was nothing going on. It sounds like Suh apologized, and that was it.Ē
Last month, Suh was involved in a minor fender bender as he drove to the Lions' practice facility along the Southfield Freeway. Neither driver was issued a ticket.
In March, Suh was ticketed for doing 91 m.p.h. in a 55-m.p.h. zone in his native Portland, Ore. Last December, while he was home in Oregon and serving a two-game suspension for stomping on an opponent in a game, Suh lost control of his 1970 Chevrolet Coupeand hit a tree, a light pole and a drinking fountain. He was sued this summer by a passenger in the car.
As a rookie, Suh was involved in a two-car accident when a Honda Civic struck his Land Rover as he drove through a Royal Oak intersection. Police ticketed the driver of the Civic.
Suh also was ticketed for negligent driving during his final season at Nebraska, when he reportedly sideswiped three parked cars.
The Lions did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ó A Fla. man is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after he was pulled over by police who found he had been driving with a portion of a traffic sign lodged in his head.
Leslie Richard Newton, 63, was driving when he crashed into a median then a traffic sign, but continued driving. Apparently part of the sign went through his windshield and was embedded in his head, according to Action News Jax.
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After officers pulled him over, he was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Authorities believe alcohol was a factor in the accident. Nobody else was injured.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Now that's one angry judge.
Brian Levine, working on Staten Island for the Department of Motor Vehicles, has the highest conviction rate of any traffic court judge in New York City, and he might also be the angriest.
In a March 2011 arbitrator's ruling obtained by the Advance concerning an incident in 2009, Levine was ordered to attend a monitored counseling program to focus on "human relations" and "anger management" after a formal complaint was filed against him for wild outbursts during a routine hearing.
After multiple Freedom of Information Law requests, the state DMV refused to release any documentation related to Levine, a public employee, because none of the complaints against him "resulted in a final agency action," according a letter received by the Advance on October 18.
Although that was the reason for the DMV's refusal to release information, it seems like there was, in fact, plenty of "action" taken against Levine for his nasty demeanor.
In addition to being ordered to seek 35 hours of professional help for anger issues, the arbitrator's ruling also stated that an "appropriate penalty is a written warning to become part of the grievant's personnel file."
And an Employee Assistance Program official was to monitor and submit a final report to the DMV's Director of Labor Relations upon Levine's completion of counseling.
After the complaint was filed concerning the November 2009 incident, the Advance found that the DMV investigated the incident and gave Levine a notice of discipline dated May 5, 2010.
The DMV did not clarify why it refused to originally release the information. In the documentation obtained by the Advance, it appears that formal action was taken against Levine. The DMV also refused to allow Levine to speak with the Advance. ¬ź
¬źTHE COURT INCIDENT
All of this began November 18, 2009, when a Metropolitan Transportation Authority mechanic was road testing a bus on an un-named "parkway" that buses are usually not allowed on, but he had a permit allowing him to do so, according the arbitrator's records.
An MTA representative for the mechanic brought in a photocopy of the permit to court, thinking that the ticket would be thrown out, but he was "treated abrasively, demeaned and insulted," by Levine, according to the arbitrator's records.
Staten Island Advance photoBy the numbers, Judge Brian Levine is the toughest administrative judge employed by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, with an 87.1 percent conviction rate.
Also included was a brief transcript of exactly what Levine said during the November 2009 hearing.
Despite being an MTA representative and having a photocopy of the permit, Levine said: "No photocopies. Not that I'm telling you that you guys would have the audacity to make phony photocopies. I'll be very blunt with you. I think you guys would. OK. I don't trust the MTA. I don't trust any government agency."
Levine went on to rail against MTA bus drivers that he sees "on that parkway every day, and I'm fed up with seeing your buses on there."
He then goes on to threaten to "have him arrested" if the permit was forged in any way, yelling in a fevered pitch at the attorney, according to his account. ¬ź
When he's not screaming and berating motorists, Levine can often be seen doodling on a note pad not even giving defendants the appearance that he is listening to them, said another lawyer with knowledge of the DMV's administration who wished to remain anonymous.
"He makes the motorist feel that he is not listening and not giving them a chance to present their case," the lawyer said. "It's frustrating. The whole bias there is that the motorist is guilty until proven innocent. Justice is not being dispensed in that court."
This lawyer said aside from the judge's personal bias against motorists, the entire traffic court system in the city breeds bias.
Levine, a DMV employee who in 2011 raised more than $1 million in fines for his employer, might get a free pass for his actions based on that figure, which is by far the most money raised by a traffic judge in New York City.
"For the most part they back him up because of the money he brings in," the lawyer said. "How he speaks to people in the courtroom, his tone, his manor, his demeanor is inappropriate."
So has Levine mellowed since his anger management training?
Islanders who have come before him don't seem to think so.
"Levine is the worst," said Frank Ciaramella of Annadale, who appeared before Levine for a seat belt violation. "He's demeaning. He's got a bad attitude, and he should not be sitting there. He's got a chip on his shoulder the size of New York. For whatever happened in his past he should not take it to work with him."
A woman who wished to remain anonymous said it was obvious that Levine was not even listening to her, and he fined her for being on a cell phone. She claims she was not, and said she had proof.
"He totally took the officer's side; he didn't what to hear it," she said. "I brought the proof of my incoming, my outgoing and my missed calls; he said it's not acceptable."
She produced a print-out from the phone company of her call records and Levine did not accept it as proof that she was not driving while on her cell phone.
Police say a traffic citation issued to Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in suburban Detroit will stand.
Lions DT Ndamukong Suh avoided suspension after his actions against Texans QB Matt Schaub.
Lathrup Village Police Chief William Armstrong said Tuesday he wasn't sure the Nov. 15 citation for driving without due care and caution would hold up after having watched video footage of Suh's driving that day.
But after consulting with the city attorney, Armstrong said Wednesday the decision was made to go forward and have Suh ''either pay the fine or fight the ticket.''
An officer wrote up Suh after seeing the third-year pro driving fast and passing cars from the right lane.
Suh has been sued for $1 million by a woman who claims she was injured when Suh was in a car crash last December in Portland, Ore.
Most Tickets Written: Washington, DC
Ohio residents will be surprised that itís Washington, DC (yeah, not technically a ďstate,Ē but whatever) that writes the most speeding tickets. With just over half a million residents, DCís Finest writes more than 430,000 tickets a year. It beats out the next state in the top ten Ė Wyoming Ė by a factor of ten. Save your money. Visit some other place.
Most Unmarked State Police Cars: Connecticut
In all my years driving in New England, Iíve never seen a fully marked Connecticut State Police car. Thatís because only one is assigned to every troop. Apparently, theyíre white with yellow and blue markings. Most Connecticut State Police cars are silver, with a pushbar up front and a low-profile lightbar on the roof, which carries the only ďState PoliceĒ marking on the car. Connecticutís also been notorious for using Camaros, Mustangs, Grand Nationals and other non-traditional cars as unmarked patrol cars on the stateís highways.
The New York City Police Department today announced the results of a speed enforcement initiative conducted citywide this past weekend. Officers issued 736 speeding summonses to motorists. The initiative is a part of the NYPDís efforts to limit speeding and traffic infractions that cause death and injury.
Traffic fatalities are down 30 percent over the past decade but speeding remains the leading contributor of collisions citywide.
There were 266 summonses issued in Queens, 213 in the Bronx, 113 in Brooklyn, 97 in Manhattan and 47 in Staten Island.
The anti-speeding initiative began on Friday, October 11th and ended on Sunday, October 13th.
The city has established 14 neighborhood ďslow zonesĒ and is in the process of finalizing 15 additional. Nine-hundred and ten speed bumps have been installed, and anti-speed zones near 146 schools have been implemented in the last six years.
Various initiatives to combat speeding include the cityís first speed cameras installed earlier this fall, the neighborhood slow zones, and speed bumps.
The NYPD encourages safe driving and reminds the public to obey the speed limit, which in New York City is 30 miles per hour on local streets unless otherwise posted. It is against the law to exceed 50 mph in New York City.
Speeding fines start at $90 and can be as high as $600. Drivers earn from 3 to 11 penalty points for speeding infractions.
Swedish multi-millionaire Anders Wiklof was driving a little too fast. Wilkof, a business man in his native Sweden, was pulled over in neighboring Finland for driving 48 in a 30 MPH zone. He expected a ticket and a fine but was shocked to find out how much it would cost him.
The New York Daily News reports that Wiklof was fined a jaw-dropping amount.
A Swedish multimillionaire has been fined $130,000 for speeding ó because he is so rich. Had he been caught in Sweden, he would have faced a $615 penalty. But fines in Finland are issued based on the driverís wealth Ė and with Wiklof having so much cash, he was hit with the much heftier fee.
via Swedish multimillionaire slapped with $130,000 speeding ticket ó because heís rich Ė NY Daily News.
As if out of a Charles Dickens novel, people struggling to pay overdue fines and fees associated with court costs for even the simplest traffic infractions are being thrown in jail across the United States.
Critics are calling the practice the new "debtors' prison" -- referring to the jails that flourished in the U.S. and Western Europe over 150 years ago. Before the time of bankruptcy laws and social safety nets, poor folks and ruined business owners were locked up until their debts were paid off.
Reforms eventually outlawed the practice. But groups like the Brennan Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union say it's been reborn in local courts which may not be aware it's against the law to send indigent people to jail over unpaid fines and fees -- or they just haven't been called on it until now.
Advocates are trying to convince courts that aside from the legal questions surrounding the practice, it is disproportionately jailing poor people and doesn't even boost government revenues -- in fact, governments lose money in the process.
"It's a waste of taxpayer resources, and it undermines the integrity of the justice system," Carl Takei, staff attorney for the ACLU's National Prison Project, told FoxNews.com.
"The problem is it's not actually much of a money-making proposition ... to throw people in jail for fines and fees when they can't afford it. If counties weren't spending the money jailing people for not paying debts, they could be spending the money in other ways."
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law released a "Tool Kit for Action" in 2012 that broke down the cost to municipalities to jail debtors in comparison with the amount of old debt it was collecting. It doesn't look like a bargain. For example, according to the report, Mecklenburg County, N.C., collected $33,476 in debts in 2009, but spent $40,000 jailing 246 debtors -- a loss of $6,524.
Fines are the court-imposed payments linked to a conviction -- whether it be for a minor traffic violation like driving without a license or a small drug offense, all the way up to felony. Fees are all those extras tacked on by the court to fund administrative services. These vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with some courts imposing more than others.
As states and counties grapple with shrinking budgets and yearly shortfalls, new fees are often imposed to make up the difference, though they can be quite overwhelming to individuals passing through the system -- 80 percent of whom qualify as indigent (impoverished and unable to pay), according to the Brennan Center. Florida, for example, has added 20 new fees since 1996, according to the center. North Carolina imposes late fees on debt not paid and surcharges on payment plans.
More and more, courts are dragging people in for fines and fees that have ballooned due to interest imposed on the initial sums. Some owe money to the public defender's office for the representation they received during their time in court. Others incur hundreds of dollars in fees while they're incarcerated -- for everything from toilet paper to the beds inmates sleep on.
The tab for the average offender could be as low as $250 or as high as $4,000. Both the ACLU and Brennan have been targeting big states with multiple jurisdictions they say are flouting U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 1970, 1971 and 1983. Those rulings essentially say courts cannot extend or impose a jail sentence for unpaid fines and fees if individuals do not have the ability to pay.
At the very least, according to the high court, the courts must inquire and assess whether a person is indigent and might benefit from an alternative method of payment, like community service, before sentencing.
"Even though a lot of jurisdictions do have statutes on the books that allow judges to waive fines and fees, it doesn't always happen," explained Lauren Brooke-Eisen, counsel for the Brennan Center's Justice Program.
Much of the time, probation or the conviction itself will hinder individuals from finding employment (Brennan estimates that some 60 percent are still unemployed a year after leaving jail). But another incarceration over debt could either ruin the job they managed to get or make it even harder to find one.
Many jurisdictions have taken to hiring private collection/probation companies to go after debtors, giving them the authority to revoke probation and incarcerate if they can't pay. Research into the practice has found that private companies impose their own additional surcharges. Some 15 private companies have emerged to run these services in the South, including the popular Judicial Correction Services (JCS).
In 2012, Circuit Judge Hub Harrington at Harpersville Municipal Court in Alabama shut down what he called the "debtors' prison" process there, echoing complaints that private companies are only in it for the money. He cited JCS in part for sending indigent people to jail. Calling it a "judicially sanctioned extortion racket," Harrington said many defendants were locked up on bogus failure-to-appear warrants, and slapped with more fines and fees as a result.
Repeated calls to JCS in Alabama and Georgia were not returned.
Defenders of the collection programs say the money is owed to the state and it's the government's right to go after it. "When, and only when, an individual is convicted of a crime, there are required fees and court costs," Pamela Dembe, president of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, which oversees Philadelphia, said in a statement to reporters in May. An earlier review by the courts found an estimated 400,000 residents owed the city money. "If the defendant doesn't pay, law-abiding taxpayers must pay these costs."
Meanwhile, there's evidence that groups like the ACLU are prompting reforms.
For example, the ACLU released "The Outskirts of Hope," on court practices in Ohio. The report told the story of one couple, John Bundren and Samantha Reed, who both had racked up court fines. Bundren's, which traced back to underage drinking and public intoxication convictions from his teenage years, totaled $3,000. They paid her fines before his, and Bundren ended up spending 41 days in jail because he couldn't pay his own.
The ACLU found that seven out of 11 counties they studied were operating de facto debtors' prisons, despite clear "constitutional and legislative prohibitions." Some were worse than others. In the second half of 2012 in Huron County, 20 percent of arrests were for failure to pay fines. The Sandusky Municipal Court in Erie County jailed 75 people in a little more than a month during the summer of 2012. The ACLU says it costs upwards of $400 in Ohio to execute a warrant and $65 a night to jail people.
As a result of the study, the Ohio State Supreme Court has begun educating judges and personnel on the statutes and constitutional restrictions of collecting fines and fees, Bret Crow, spokesman for the state court, told FoxNews.com. It is also developing a "bench card," intended as a reference guide for county judges.
More recently in Colorado, the state ACLU completed a report on "pay or serve" programs throughout the state. In the case of Wheatridge and Northglenn counties, the penalty was one day in the clink for every $50 owed; in Westminster, every offender got an automatic 10 days in jail.
The report also found that one jail racked up more than $70,000 in costs for incarcerating 154 people over a five-month period in 2012 -- and only managed to collect $40,000 in overdue fines and fees in that time.
Mark Silverstein, a staff attorney at the Colorado ACLU, claimed judges in these courts never assess the defendants' ability to pay before sentencing them to jail, which would be unconstitutional.
John Stipech, Municipal Court judge in Westminster, Colo., told FoxNews.com he agreed with the tenets of the ACLU investigation, but added that the practice of the automatic 10-day jail sentence was already scrapped by Westminster in December 2012. "It was because we had jail space problems and beds needed to be limited to actual criminals," he said.
He complained that local coverage of the ACLU report "makes it sound like we're putting everyone in jail." He said he asks everyone who comes before him if they have the ability to pay. He acknowledged, however, that his court is working with the ACLU and will be instituting formal "show cause" hearings to determine indigence.
"Maybe the ACLU did some good, they brought it to my attention. Maybe they just should have done it in a better way," Stipech said.
Brooke-Eisen said the reform movement is proceeding, albeit slowly in tough fiscal times.
"A lot of the jurisdictions are still using fines and fees and passing legislation to add more fees and fines," she said.
A man in Finland faces a huge fine for speeding.
Reima Kuisla was on his way to the airport and he says he was going 103 KPH (64 MPH) in a 80 KPH (50 MPH) zone when he got pulled over by the police.
In Finland, traffic fines are partially based on income. It turns out that Kuisla is a millionaire so when the officer looked up his tax return and did the math, he handed the driver a fine worth about $60,000.
An upset Kuisla wrote on his Facebook page: "It is no wonder that many people considering moving out of here."