If I had the power to change things this is what I would do:
1. Find the cheapest towing service in town, instead of the most expensive.
The towing costs the police impound bill us are 3 times higher than the cost of towing on the street privately. They need to stop giving contracts to overpriced tow companies and find a new one that doesnt cost so much.
2. Lower ticket costs drastically. A ticket should be 60-70$, not 280$
Ridiculously overpriced tickets are not a civilized deterrent. The punishment does not fit the crime (if you want to call forgeting to use your blinker a crime) Putting people more in debt does not help the public, it hurts the public.
3. Ticket instead of towing.
Towing should only be used as a very last resort because the car is in the middle of the road or something.
4. Give Warnings instead of tickets if it is something minor.
If I forget to use my blinker or dont come to a dead stop at a stop sign, I dont deserve to get a 300$ fine. A warning would be more reasonable unless I have a history of doing this.
5. DUI fees should fit your income.
They are too overpriced for low income people to pay. They should assess our income and then fine us accordingly to avoid crippling us. Likewise higher income people could be billed more so that the fines are not a joke to them. The hospital assesses our income when billing us, why doesnt the court system?
6. Stop abusing enhancements to make any 1st time offense treated like a 2nd or 3rd.
Unless someone got hit or hurt, the course should be the appropriate one. Longer courses are too expensive and 1st timers dont deserve to get punished like 3rd timers.
7. You should be able to fight your ticket even if you cant afford to first pay it.
The current California Law mandates I first pay it in order to get a trial to fight it. I cant afford to do this due to how overpriced tickets have become. So I cant afford to excercise my right to fight it. I am supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. I should not have to pay the ticket until after I am convicted, not before. Unless I plead no contest and waive my right to a trial, I should not have to pay the ticket before the trial but after the trial. This is unconstitutional.
8. Community Service and Jail time should be lessened for people that are forced to take those options since they dont have the money to buy their way out of this by paying the unfair fines off.
Low income people should not have to suffer so much more for the same trivial misdemeanor. I did not commit a felony so stop treating me as if I did. The time needs to fit the crime.
9. License suspensions should be shorter. Debt should not be a reason to suspend a license.
Los Angeles is huge and has one of the slowest and worst transit systems in the nation. When other metropolises built subways and trains all over them we tore them out and instead built freeways. I cannot get a job or do anything without a car in this freeway county. I might be able to use the subway to do everything in New York or Oakland but not in Los Angeles. Our system is more spread out, slower and much less user friendly. The politicians sold us out to the oil and automobile industry and built freeways instead of rail lines. They are the reason why everyone needs a car to get around in a place as sprawled out as Los Angeles. Now they want to turn around afterwards and tell us that driving is a priviledge and not a right and to go take the bus after helping tear out the rail system and purposely designing our community to be a freeway transportation system requiring people to have cars here. The politicians caused this public trasnsportation mess so for them to be so unsympathetic shows how ignorant of their history they are or how unreasonable they are.
10. Find the cheapest DUI programs possible for people to be ordered to attend.
It seems they picked these ridiculously overpriced DUI programs to do what AA manages to offer the public for free. How is it Victory Outreach and Alcoholics Auynonomous offer similar services to the public for free and it is not even their damn job to provide the publis with services! Yet the government that is supposed to provide these services cant and sends us to the most over priced programs. Its as if the court system went shopping at Macy's for DUI programs instead of shopping at the swap meet or K-Mart. Why are they abusing courtroom jurisdiction to make profit off of people that dont have the money? This is the wrong way to make revenue. It is the reason why I began voting NO on every law enforcement measure and bond that I see on my ballot now. You dont need extra money for court and law enforcement as far as I'm concerned; you are overcharging us too much for every little thing as it is for me to have the same sympathy I used to when I looked at your requests on the ballot for more funding.
11. Allow people payment plans to get their car out of impound.
Currently unless you can pay the 150-260$ impound fees up front all at once, you cannot get your car out of impound. Without a car many people are less able or unable to work. What is upsetting is that if you cant afford to pay the overpriced impoud fee upfront, they keep your car and bill you for each day it is held there. The bill adds up so quickly that many times we end up losing our car to the impound because the bill gets to high for us to possibly pay. It becomes cheaper to buy another used car instead. The system is designed to put us further into debt fast. Once again, low income people end up in a bunch of debt and still losing their car whereas a higher income person can merely pay the fee and drive out of there. This policy does not treat us the same. These scales are not balanced. I should be able to drive out of that impound lot with only a downpayment paid on my bill. I should not be required to pay the entire cost first since they overcharge us so badly for this.
Apparently screwing low income people over through the legal system is big bucks in California. Wealthy people dont really feel the sting. Middle Class hurt, but low income people are bankrupted by it. The system does not treat us equally. Does the police department issue the same size uniform to every single police officer? Or does it first measure them to give them the appropriate size that fits them individually? I dont understand how other government agencies like hospitals have programs in place to lower costs or eliminate costs for people that dont have money, but the court system doesnt have one. This Rambo approach to law enforcement and court sentencing is not fair. What is the point to even having a justice system if it is not fair? Isnt that what the court is supposed to be all about? How can these judges and lawmakers be so ignorant to the people they claim to serve? Or did they just give up on doing their job because they dont care? Either way this is a very disappointing system. I find it very primitive.
" But it's a deterrent "
^^^^^^ This is why I find it primitive. Anything can be a deterent. If we personally executed every politician federally indicted, I'll bet political corruption would drop drastically and we would have all of these big statistics to point to and gloat over. But when you choose such a primitive way of deterring people - Fear because of ridiculous and unconstitutional punishments- well you havent really done much but take the lazy way out of addressing the problem.
We should consider more fair punishments.
We should also consider more incentives.