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Europe slapping the rich with massive traffic fines

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Smashy, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. Smashy

    Smashy

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    Jan 10, 2010 (10:30a CST)
    By FRANK JORDANS (Associated Press Writer)

    GENEVA - European countries are increasingly pegging speeding fines to income as a way to punish wealthy scofflaws who would otherwise ignore tickets.

    Advocates say a $290,000 (euro203,180.83) speeding ticket slapped on a millionaire Ferrari driver in Switzerland was a fair and well-deserved example of the trend.

    Germany, France, Austria and the Nordic countries also issue punishments based on a person's wealth. In Germany the maximum fine can be as much as $16 million compared to only $1 million in Switzerland. Only Finland regularly hands out similarly hefty fine to speeding drivers, with the current record believed to be a euro170,000 (then about $190,000) ticket in 2004.

    The Swiss court appeared to set a world record when it levied the fine in November on a man identified in the Swiss media only as "Roland S." Judges in the eastern canton of St. Gallen described him as a "traffic thug" in their verdict, which only recently came to light.

    "As far as we're concerned this is very good," Sabine Jurisch, a road safety campaigner with the Swiss group Road Cross.

    She said rich drivers were lightly punished until Swiss voters approved a 2007 penal law overhaul that let judges hand down fines based on personal income and wealth for moderate misdemeanors including excessive speeding and drunk driving. Before, they had to assign relatively small fixed penalties or - rarely - a few days in prison.

    The fines were traditionally insignificant for rich people, and in the rare cases where prison terms for small-time offenders were handed down, they were usually suspended anyway. And even when they were sent to jail, the deterrent was limited compared with the costs of incarceration borne by the taxpayers, officials said.

    "It wasn't about making the punishment harsher or lighter, but more sensible," Heinz Sutter, an official at the Swiss Justice Ministry, told The Associated Press.

    In the latest Swiss case, the court took into account the man's history of similar offenses, the high speed with which he drove through a small village (60 miles - or 97 kilometers - an hour, nearly twice the 30 mph (50 kph limit), and his estimated personal wealth of over $20 million.

    "The accused unscrupulously and without obvious reason, probably out of pure desire for speed, used a powerful vehicle to break elementary traffic rules," the court said, noting that the man could have risked the lives of pedestrians and other drivers.

    Thomas Hansjakob, a prosecutor in the nearby city of St. Gallen, said the average driver is likely to get a more modest fine of several thousand Swiss francs (dollars).

    "I think the man in the pub will get that this guy is only paying so much because he's rich, so it won't necessarily scare off others," he said. "But this is a signal for other rich people. We've had a real problem with wealthy foreigners hiring cars and conducting races on Swiss roads."

    Last year a court sentenced six men from Hong Kong to fines of up to 95,000 francs after the men buzzed through Switzerland in hired Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and Audis at speeds of up to 142 miles (229 kilometers) an hour.

    In a separate case, a Frenchman was fined 70,000 francs after being caught on a highway doing 151 miles (243 kilometers) an hour.

    Switzerland's Association for Transport Psychology wants authorities to place more emphasis on compulsory courses for speeders and regular reviews of their fitness to drive.

    "Our view is that ordering the drivers to take part in therapy sessions is much more effective than simply making them open their wallets," Andreas Widmer, the association's president, said.

    And the nationalist Swiss People's Party wants to reverse the 2007 penal code changes, allowing judges to once again impose short prison sentences for lesser infractions, said one of its lawmakers, Luzi Stamm.

    The current law could lead to "ridiculously low" penalties without any possibility of jail time for poor people who are caught driving drunk or speeding excessively, Stamm told the AP.


    http://kai03.qwest.com/WindowsLive/...ient=landingpage&qid=blj2vx55puiwzv55uhlbdy45
     
  2. Javelin

    Javelin Got Glock? Silver Member

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    If this does not remind anyone of the Kremlin's glory days I don't know what will. Next are they going to erect wooden posts to execute said perps?

    :upeyes:
     

  3. Smashy

    Smashy

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    Therapy... :upeyes:

    Making me open my wallet would be a much more effective deterrent to speeding than making me sit through a 'speeders anonymous' class. :upeyes:
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  4. Carrys

    Carrys Inquisitive

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    Those darned "rich" folks (understand that "rich" is anyone who has more of anything than you do), are they at it again?

    What would we do without them?








    No really, what would you do?
     
  5. Wake_jumper

    Wake_jumper

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    I'm sure our cash strapped local governments are drooling at this idea.

    "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". -- Karl Marx, 1875.
     
  6. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    I don't recall the citizens voting on anything in the old days of the soviet union.

     
  7. Dandapani

    Dandapani

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    "From each according to his own ability, to each according to his needs".
     
  8. jpa

    jpa CLM

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    yes, clearly establishing an effective deterrent to crime is an obvious step towards communism. Because if you fine someone for committing a crime, going to court and being found guilty, the next step is a one world government under the United Nations and forced confiscation of all personal property. I mean, only an idiot would see it any other way... :upeyes:
     
  9. Javelin

    Javelin Got Glock? Silver Member

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    The point I am making is at this rate how many more feet to go before they won't be voting?

    The **** part about this is that we in the US are heading that direction right now. People's voice and opinion do not count at all. And no one is held accountable. It is basically tyranny.
     
  10. american lockpicker

    american lockpicker License to Il

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  11. JW1178

    JW1178

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    The idea of the fine is to punish those who offend, right??? Well, you slap a $100 fine on someone who makes 20K a year, it's almost torture, but then you do the same to someone who makes 120K a year the only punishment they get is having to write out a check.

    Of course the right wing mentality is "well if you dont' want a ticket you shouldn't break the law" horsecrap, the only ticket I got in the past five years is "weaving in lane". In other words, I didn't come off my lane, never touched the line but the officer said I was going from side to side of the road, within inches of the line... on a curvy road. They make tons of laws that a cop can use to raise revenue for the state.
     
  12. Blitzer

    Blitzer Cool Cat

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    Sounds like a good way to end your career if your a judge or politician to me. Lots of money, a private investigator or two, an attitude on the part of the "victim" of such laws could get real ugly fast!:whistling: :dunno:
     
  13. Blitzer

    Blitzer Cool Cat

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    In Ohio take kind of crap, weaving, will get thrown out, if you know the law that is. :whistling:
     
  14. DanielG

    DanielG grrrrr

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    "if you want a dollar you gotta ask for it"
     
  15. FullClip

    FullClip NRA Benefactor CLM

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    On the other hand, if jail time is imposed, would the daily income of the person be taken into cosideration? It costs somebody who makes a couple hundred thousand a year than some bum living on welfare to spend a day in the can.

    For capital punishment (murder) would the really rich person get sent to the chair 3 times and the poor person get a spanking to make things "fair".:upeyes:

    Equallity under the law, and "blind justice" is one of the things that was what America a great place. Here in Europe, there is always the idea that the rich should pay more...and anyone who makes more that you is "rich". It's more like jealousy than any idea of justice if you ask me. Some people think justice is dragging anybody who has more than they do down to their level is what it's all about.

    Speeding in a Ferrari is worse than speeding in a Seat? (or is speeding in my 2005 GMC worse than speeding in a 1988 Dodge and thus I should pay more??
     
  16. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

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    I am not a citizen of any of those countries. You gotta do what works for you, not what works for America. (and vice versa).

    'Drew
     
  17. nursetim

    nursetim

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    I like the idea myself. That is part of the reason why we have judges, otherwise just make a list and crime A + mitigating factor B = sentence C. How about a $5 fine for everybody, that would be fair, right? Heck the rich might think it such a pittance that they forget to pay it and get a bench warrant placed on themselves. No, I think stupid should hurt and a 200-400 Euro fine just doesn't hurt enough to drive the lesson home, if you'll pardon the pun.


    DEATH FOR DOUBLE PARKING!
     
  18. SP-FIN

    SP-FIN

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    For the interested, here's a reference on Finland from the mouth of the proverbial horse:

    The Ticket Calculator of the Finnish National Traffic Police.

    Notes:
    -Its a rough guideline.
    -The reference to the sliding scale means the police get to use their judgement with the individual circumstances (weather, traffic, etc).
    -The currency is not important, it's close to enough to get the idea.
    -In theory there is no maximum
    -Complaint to a court is always available. (And in the high numbers bloody well likely too :))
    -The term day fine means it theoretically represents a loss of a day's earnings, like if you were imprisoned. In case of non-paymnet even after recovery proceedings it an also be converted to jail time in the ratio of 3 day fines = a day in jail.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  19. ddbtoth

    ddbtoth

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    Actually it should be the reverse--If you are wealthy, every day you are imprisoned cost you more money than a middle class person (you are not making all that money because you are in the pokey) , so to punish equally, the rich would spend less time in jail than the not rich....wait, that already happens, never mind, bad analogy.
     
  20. SP-FIN

    SP-FIN

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    The thinking is that the absolute value - or utility, if you will - of a single unit of currency decreases as you accumulate more of them.

    Or you could think it as a another way to punish by making you waste your time and making you pay for the priviledge, instead of just throwing you in the slammer and paying the upkeep, so to speak.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010