Tina Marie was convicted of failure to pay nine times and sentenced to 30 days in jail seven times. She entered a treatment program in 2017 and is now drug-free. In 2018, Tina Marie completed three months of temporary work, bringing home her first paycheck since her son died. She still owes $15000 in court debt. No inquiry was ever made as to her ability to pay.
Sharon McGee was 16 years old when she was stopped by a police officer and ticketed for not completely stopping at a stop sign. At the time, McGee was working a minimum wage job and living on her own.
James Brooks paid Leaders in Community Alternatives, a private probation company, $1,629 for 58 days to avoid jail and to continue to be able to care for his ill mother.
Jane Doe was driving and arrived at a traffic checkpoint operated by the Buffalo Police Department. Because she lacked a harness for her children's booster seats, she was assessed eight points on her driver’s license, $446 in fines and $450 for a Driver Responsibility Assessment. During this time, Ms. Doe was a full time student with no income. BTVA refused to accept partial payments or provide a payment plan. Unable to pay, her learner’s permit was suspended. In 2018, she used her tax refund to pay her traffic tickets and reinstate her permit.
Doraville, Georgia, a 10,000-person suburb of Atlanta, has become notorious for its revenue-generating speed traps and housing code enforcement cases.
Hilda Brucker received citations for rotted wood and chipped paint, weeds in her yard and ivy on her trees, and cracks in her driveway.
This video describes how people, especially those of fewer means, can be jailed for unpaid court fines and fees.
In November 2015, McNeil pled guilty to driving with a revoked license. She was placed on probation for 11 months and 29 days and ordered to pay $426 in fines and fees, $25 each week in court costs and fines, $45 a month in supervision fees, and $45 for each drug test.
This report exposes how the private debt collection industry uses the court system to coerce payment from people, many of whom cannot afford to pay their debts.
Filing for bankruptcy to avoid car impoundments and or a boot that immobilizes their vehicle has become a popular “remedy” for Chicago drivers who can’t afford to pay off debt from traffic tickets, parking violations, and vehicle compliance infractions.