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troopertobe
11-04-2007, 06:59 AM
Hardeeville police officers often accept cash bonds from drivers pulled over for traffic violations, a practice that may not be allowed under state law.

Hardeeville insists the law allows its police officers to accept cash, and that they will continue to do so, even through several state law enforcement officials say the practice is illegal.

Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said the law is vague. Stone said he'll request an official opinion from the state Attorney General's Office on Monday.

In Hardeeville, a city near the Georgia border bisected by busy Interstate 95, officers have the discretion of requiring the driver to pay a cash bond before getting back on the road.

Paying cash is required mostly for out-of-state drivers, especially if officers think the person has no connection to the area and might never pay the ticket, Hardeeville Police Chief Richard Nagy said.

Cash bonds ensure the city will get at least some money if the ticketed driver is never heard from again. If the person doesn't make arrangements to appear in court to contest the traffic ticket, he's found guilty and forfeits the bond.

The amount of the bond depends on how serious the violation. For example, a driver stopped for speeding might pay a bond of $120.

"It's something that's been in place here for quite some time," said Nagy, who was hired in June. "We do have a lot of out-of-state people who come through here, so the idea is to the recover that money up front during the traffic stop."

State law enforcement officials say that's illegal.

"If someone's doing it, I'm not sure under what authority they're doing so," said Mark Plowden, spokesman for the S.C. Attorney General's Office.

A 'VAGUE' LAW

The only mention of officers having the authority to accept cash bonds in state law is in a section dealing with the S.C. Highway Patrol, which is specifically allowed to require drivers to pay cash when they're pulled over.

"That law, in our reading, says that the only commissioned law enforcement officers that are allowed to collect bond on the roadway would be members of the state Highway Patrol," Plowden said.

The Attorney General's Office has never been asked to issue an official opinion, which is a thorough review of case law and state statutes. But the office's cursory reading of the law does mesh with the opinions of two other state agencies, the Department of Public Safety and the Criminal Justice Academy, which trains and certifies law enforcement officers in South Carolina.

Hardeeville maintains its officers have the authority to collect cash bonds, and refused to examine whether the law allows it. The chief would not point to a specific state law allowing them to take the cash.

"It's been done for decades and decades in law enforcement throughout the state," Nagy said. "It's a legal, legitimate practice, so I have no reason (to look into it)."

Stone, the solicitor, said it is unclear whether the law allows officers other than Highway Patrol troopers to collect cash bonds. The pertinent section of the law isn't entirely clear about whether it applies only to the Highway Patrol or to other police agencies as well.

"It's vague," he said, "but it's an important issue, and one that needs to be clarified."

Stone said he will forward the forthcoming Attorney General's opinion to every law enforcement agency in his circuit, which includes Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton and Allendale counties.

His expectation is that they will follow whatever the Attorney General's Office decides.

TOO TEMPTING?

While the practice of accepting cash might be long-standing in some cities like Hardeeville, it is increasingly rare elsewhere, law enforcement officials said. The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, Beaufort Police Department and the Bluffton Police Department do not allow officers to take cash from drivers.

Moving violations most often are handled with a simple ticket. If an out-of-state driver doesn't pay a ticket, South Carolina officials notify authorities in the driver's home state, who take action against him. The majority of driverscaught for more severe violations -- such as driving without a license or having a suspension -- are taken to jail.

"Accepting cash on the roadway adds unnecessary temptation," said Sgt. Bryan Norberg, spokesman for the Bluffton Police Department.

There have been several cases in which officers have been accused of pocketing the cash, including a former Hardeeville patrol sergeant. Christian R. Nollinger, 29, of Bluffton, was charged with misconduct in office by a public official for allegedly throwing away a ticket and keeping $128 bond from a man pulled over last January for driving without a license.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating another former Hardeeville police officer, although officials would not comment on the nature of the case.

And even the agency specifically authorized by state law to collect cash has had problems.

Two Highway Patrol troopers in the Upstate were fired and charged in connection with stealing money from Hispanic drivers, said Sid Gaulden, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Public Safety.


http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/70407.html

mmmm, I would pass on taking money on a T.S.!:eek:
just spells trouble!

scratched13
11-04-2007, 07:15 AM
I say, screw it ...... just take the out of towners to jail and make them post there. I bet that they would jump at the chance to pay on the roadside then.

irishdep
11-04-2007, 08:49 AM
Does their law allow then to accept bond for warrants? We take cash from people with outstanding misdemeanor or criminal bench warrants if they have it. I can see where people would not want to take cash. You can be accused of a lot of things when it comes to dealing with cash. Like Scratch says take them all to jail and let them post there I guess.

VA Dutch
11-04-2007, 11:58 AM
..........
A 'VAGUE' LAW

The only mention of officers having the authority to accept cash bonds in state law is in a section dealing with the S.C. Highway Patrol, which is specifically allowed to require drivers to pay cash when they're pulled over.

"That law, in our reading, says that the only commissioned law enforcement officers that are allowed to collect bond on the roadway would be members of the state Highway Patrol," Plowden said.
.............


Me thinks that "commissioned" is not quite the appropriate term to use when dealing with police officers possibly accepting cash from motorists.
:D

Someone with no sense of humor might think the cops are being paid on commission.
:rolleyes:

velobard
11-04-2007, 12:27 PM
I dealt with this once 25+ years ago (in the days of 55) on the Kansas turnpike while on a cross-country trip. I was pulled over and ticketed for speeding and the KSP officer informed me I could either pay cash on the spot or go to jail. Checks not accepted. Rather than have me hand the money to him, he drove me to the nearest mailbox and watched as I sent the payment. I deserved the ticket, but it was interesting as a low-budget college student to come up with the cash. I had to mooch from my passenger (not a friend, just someone sharing the costs to go home for summer) and we had just enough for the ticket and gas to get home, even after a trip to the ATM.

Ex Army MP
11-04-2007, 01:41 PM
I say, screw it ...... just take the out of towners to jail and make them post there. I bet that they would jump at the chance to pay on the roadside then.

Yeah because jailing someone for a simple speeding ticket makes perfect sense. In fact, you should make a special point to do it on Thanksgiving so that you ruin a person's entire day. A good use of tax payer dollars there.

Seriously, I don't like it at all but if you did it because of out of staters and applied it to only out of staters, you'd have a serious equal protection argument there by treating out of staters differently.

Unless you can demonstrate that serious revenue is lost by not doing this, I don't think you should do it.

fahrenheit
11-04-2007, 01:47 PM
In Illinois we have to take bond on every traffic offense. For IL residents, it's usually their driver's license or maybe a bond card (like AAA). Some people really want to keep their D/L on them for ID or are from other states, so they have to leave a cash bond: $75 for most offenses, $95 for speeding more than 20 mph over. Some lucky folks are from states who we have a compact with, and they can just sign the ticket and be on their way. The others have to follow us back to our station where they leave the cash with our dispatchers and receive a receipt. We never take cash from anyone on the road, it just doesn't look right.

And yes, Cook County has very low traffic fines. The bonds listed above are the full amounts of the fines. 19 mph over will cost you $75.

xraodcop
11-04-2007, 02:36 PM
I don't know about States other than California or Arizona, but handling money is strictly prohibited in these States.
EXCEPTION:
Prisoners: A second officer must be present at counting, and a third person puts the cash in a safe.
FATALS: Only the Coroner touches the body and property and cash on that body.

xraodcop
11-04-2007, 02:43 PM
CALIFORNIA FINES

22348 (b) 24 I Speeding Over 100 MPH Prohibited 700.00
22348 (c) I Failure of Vehicles Subject to VC 22406 to Use Designated
Lane
134.00
22349 (a) I Speeding 1-15 MPH Over 65 MPH Limit 99.00
22349 (a) I Speeding 16-25 MPH Over 65 MPH Limit 175.00
22349 (a) I Speeding ≥ 26 MPH Over 65 MPH Limit 350.00


Sample Calculation of Late Penalty
1. Base fine $ 25
2. Enhancement for one prior conviction + 10
Enhanced base fine $ 35
3. Additional penalties (PC 1464 and GC 70372, 70375, 76000, and 76104.6)
($23* x 4) (*See section III) + 92
Initial Penalty $127
4. Night court assessment (VC 42006) + 1
5. Administrative assessment for maintaining
a record of priors (VC 40508.6) + 10
6. Surcharge on base fine (PC 1465.7) + 7
7. Court security fee (PC 1465.8) + 20
Total Due $165
8. Late charge (VC 40310)
[50% of initial penalty] + 63.50
Total Due $228.50

ISPCAPT
11-04-2007, 02:45 PM
And yes, Cook County has very low traffic fines. The bonds listed above are the full amounts of the fines. 19 mph over will cost you $75.

Those aren't just Cook Co fines but for the entire state of IL. IL gives violators a heck of deal for their money. Pretty cheap fines compared to some states.
The procedure for handling bond in IL is established by the IL Supreme Ct with Rule 553. Fahrneheit explained it pretty well.

PeteBroccolo
11-04-2007, 03:59 PM
In Saskatchewan, for any Provincial Statute offences, we issue tickets for traffic, wildlife/hunting/fishing or liquor violations which either have a Voluntary Penalty with a subsequent Court date if the "client" chooses to not make said payment, or a mandatory Court date if no VP is authorized, but we do not hold people in custody for same, nor are we authorized to, nor required, to take a cash bond.

The majority of our above traffic violations also allow Not-Guilty pleas-by-mail and result in a Default Conviction if the "client" does not mail in the NG plea, or fails to pay the VP or fail to appear for Court. The "client" has a 15 day grace period after the DC to pay the VP, otherwise it increases by $40. If the total is not paid before the beginning of their birth month, the "client" is sent a letter by the Court, and if it is not paid by the end of their birth month, their driver's licence is declared null and void for use in Saskatchewan. If they are caught driving in Saskatchewan after that, they can be charged for Driving While Suspended or Disqualified.

For the other traffic and all other PS offences, if the VP is not paid, and the "client" FTA Court, a Bench Warrant is issued and the "client" will be charged for FTA Court. If the "client" is caught in Saskatchewan, THEN we can either hold or take a cash bail of up to $500 from them.

Any "client" charged with a Criminal Code (impaired driving, assault, B&E) or Federal Statute (drugs, customs, immigration) offence that does not normally reside in Saskatchewan WOULD be made to pay a cash bail of up to $500.

If a cash bail is paid, we MUST mark the amount on the release document AND issue a receipt, then deposit the money with the Court along with the release document. Cash bail can be forfeited for FTA Court and the "client" would still have to pay the fine(s) upon conviction after being arrested later.

Why worry about whether or not the government gets the fine revenue? That is NOT the job of the Police or other Law Enforcement Agencies. Sounds like too much leeway that could lead to stereotypical corruption.

ateamer
11-04-2007, 04:56 PM
I sure as hell don't want to deal with taking cash, giving a receipt, booking in the cash and filling out the forms, all over a traffic ticket. I'll just go ahead and accept a signature, and if the violator doesn't show up, oh well. Traffic is important, but not important enough to make writing a ticket an ordeal.

fahrenheit
11-04-2007, 05:01 PM
Those aren't just Cook Co fines but for the entire state of IL. IL gives violators a heck of deal for their money. Pretty cheap fines compared to some states.
The procedure for handling bond in IL is established by the IL Supreme Ct with Rule 553. Fahrneheit explained it pretty well.

I wasn't sure if the fines were the same statewide. I know that we do a lot of things differently here in Crook... I mean Cook County so I didn't want to generalize to the whole state without being sure.

Tim Dees
11-04-2007, 05:12 PM
Wisconsin (one of the few states that does not subscribe to the Interstate Drivers License Compact) used to collect fines from out-of-staters on the spot, or escort them to a business where they could buy a money order. The Money or money order would be deposited in a strongbox in the trooper's patrol car trunk. Later on (circa 2000), they were one of the first users of wireless credit card terminals in the patrol cars.

But I agree with most of the other respondents here: there's about a million things that can go wrong when cops are accepting cash at the roadside.

eman2k5
11-04-2007, 05:20 PM
I thought 1042 Trooper, talked about collecting money on the road. Maybe it was from his book.

J. Slacker
11-04-2007, 05:21 PM
In my neck of the woods, we take road bonds for traffic citations issued to out of state drivers (per our district court) and warrants. For citations, we either hold the license in lieu of bond or take $100 roadside bond. We issue a receipt to the driver. They are instructed to appear in court within 10 days.

Similar for arrest warrants. We take the money and issue a bond receipt which includes instructions on when the person needs to appear in jail (as directed by the agency/court holding jurisdiction).

I can understand why some don't want to take money on the road (I honestly think its kind of funny too). The chance of impropriety (both implied and otherwise) is there. Thats why some just say "Take 'em to jail." Thats fine too. I just figure (in my dept at least) since we have audio/video in the car and are required to report directly to the PD to deposit the money into a safe/depository, the chance for problems is (relatively) small.

scratched13
11-04-2007, 07:11 PM
Yeah because jailing someone for a simple speeding ticket makes perfect sense. In fact, you should make a special point to do it on Thanksgiving so that you ruin a person's entire day. A good use of tax payer dollars there.

Seriously, I don't like it at all but if you did it because of out of staters and applied it to only out of staters, you'd have a serious equal protection argument there by treating out of staters differently.

Unless you can demonstrate that serious revenue is lost by not doing this, I don't think you should do it.

Actually, for no state DL and some other charges OR if their state isn't part of an interstate pact (whatever it is called) we CAN take them to jail.

BTW, I have issued citations on holidays - even Christmas.:D

Oh, and just by personal experience, out of towners DO have a tendancy to blow off paying/showing up to court.

troopertobe
11-04-2007, 09:45 PM
I can see the complaints now " I gave the officer 200.00, but my receipt says 100.00" or Do you have change for 100.00.

I can see a person trying to be a smart butt and paying with a bunch of pennies...lol

t150vsuptpr
11-05-2007, 12:54 AM
I usually just write 'em and give them a sheet that will help detail how to pay it, most all do pay either before court, or very soon afterwards. Very few don't.

SC is a member of the non resident violator compact (http://www.aamva.org/aamva/DocumentDisplay.aspx?id={A0B6D32F-1B87-4430-9639-DAFC6A67AA54}), is it not?

djack16
11-05-2007, 01:40 AM
This invites so many problems.

I like the card swiping devices though. Most taxi cab services have them and it's not very time consuming at all. Then again, I don't know how well it would be in practice in a law enforcement setting. Cash on demand though...no way.

katzeyze
11-05-2007, 01:48 AM
Dang, I must just be too honest for my own good. I'd be too scared not to pay. When I received my ticket in Indiana (I live in Arizona) for being a lead-foot I was just too darned grateful to be getting a (I think it was called deferred sentencing) ticket only instead of a pair of shiny bracelets!! :D

1042 Trooper
11-05-2007, 12:16 PM
We've taken bon here for 20 years now and it works great. The citation serves as the receipt - they don't even have to sign the "promise to appear." They just sign a spot where it says they posted bond and they're done with it.

We just turn in the bond two or three times a week and after weekends. The public loves it and, it reduces FTA to nothing obviosly.

When the NOn-Resident Violator Compact came in the reduced the bond taken in the field substantially, but still, with international drivers and those who aren't from an NRVC state, it's mighty handy.

Plus, many have asked if they could post and be done with it even if they didn't have to - like residents.

It's really not a problem and supreme court tested several times.

t150vsuptpr
11-05-2007, 01:33 PM
I have no problems with it as far as aliens, illegals, foreign nationals, or residents of non participating states, or even residents of SC who don't fall under the various reciprocal agreements ...
... and no problem when the occasional entitled motorist requests the opportunity to pay on the spot (I get these too, but we don't take no monies, no cards, we just accept signatures or bodies on the roadside).

But my state has entered into the agreements and so has SC, the compacts are in the state codes. SC residents are allowed to sign a summons for traffic infractions here. If as a violator stopped for a simple traffic infraction, I am willing to sign a summons and give my promise to appear or otherwise comply with a summons in Hardeeville, SC.... I am going to be some kind of pi55ed when I am told I have to leave a cash bond in Hardeeville and that the alternative is being locked up, and when I can get back home afterwards, shortly someone in Hardeeville is going to real unhappy when process is served.

Now, I realise that in view of my driving habits, this is an extremely remote possibility and highly unlikely to ever be a real issue with me. But the fact remains that Hardeeville is in violation of state law and is failing to observe agreements made between the states (if I read the story right).

Maybe the story is leaving out some important details?

Phlip
11-05-2007, 02:08 PM
My old department used to take bond money on the road. We'd just carry a receipt book and give them a receipt, then deposit the money in the strongbox at the station.

I mean come on people, if you can't trust your Officers with 100 dollars of bond money for a citation, how do you trust them for every other life and death decision we make?

I edited to add we usually only took bond for warrants, btw. The only time we ever dealt with bond for a citation was for out of state people. If they didn't have the money, we would confiscate their license until such time as they could come by and give us the money.

It was really no big deal.

Bearcat357
11-05-2007, 03:14 PM
I've heard of some of the old timers back in MO that said they use to take bond along side the roadway for out of state drivers.....

But we don't do that any more.... One can either make them sign the citiation and let them be on their way......or take them to the County Jail and make them post bond.....car usually gets towed as well if you go that route....

And it's usually cash only.....as I have never seen a credit card device around....other than maybe a ATM in the Lobby of the agency....

Though, I do know a Country Pumpkin Sheriff that will allow the locals to bail out folks with a check..... :rolleyes:

PeteBroccolo
11-05-2007, 03:22 PM
I used to have to accept a lot of cash, and issue the necessary receipts for same, right on the road, due to outstanding Warrants of Committal that were issued pursuant to traffic, game and liquor convictions where the "client" either appeared, plead Guilty and was given Time To Pay, or else was convicted Ex Parte (Trial held without the "client" present due to same FTA Court after a NG plea was entered by them or an Agent).

Most of those Warrants were for a fine of under $300 or 3 days in gaol, and a large number actually chose gaol, because they really only had to serve 2 calendar days, which meant if we booked them in after the supper hour one evening, and kicked them out before the breakfast hour the next morning, that was 2 days and they were done.

Now, the Court sends non-payment of fines to a collection Agency, or otherwise suspends the drivers licence.

The biggest problem now is outstanding Warrants for Parking Tickets, which often still include an amount owing, but we just release them to re-appear in Court, since most of the Warrants are due to FTA Court after the summons was mailed to the "client". Municipal By-Law enforcement, especially for Parking offences, is so low on my Force's scale of work that we do not take the cash, as it has to be sent direct to the Police Service that entered the Warrant, and that involves paying for a bank draft or money order, usually out of the fine monies.

tinoboy10
11-10-2007, 05:44 PM
t150vsuptpr, what makes you think that a foreign national wouldn't pay his or her fine as any citizen living in your state?

SddR70
11-10-2007, 06:28 PM
I worked in a town along the Iowa/Wisconsin border at the beginning of my career. Since Iowa and Wisconsin are non-compact states, we were required to have the offender, if from a non-compact, pay on the spot. The offender had 4 options - cash for the offense (guilty plea), cash for the appearance bond (not guilty), their AAA card as a bonding form, or if they couldn't pay they went to jail. Those were the orders per the presiding judge for that county.

When we'd have a violator, we'd escort them to the local post office, where we'd provide an envelope and stamp. The violator would seal the envelope and place it in the mailbox themselves. Myself and the officers I worked with never touched the money. Too much of a liability and could be viewed as taking a bribe or later accused of stealing the money.

t150vsuptpr
11-10-2007, 06:42 PM
t150vsuptpr, what makes you think that a foreign national wouldn't pay his or her fine as any citizen living in your state?
Never said that was my belief.

It's just that they are not automatically entitled to a release on a summons after signing same by any agreements, thus they are subject to be taken to a magistrate and required to post reasonable bond for their aoppearance in court, or otherwise complying with the summons. This is because the state has no means of recourse once they have left the state should they choose to then ignore the summons. Usually the bond is equivilent to what the fine and court cost combined add up to if a prepayable offense, or they can just prepay. If not perepayable like reckless driving, it usually is an amount within a range set by the judge for the magistrates to go by.

Citizens of my state and those of states which have entered into reciprocal agreements with my state are entitled to a release upon signing a summons promising to appear at the stated time and place or to otherwise comply by paying the fine. If these people fail to comply after doing so, their priviledges in this state are suspended and a notice is sent to their home state's DMV and per agreements, they are then suspended in the home state which makes the license they pocess invalid anywhere else, and they have two states in which they are suspended. It's a motivation to comply with the summons.

If they refuse to sign, they get to go to the magistrate.

If they sign but make statements which indicate they have no intention of complying, they may get to go to the magistrate. If they sign and the continue to committ the act like getting caught 12 miles later running 90 again, they may get to go to the magistrate.

There is a bit of room for an officer to use sound judgement.

shook0002
11-10-2007, 07:56 PM
WOW, what I'm reading here is just unreal to me. Taking someone to jail for a traffic offense anything short of vehicular homicide, or fleeing, etc. sounds a little excessive. I know a lot of guys here work for smaller towns and counties that need the money but seriously even as a cop it sounds crazy. If I got pulled over chances are I wouldn't have anything over 20-30 bux on me. So I guess I'd be going off to the slammer for a turn signal or something.

t150vsuptpr
11-11-2007, 12:02 AM
WOW, what I'm reading here is just unreal to me. Taking someone to jail for a traffic offense anything short of vehicular homicide, or fleeing, etc. sounds a little excessive. I know a lot of guys here work for smaller towns and counties that need the money but seriously even as a cop it sounds crazy. If I got pulled over chances are I wouldn't have anything over 20-30 bux on me. So I guess I'd be going off to the slammer for a turn signal or something.

Not so unusual, there was a time not so far back when every out of state motorist was taken to a magistrate and required to post bond. It's not jail, they would let you wire family for funds, pay a bondsman, etc. Now, we'll even run you by an ATM.

It's just that after 1977, states began signing on to the Nonresident Violator Compact which is a reciprocal agreement between signatory states, each agreeing to suspend their drivers for failing to answer out of state citations issued in the other signatory states.

Our judge allows us to release a resident of any state on a signature, but we know that California for example, is not going to suspend a driver in Cal. for failure to pay a fine in Va. They will still get suspended in Va. however. Most places, residents of any of the states are afforded the opportunity to sign a summons, it's just not a "given" unless it's one of the signatory states.

If a driver refuses to post bond or simply can't once the magistrate concludes the hearing, they may be held for the next available appearance time before the judge at which time bond will be reviewed and a decision made as to whether to reduce bond, release on recognizance, or hold.

The agreements do not include anything above traffic infractions. They do not include reckless driving or DUI or other misdemeanors which carry the possibility of jail time (reckless can get a person a maximum of $2,500 fine and / or 12 months in jail, that's the maximim .... and here, anything 20 miles over the limit or over 80 regardless of the limit is reckless).

Food for thought ..... :)