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Went to the county courthouse today on my bike

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Old 01-10-18, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
We have a huge rural population, and a lot of those are in jobs where they have to drive; can't haul cattle or hay bales across the county on a bike. Suspending the license means they're likely to never have the money by any legal means, so another way of handling it is pretty much a necessity for them. A couple days in jail is less of a hardship for many than a $400 fine....
Outside of NYC where it's pretty much a mill, judges in NYS tend to be willing to work with folks. I've negotiated lower fines, and know of cases where judges worked out installment payments based on what folks could afford. If someone can show an absolute need for their license, judges will often work out restrictions rather than outright suspensions, so they'll restrict the license to the route from home to work and back.

In most places here jail is too much of a hardship on the state, so they'll go to great lengths to find alternate solutions.
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Old 01-10-18, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
I rode my bike to jury duty - twice, a couple years apart, different bikes - there is no bike parking at the court house but there's a police office right there where they take people into custody so it seemed pretty safe next to the smoking bench. I changed clothes in the bathroom but carried my helmet around all day, trying to imagine how the lawyers would view that... didn't get picked... twice.


Was this the Martinez courthouse? Rode my bike there for a couple weeks while on a jury on an attempted murder case. Almost got nabbed for speeding on the Iron Horse trail one of the mornings when there was a motorcycle cop with a radar gun behind some bushes - but I spotted him in time.
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Old 01-10-18, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
..... Almost got nabbed for speeding on the Iron Horse trail one of the mornings when there was a motorcycle cop with a radar gun behind some bushes - but I spotted him in time.
I'm impressed that California police have the time and resources to prioritize radar speed traps on bike paths.

One more reason, I'm happy living in New York.
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Old 01-10-18, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Outside of NYC where it's pretty much a mill, judges in NYS tend to be willing to work with folks. I've negotiated lower fines, and know of cases where judges worked out installment payments based on what folks could afford.
They'll do that for bigger fines, but when you're talking about needing months to pay off a $500 fine, it's really better to sit a couple weekends in jail. Personally, I'd rather see something like 2x-3x credit for useful community service, but I've not run into one that would offer it. Even $100 per 8 hour day of basic service (normal janitorial and such) or $150-200 per day of more intense (highly skilled or heavy manual labor) would likely get some takers and benefit the county a lot more than having the extra inmates. I'd spend a few Saturdays doing database maintenance to burn off an old ticket. (It's a better deal than it sounds like when you figure there aren't any withholdings on the fine credits.)

If someone can show an absolute need for their license, judges will often work out restrictions rather than outright suspensions, so they'll restrict the license to the route from home to work and back.
Trouble with that is that you're often talking about farm and ranch hands living on the farm 10-20 miles from town, and part of their job is hauling animals to auction and picking up supplies in multiple towns; there's no "to and from work" route. If these guys actually do manage to lose their DL due to a DUI or similar, they pretty much have to give up the job soon, since even if there's someone else to do those tasks, they can't go grocery shopping or do other simple tasks. Since housing is part of the pay, they're then stuck couch surfing while they try to find other work. We also have a lot of nontrad students here; often parents who got a hard lesson in the need to finish their education when they had a kid or two while working an hourly job, and they'd give up a lot of work hours they desperately need if they had to bike 10-20 miles a day between home, work and classes. (And a lot of these are doing the farm jobs because they can muck out stalls at odd hours, and combine trips to class with supply runs and such, plus the old single wide mobile home behind the barn is a heck of a benefit compared with housing costs in town.)

This is why I've been saying for years that we should have a sliding scale of fine vs community service for all minor offenses; say a minimum of x hours community service (based on the offense) with the option of taking the fine as service too. A $200 fine, even with the $100+ extra in court costs, barely qualifies as a slap on the wrist to someone who makes $100k/year, but to the minimum wage student that needs every penny of his income to make ends meet, it can start him into some really problematic debt. OTOH, do it my way and the wealthier one will feel some sting from having to spend a few hours mowing the courthouse lawn on top of the cash payment, while the student can choose to give up his Saturday afternoons for a month or two and not have to panic about the money.
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Old 01-11-18, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post

Plus, any cash you have on you, they seize and then cut you a check on release, so I'd want to roll up a $20 inside the seat tube or something before going in, as the odds of any check cashing places being open nearby are pretty slim. (Tiny dump of a town in a mostly farming county.)
I couldn't help but thinking of Papillon...
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Old 01-11-18, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post

This is why I've been saying for years that we should have a sliding scale of fine vs community service for all minor offenses.
Many countries over here make a fine a fixed percentage of your income. Some high-wealth individuals have €100K speeding tickets. I like that system.

More precise information: https://www.theatlantic.com/business...ticket/387484/

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Old 01-11-18, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Many countries over here make a fine a fixed percentage of your income.
Trouble there is that income doesn't necessarily reflect wealth. I did some work for a guy who has ~$14M net worth, but effectively zero income for the last couple years. And of course, there are a lot of young doctors with the exact opposite issue while they're trying to get all their education debts paid off.

A day of work is a day of work no matter who you are. If anything, it's a lot gentler on the underemployed folks who would, at worst, be giving up minimum-wage-minus-withholdings for the time to go earn away their ticket at a substantially higher rate.
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Old 01-11-18, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Was this the Martinez courthouse? Rode my bike there for a couple weeks while on a jury on an attempted murder case. Almost got nabbed for speeding on the Iron Horse trail one of the mornings when there was a motorcycle cop with a radar gun behind some bushes - but I spotted him in time.
Yup. Haven't been called in a while - that was two bikes ago!

I've seen cops on the trail a few times but it's pretty rare - usually in response to some incident involving bad riders and bad pedestrians/joggers/dog walkers.
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Old 01-11-18, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
Trouble there is that income doesn't necessarily reflect wealth. I did some work for a guy who has ~$14M net worth, but effectively zero income for the last couple years. And of course, there are a lot of young doctors with the exact opposite issue while they're trying to get all their education debts paid off.

A day of work is a day of work no matter who you are. If anything, it's a lot gentler on the underemployed folks who would, at worst, be giving up minimum-wage-minus-withholdings for the time to go earn away their ticket at a substantially higher rate.
That's not true in most countries.
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Old 01-11-18, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
Personally, I'd rather see something like 2x-3x credit for useful community service, but I've not run into one that would offer it. Even $100 per 8 hour day of basic service (normal janitorial and such) or $150-200 per day of more intense (highly skilled or heavy manual labor) would likely get some takers and benefit the county a lot more than having the extra inmates.

This is why I've been saying for years that we should have a sliding scale of fine vs community service for all minor offenses; say a minimum of x hours community service (based on the offense) with the option of taking the fine as service too. A $200 fine, even with the $100+ extra in court costs, barely qualifies as a slap on the wrist to someone who makes $100k/year, but to the minimum wage student that needs every penny of his income to make ends meet, it can start him into some really problematic debt. OTOH, do it my way and the wealthier one will feel some sting from having to spend a few hours mowing the courthouse lawn on top of the cash payment, while the student can choose to give up his Saturday afternoons for a month or two and not have to panic about the money.
Some friends work for organizations that use a lot of volunteer labor, and the people that have to do community service have caused more problems than they're worth at times. Matching both sides up is harder than it seems unless it's doing things like pulling weeds.

I met my GF doing community service - it was volunteer work for me and part of her job. But we get some funny looks from some people when we mention we met doing community service as they often think we were doing something as part of getting caught doing something wrong.

Another friend and I were delivering meals for meals on wheels once and I asked her and the recipient to smile as the meals were handed over. I said thanks, her parole officer wants proof she really is doing her community service as a joke and the recipient didn't believe me at first. My friend got pretty irked too, but we laughed at it later.
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Old 01-11-18, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
Some friends work for organizations that use a lot of volunteer labor, and the people that have to do community service have caused more problems than they're worth at times. Matching both sides up is harder than it seems unless it's doing things like pulling weeds.
There's plenty of service that needs doing that wouldn't require mixing the two; simple stuff like cleaning the courthouse, mowing, etc. that's pretty much "Here's your job, and it's x hours of work based on our schedule. As long as it's done right, you get the credit. Otherwise you'll have to make up the difference."

There's also more skilled and/or intense work, where they'd most likely be assisting city/county/state employees or contractors, who should be used to dealing with day laborers.

I met my GF doing community service - it was volunteer work for me and part of her job. But we get some funny looks from some people when we mention we met doing community service as they often think we were doing something as part of getting caught doing something wrong.
Which is also a benefit, IMO, of having at least a few hours mandatory on pretty much all violations; there's near zero stigma associated with taking a defensive driving class to dismiss a ticket, and if, instead, those people were having to do service for 2-4 hours minimum, it would just become one of those things that pretty much everybody does. Unless someone sees you several days in a row, they don't know if it's your 4 hour minimum for a 5 over ticket or 40 hours for something more serious. Occasionally, it might even stick and give people the idea to volunteer for more service later.
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Old 01-11-18, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post


Which is also a benefit, IMO, of having at least a few hours mandatory on pretty much all violations; there's near zero stigma associated with taking a defensive driving class to dismiss a ticket, and if, instead, those people were having to do service for 2-4 hours minimum, it would just become one of those things that pretty much everybody does. Unless someone sees you several days in a row, they don't know if it's your 4 hour minimum for a 5 over ticket or 40 hours for something more serious. Occasionally, it might even stick and give people the idea to volunteer for more service later.
I agree. We were some of the people who actually showed up after hearing others talk about how they couldn't make it, and most of the projects we worked on were kind of enjoyable. The annual kids bike helmet give a way I do is my favorite, but we all know why I'm biased about that here.
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Old 01-13-18, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Was this the Martinez courthouse? Rode my bike there for a couple weeks while on a jury on an attempted murder case. Almost got nabbed for speeding on the Iron Horse trail one of the mornings when there was a motorcycle cop with a radar gun behind some bushes - but I spotted him in time.
No bike at courthouse stories, but back in MA ~30 years ago some friends and I got pulled over for speeding on the ROAD.. we were coming down a mountain road and the speed limit was 25.. we were going 30 plus and had tripped the radar. once he realized we were on bikes he gave us a written warning and made us promise to go slower.
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Old 01-16-18, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
The biggest problem I have with government offices is that I always have a pocketknife and various rescue tools with me. And I can't leave them with the bike. And they get upset if I want to take them in.
I just ask the guards to hang on to them for me, and I've never been refused.
I did this as a witness in court in London UK. The guards agreed to hold the bag for me and then called the police from whom I had to listen to a tedious and self-righteous lecture and give up the 1.5" blade on the multi-tool as a condition of not being prosecuted (there was a lot of excitement about knife crime in the UK at the time)
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Old 01-16-18, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesdelap View Post
I did this as a witness in court in London UK. The guards agreed to hold the bag for me and then called the police from whom I had to listen to a tedious and self-righteous lecture and give up the 1.5" blade on the multi-tool as a condition of not being prosecuted (there was a lot of excitement about knife crime in the UK at the time)
Fair enough ... why carry a blade at all? You're asking for trouble.
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Old 01-16-18, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Fair enough ... why carry a blade at all? You're asking for trouble.
Because it's a useful tool for a variety of functions such as cutting an apple to share or splitting that one extra-long patch into two or three smaller ones. Presumably that's why many multi-tools include a small blade and it's why I almost always have a Swiss Army knife on my keychain. I've had to find good outdoor hiding places for the SAK to enter government buildings when the guards refused to keep it safe for me.
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Old 01-16-18, 11:14 AM
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I bought a pocket knife (assisted-open Kershaw Oso Sweet) specifically for those weeks when I volunteer to stock the free soda fridge, so I can slice open the plastic wrapping of flats of sodas.
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Old 01-16-18, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Because it's a useful tool for a variety of functions such as cutting an apple to share or splitting that one extra-long patch into two or three smaller ones. Presumably that's why many multi-tools include a small blade and it's why I almost always have a Swiss Army knife on my keychain. I've had to find good outdoor hiding places for the SAK to enter government buildings when the guards refused to keep it safe for me.
In London? I think you need to travel more and/or be a better tourist/citizen. We don't allow guns, as we're civilised, so carrying a blade is like carrying a gun into a courtroom in the US.

Use your head, OK.

Unlike the US, we won't shoot you dead for a violation of common sense.

Any place that sells Apples would offer to cut it for you ... that's a lame excuse.
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Old 01-16-18, 01:58 PM
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? I can't imagine buying an apple from an american grocery store and asking them to cut it for me. (although I suppose I could walk it back to the butcher's area and ask him to cut it up and not destroy the sticker with the produce code, and wrap it in cling film on a styrofoam tray... what a waste!)

But I get that it makes sense to prohibit pocketknives in courtrooms (and airplanes, etc).
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Old 01-16-18, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
? I can't imagine buying an apple from an american grocery store and asking them to cut it for me. (although I suppose I could walk it back to the butcher's area and ask him to cut it up and not destroy the sticker with the produce code, and wrap it in cling film on a styrofoam tray... what a waste!)

But I get that it makes sense to prohibit pocketknives in courtrooms (and airplanes, etc).
Honestly? I can't imagine asking anyone to cut an apple anywhere on the planet is an issue. Even in the US, they would look at you funny and do it.

It is a ****ty reason for bringing a Swiss Army Knife into a UK courthouse, which is what we are really discussing.
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Old 01-16-18, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Honestly? I can't imagine asking anyone to cut an apple anywhere on the planet is an issue. Even in the US, they would look at you funny and do it.
Only if they have a knife. Most grocery store workers carry box cutters as a job requirement, but a pocket knife would be a matter of personal choice.

It is a ****ty reason for bringing a Swiss Army Knife into a UK courthouse, which is what we are really discussing.
Let's agree to agree here; there is no reason to bring a pocketknife into any courtroom that has decided to prohibit them.

I think the point is just that it's useful to carry a pocketknife generally, in life, and easy to forget you have it on you. At the moment mine is not on me, but I know that it's on the kitchen table at home, where I last saw it, and didn't bother to put it in my pocket. But usually it's on me. If I ever forget and take it to the airport, I would have to forfeit it, or put it in a checked bag. Flying on my own dime, I'm not gonna pay $50 to avoid losing a $20 knife. But when somebody else is paying the airfare, I've been known to check a carryon-size bag so I could keep items that are dangerous to national security (jars of Thermo Nuclear Wing sauce from Cluck U Chicken)
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Old 01-16-18, 02:56 PM
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If only there was some way to eat an apple without a knife.
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Old 01-16-18, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I think the point is just that it's useful to carry a pocketknife generally, in life,
I think is where we disagree. Anyone in an urban European area would never require one.
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Old 01-16-18, 03:39 PM
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hey i took a knife to the op courthouse one day. they let me keep it while on jury duty and told me not to bring it the next day.
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Old 01-16-18, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
Some friends work for organizations that use a lot of volunteer labor, and the people that have to do community service have caused more problems than they're worth at times. Matching both sides up is harder than it seems unless it's doing things like pulling weeds.

I met my GF doing community service - it was volunteer work for me and part of her job. But we get some funny looks from some people when we mention we met doing community service as they often think we were doing something as part of getting caught doing something wrong.

Another friend and I were delivering meals for meals on wheels once and I asked her and the recipient to smile as the meals were handed over. I said thanks, her parole officer wants proof she really is doing her community service as a joke and the recipient didn't believe me at first. My friend got pretty irked too, but we laughed at it later.
i met my gf in a meals on wheels program. she is a cook and i am a driver!
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