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Is it legal for police officers to collect cash bonds from drivers? Hardeeville says

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  • Is it legal for police officers to collect cash bonds from drivers? Hardeeville says

    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.!
    just spells trouble!
    *Don't argue with idiots someone watching may get confused.

    *We're all here because we ain't all there

  • #2
    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.
    Space for rent .........

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      Last edited by irishdep; 11-04-2007, 06:53 AM.
      "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

      "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by troopertobe View Post
        ..........
        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.


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

        The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

        The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

        ------------------------------------------------

        "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

        Comment


        • #5
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by scratched13 View Post
            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.


            "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.
              "The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep." -Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

              Comment


              • #8
                Officers handling Money

                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fahrenheit View Post
                    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.
                    183 FBINA

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.
                      #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                      Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                      RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                      Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                      "Smile" - no!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.
                        Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                        I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ISPCAPT View Post
                          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.
                          "The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep." -Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.
                            Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I thought 1042 Trooper, talked about collecting money on the road. Maybe it was from his book.
                              sigpicMy statements do not represent my agency.

                              Comment

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