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To think means tested fines are unfair?

(30 Posts)
walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:33:32


I'm not a mum even though I am on 'mums' net, I joined as I was contemplating being a single parent. However I am just wondering what others think about this?

A few months ago I was speeding. I'm honestly not an inconsiderate driver and it was a very genuine mistake (I thought it was 40mph and it was 30: I was doing 36.) I would happily have taken my fine. The problem was I forgot about it - stupid I know but it did coincide with some pretty horrible personal stuff and it just got pushed to the back of my mind. I got fined then for witholding information and because I am on quite a high salary I've got the hugest fine which to be honest I don't know how I am going to pay and I don't know what to do!

It just seems really unfair: I wouldn't get a longer prision sentence because I earn more, so why is my fine higher? sad


LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 01-Oct-11 13:38:30

Oh come on, I've had a speeding fine as well previously and you really do have to go some to ignore something like that. You must have ignored several 'reminders' and warnings about dealing with it.

It was easy to sort out, regardless of the other crap going on, and you chose not to. Pay the fine now otherwise you will really see consequences; if you can't pay it then communicate and hope that they will accept payment over several months but don't stick your head in the sand about this any longer.

kirsty75005 Sat 01-Oct-11 13:39:04

Because a fine has to take into account the earning power of a peron in order to be an equal punishment.

Paying a fixed hundred pounds would be basically unnoticeable fora City banker and might mean struggling for weeks for someone on a low income.
It's not the same punishment even if it is the same amount of money.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 01-Oct-11 13:39:13

.. and how do they know what your earnings are anyway?

FabbyChic Sat 01-Oct-11 13:40:20

When I got a speeding fine it was fixed and not means tested, cost me £60

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:43:09

I may well have got more than one reminder - I don't remember having more than one, but I have to admit the last few months are a bit of a blur.

What happened was that I didn't realise I had to provide proof it was me driving (I have never had a speeding ticket before and just thought it went to me as default since I am the only owner of the car.) So I attended court to explain why I had not provided my insurance and licence details, etc. That was when I had to provide details of my income.

I see what you mean about it being an equal punishment but it does seem rather harsh! I will pay it of course although I don't quite know where I will get the money from. Just grumpy about it! x

MollieO Sat 01-Oct-11 13:43:29

The fine you originally had would have been the same as everyone else. You failed to pay that and ignored reminders so now you paying a fine to reflect that. In the same way a prison sentence tends to be longer for those who don't admit their guilt.

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:44:03

Yes sorry - it wasn't for the ticket but for not providing information. I didn't realise I had to so it was a mistake, honestly! worried everyone thinks I am a hardened criminal

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:44:25

Sorry about the bold!

aldiwhore Sat 01-Oct-11 13:45:22

ITs not means testes in itself, though payments could be worked out on earnings.

The fine is the fine, you got clobbered because you didn't address it, not because you're rich. A low earner would have been fined the same but would have probably been allowed to pay in installments over time once it went to court.

You're complaining about something that was completely your fault, and not the fault of you earning more. £60 (and 3 points?) isn't it? If you ignore the fine goes up and up for everyone!! How you pay it back depends on what you can afford.

worraliberty Sat 01-Oct-11 13:45:47

A fine is supposed to hurt financially

There's no point in fining someone an amount that they'll have no trouble paying and will never miss.

HecateGoddessOfTheNight Sat 01-Oct-11 13:46:06

ok, let's look at it. Say 3 people commit an offence. One of them takes home £100 a week. One of them takes home £600 a week. The third takes home £1500 a week

Do you think that they received the same fine? Do you think that it had the same impact on them? Who, out of the three, was most 'punished'?
In fact, what you had, was three totally different fines, with three different impacts.

Is that fair?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 01-Oct-11 13:47:23

Mine was the same, Fabby. Three points too. I deserved it.

Walkingonthebeach... You only had to prove that it was you driving as you didn't respond to the initial summons/fine. If you had, it would have been a simple thing of paying the fine and getting your licence endorsed.

Sorry for your troubles, OP, these things do happen sometimes but it's worrying that you'd ignore something like that. What if it were a long-awaited hospital appointment for yourself or your child(ren)? Would have ignored that/been oblivious to that too?

LynetteScavo Sat 01-Oct-11 13:47:24

That's because you paid it straight away FabbyChic.

I've had speeding fines, and TBH they were so much of a financial shock that I paid it immediately. I guess this is one way of hitting people who don't pay in the first place through lazyness, or being fair to people who really, genuinely can't find £60.

HecateGoddessOfTheNight Sat 01-Oct-11 13:47:25

missed out the bit where I say that the fine was £100 grin

Slip it in there for me will you? grin

Although I see I x-posted anyway. <sigh>

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:47:30

No the speeding fine was £60 I think. I got a subsequent fine for not providing info - that was means tested. I'm not saying being fined is unfair but that adjusting it for different earners seems unfair - I see the point of it but I honestly do not know how I'm going to stretch to it. I'm not complaining about the fine as such, I accept it was my fault.

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:48:24

My fine for not providing information is just under a thousand pounds - bit more than £60 :-/

aldiwhore Sat 01-Oct-11 13:48:25

Bless, you're not a hardened criminal... and it SUCKS that this happened when you've got so much other headfuck going on in your life (whatever it is) but it is still your responsibility.

Its all written in black and white too, on each reminders are warnings.

I actually do feel for you, BUT its still your fault.

Just like it was mine when I jumped a red light, the fact that my 3 yr old had unbuckled his seat belt and was in the process of climbing out of the rear window, and I went through the light as I was focussed on the layby in which to park safely... was beside the point! smile (Thank goodness for my crap back windows that don't open properly!)

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:51:22

I know sad it WAS my fault, I'm not disputing that - thank you for the sympathy though.

Lyingwitch - I probably would have missed a hospital appointment during that time in all honesty. Everything else just sort of faded into the background. I don't have children. I hope they wouldn't have missed hospital appointments. I'm not normally so badly organised but in hindsight it's easy to realise I should have done ... Anyway thank you for thoughts, sorry if I wasmisleading with info. It wasn't done on purpose.

worraliberty Sat 01-Oct-11 13:52:33

But OP if you were on an extremely low wage with a family to support, you'd be hard pushed to find the original £60.

So you're no worse off than anyone else really.

Imagine fining Dave and Vicky Beckham sixty quid....they'd hardly struggle to pay the gas bill that week, would they?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 01-Oct-11 13:54:55

Many of us have been in that headspace, OP, I'm forgetful when under stress and for that reason, I have a special drawer that 'urgent and important' stuff goes in - nothing else goes in there and I know if there's something in there, I have to tackle it.

Communicate with the court and explain that you need more time to pay - and do it now. Set it up on a direct debit if you have to, don't miss a single payment.

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:55:25

Well yes but I earn £2100 p/m after tax, etc. The fine is just under £1000.

Then I have two mortgages (that is a LONG story!) enormous petrol costs just to get to work, other bills and car finance. I think anyone (even D & V Beckham) might struggle if half their monthly income was taken off them?

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 13:56:11

Can I do that Lying Witch? I didn't realise. Massive relief if that is the case, thank you, I may sleep tonight! x

worraliberty Sat 01-Oct-11 13:57:12

I understand what you're saying

But fines are supposed to hurt or there's no point to them sad

I'd take LyingW's advice if I were you.

walkingonthebeach Sat 01-Oct-11 14:02:25

I know, there's hurting and not being able to eat though sad (I need to lose a stone anyway though lol x)

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