McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 12, 2013

Will fines increase?

By James Beaty
Senior Editor


Among the things the McAlester City Council will consider during its next regular meeting is an increase in a number of city fines — and a new $25 fee for “technological maintenance and improvements.”
An item on the agenda calls for assessing an additional  $25 fee on everyone who is convicted or who pays for a ticket, to go toward establishing a “technology fund.”
Both items are among those on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the McAlester City Council set for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
If the measure passes, the additional $25 fee will be “assessed in addition to any other costs or fees assessed on every citation disposed of in the municipal court, except for those that are voided, declined for prosecution or on which the defendant is acquitted,” according to the proposed measure.
Revenues generated by the fee shall be deposited in an interest-bearing account, according to the amendment.
“Expenditures may be made from this account only for technological maintenance and improvements for the city,” the proposed measure reads.
Asked about the $25 fee, Stasiak said “That’s something new that’s popping up all over the state.” He said computers and other equipment that is utilized wears out.
Asked if the funds derived from the fee would be used for technological purposes throughout city government, Stasiak said it would be earmarked for the police department and criminal investigations.”
Told that the proposed ordinance makes no mention of earmarking the funds strictly for the police and criminal investigation departments, Stasiak said the intent had been to do so.
Meanwhile, the proposed increase in the fine schedule covers several areas, while other fines would remain the same.
Asked about the proposed increases, Stasiak said many of the increases are for alcohol-related offenses.
The proposed new schedule includes:
• All school zones violations —  $325.
• Reckless driving would increase from $325 to $500.
• Fleeing, resisting, or attempting to elude officer would increase from $325 to $500.
• Leaving the scene of accident would rise from $325 to  $500.
• DWI, driving while impaired, would increase from $325 to $500.
• DUI, driving under the influence, would rise from $325  $500.
• Actual physical control would have a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $325.
• Speeding would include: 
1-10 mph in excess of speed limit — $50.
11-20 mph in excess of speed limit — $73.
21-30 mph in excess of speed limit — $125.
31 mph and over in excess of speed limit — $200.
• Transporting open container of intoxication beverage (beer)  — $125.
• Transporting open container of intoxication beverage (liquor) — $200.
• Driving under suspension of license would rise from $325 to $500.
• Careless driving — $98
• Operating vehicle without license plate (having paid all taxes due state) — $98
• All other weapons violations — $325.
• Parking in fire lane — $73.
• Fire zone and all other parking  — $73, except handicap parking, with a minimum of $150 and a maximum of $250.
• No proof of liability insurance, minimum $200, maximum $325.
• Failure to appear — $75.
• All other traffic-related violations — $98.
• False Identification —$325.
The proposed measure also includes an emergency clause, “declared to exist for the preservation of the public
peace, health and safety,” which will allow the new schedule to take effect immediately, if passed.
Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalester