Can a misdemeanor "failure to move over" violation really cost over $200 in court costs on top of a $25 fine?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Auburn, AL

About two weeks ago I got a ticket for "Failure to Move Over" on I-85 in Macon Country, Alabama, which I did not realize was a law until the officer who pulled me over informed me. I had slowed down to a safe speed while passing him as he waited between his own parked vehicle and the vehicle he had just pulled over. At no point was he in any danger and there were vehicles on my left that did not make it easy to pull into the left lane. The officer told me it used to be just a courtesy thing (I told him I understood the need), but that now it was a misdemeanor law, that the fine was $25, and I could call a number on the ticket to pay without going to court. I thanked him and went on my way. I have now received notification that Macon County requires I pay $242.00, which a court clerk told me (I phoned) was "court costs" which I must pay, including the $25 fine. Is this some racket?? Why would the officer tell me it was only $25 when it's actually closer to $250? This seems extreme and overly punitive. Do I have any options here to avoid paying this? I'm hurting for money badly right now. I'm inclined to go to court and plead my case.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Randy William Ferguson

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Go to court and fight the ticket. If you were unable to move over safely you are suppose to slow down. If you did that, you may win the case. Take any witnesses you may have to the ticket. Court costs are usually $100-$200.00 on traffic offenses. It is the city, county or states way of sticking it to tax payers to fund programs and new buildings.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The... more
  2. Patrick Mahaney

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . Yes, this is an accurate statement that court costs for traffic violations are now in excess of $200 per ticket and are generally in the $220-$240 range in the state. The clerk of the court for Macon County is Mr. David Love and his assistant is Ms. McDaniel. Both are very helpful and will give you accurate information. If you have any questions, then I would call Mr. Love or Ms. McDaniel for more information.

    The reason why court costs have increased significantly is during the 2012 legislative session, the circuit clerks of court and circuit judges petitioned the state legislature to increase court costs to allow the courts to remain and in-business year around. There was a projected 20-30% shortfall in general fund funding for the state court system in 2012-2013 if the court costs had not been substantially increased. [FYI: There are approximately 1.4 million traffic tickets issued yearly by law enforcement officers in the state of Alabama. With a projected 70% compliance rate (payment to the court), the "business" of traffic tickets is a multi-million dollar revenue production for the state of Alabama.]

  3. Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Such fine is possible. Use every legal avenue available to contest the ticket. Find a good local traffic attorney and discuss the options with that professional in person. Most of us usually provide a brief review pro bono.

    DISCLAIMER The answer given above by the lawyer serves for educational purposes only and provides general... more

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