Fines as punishment considered

In response to the assertion that a fine as punishment only affects those who have difficulty paying it.
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Jorn Larsson wrote:
No that is wrong. If the law has a fine for a penalty it means the crime is not a serious one, meaning does not endanger someone else or society in general. It is most likely a misdemeanor.
You can definitely say it punishes more poor people because they can’t afford it.
 
However several options are given to people who cannot pay. They’re not detained. So be careful with your wording. You can definitely argue if that’s the right punishment and instead of fines you could do some community work for e.g. or a fine plus community work which can force even rich people to feel a bit more forced to respect the law. But no, this kind of law does not only* exist for the lower class.
 
This claim has several implications as well because you may just as well say that the law which imprisons thieves is targeted to poor people because they’re the ones who might be more inclined to commit such crimes. Or even any law that punishes a crime exists only for poor people if statistically, they’re the ones who commit more crimes, they’re the ones who are punished more or they cannot afford a good lawyer whatsoever. That is however a very dangerous claim.
 
Lydia Gastrell wrote:
I don’t’ know where you live Jorn Larsson, but whether or not people are given other options for paying fines is completely different all over the US, county by county. In mine? Hell no. There is no community service option, they don’t care how poor you are. And they WILL arrest you for unpaid fines.
 
Also, people who live in places where the rich and poor and right up against each other, like New York or LA, know exactly what this concept is. Rich people will park wherever the hell they want all the time, all day, because the fines mean nothing to them. In their world, it’s so little money that the law doesn’t even exist. But for us peasants working retail and food service? It’s enough money to hurt, to keep people from making rent.
 
So you better believe those laws with fines are only for poor people, because only poor people have any kind of motivation to follow them.
 
Jorn Larsson wrote:
Well no I can’t speak for every state in the U.S. or every county. What I’m saying is the law is there for both. Maybe I’m focusing on semantics too much but to say the law exists only for the poor, means that the law does not apply to rich people i.e. they are not fined because they are rich.
 
The fact that poor people cannot afford it and rich people can is a different thing. You can say it is an unfair law and it definitely is. You can it’s not equitable and make a case on why it should be, like it is in many European countries and I’m a big proponent of that as well.
 
Dan Jordan wrote:
Especially if the fine is less than the profit made from the crime. Then it is called capitalism.
 
Seth Griffin wrote:
That depends on how the fine is levied; Finland levies fines based on income. If a fine is $100 for someone making minimum wage, and $1M for someone pulling a $30M salary, then you can reasonably say that the fine is a reasonably just punishment.

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