Community Service Instead of Traffic Fines: It sounded good at first

Seven years ago I came up with an idea for people who get moving violations: If you can tell the police officer what it was you did wrong, you could be eligible for community service instead of traffic school. At time someone whose opinion I trust said this would never work.

Well it seems the city of Oakland does have a way you can work instead of paying your fine, and depending on your violation you may be eligible for skipping traffic school.

The prospect of community service intrigued me, not even so much as saving the exorbitant fee on a ticket I received recently for a minor violation but because I was curious what the options were for service.

Unfortunately the barriers to investigating this were too high.

1) Arrive by 8am and wait for the chance to have the case reviewed after 9:30, if you’re among the first 120 cases.

2) If you don’t get in the 9:30 round, the next review time is 2pm.

Basically you need to dedicate a whole day to being assigned your community service.

I called up to ask if there’s a way to know how many hours of service you get based on the ticket. Nope, you have to go in.

It would be nice if even for people for whom time is more rare than money to be able to take advantage of this community service option. But at the cost of a day just to schedule this, it is more an option only for the jobless. Still, it’s nice that it’s an option.

Update:  Upon realizing traffic school is required in addition to paying, the idea of spending a day at the Oakland court is sounding better and better. Although I have to admit that a comedy traffic school I went to years ago was one of my best entertainment experiences ever. To this day I quote rules I learned in that class and I remember not wanting to leave after 8 hours in that room. Now that’s a testimonial!

As luck would have it I have a goal to take an improv class, so this is my chance.

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6 Comments

  1. All of those things are barriers but also consider what the public service is.I doubt it includes something really noble/desirable like caring for the elderly or tutoring inner-city kids. More likely it’s walking around with an orange vest picking up trash.

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  2. SOMEONE HAS TO PAY FOR THE CROKED POLITICIANS DRUGS AND WHORES THEY WANT YOU TO BREAK THE LAW OTHER WISE THEY WOULD BE OUT OF A MULITI BILLON DOLLARS BUSINESS

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  3. I live in Western NY state just outside of Buffalo. My 33yo friend recently received his 1st speeding ticket. Can you tell me if his penalty seems a bit steep (or even legal for that matter!)? It seems excessive IMO.
    Maximum court surcharge, Maximum fine, mandatory traffic school AND 3 points on license & the best of all…..initially, 500 hours of community service, but lengthened to 1,000 hours after the plaintiff politely expressed some shock/disbelief!!!!!!!!!!!!
    All that for 8mph over the limit!!! WTF??? I thought there were mandatory penalties allowed for moving traffic violations? I mean, a judge can’t sentence you to death for jay-walking….or can he? Apparently this judge is above the law, grossly incompetent, or both. How would you fight such a flagrant abuse of power & miscarriage of justice? Is this an insanely tyrannical judge, or what?

    Reply

  4. today a got a red light ticket but the car is register under my brothers name do you know if i can do the community services or if he has to do it

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  5. I found a new community service option– online! only $50. communityservicehelp.com I’m gonna try it later this summer for the ticket I just got.
    Fernando-when they mail the ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle-the owner has to answer a question that asks if he was the driver or if it was someone else.Then I think he submits info on the actual driver-so you should end up with the ticket on your record.

    Reply

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