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National Forest Day Use Fee Ticket

Discussion in 'Parking Tickets, Towing, Impound' started by nealdent, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. nealdent

    nealdent Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    New Mexico
    I received a $75 ticket for allegedly not paying a $2 day use fee in the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico. I know this sounds like a small amount, but we are on a very tight budget, and I am considering appearing in court to argue this. I do not plan to hire a lawyer since that cost would exceed the cost of the ticket. I have the following questions:

    1) Would the Forest Ranger that wrote the ticket have to appear in court? The court is located 1.5 hours from the his station, and I am inclined to go to court in case he does not appear, and the case is therefore dismissed.
    2) My argument is that there was no pen to write into the envelope to deposit the $2 into an unmanned drop box. It is an undue burden to require than I carry a pen to pay their fees. I was not far from the parking area, and the Ranger could have approached me to collect the fee or I could have been given a notice to pay the fee at the Ranger's Office. Will this argument matter to a judge?
    3) The ticket and the summons to U.S. District Court left a letter out of my last name. Can this result in it being dismissed?

    Thank you for your assistance.
     
  2. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    Or you could have turned around and left to get one. Or YOU could have gone to see a ranger to get one.
     
  3. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    You don't need a pen to put $2 in the drop box, nor to visit the office to pay if you couldn't use the drop box. It is not the Rangers' job to hunt you down and get you to pay when you show no signs of being willing to do so. I would not use the pen is a burden excuse as that argument does not have anything to do with your failure to pay.

    This isn't like a speeding ticket that automatically gets dismissed if that ranger does not appear and I wouldn't bank on his not appearing. Leaving a letter off your name has zero effect on your case.
     
  4. Trivius

    Trivius New Member

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    I would argue that a $75 fine for failing to understand the $2 entry instructions at a non-staffed public park (that is already paid for and maintained through national taxation) is an excessive fine being imposed in direct violation of the VIII Amendment and thus unconstitutional on its face.

    Also, if the park ranger does not show up there is no witness to testify that you did not in fact pay or intend to pay the $2 entry fee; being that the lazy ranger most likely just ticketed you behind your back without ever actually bothering to make contact with you to clarify your willful intentions to pay or not.

    You could also argue that you were simply confused by the instructions (e.g., other parks you have visited only require payment for entry when the office is staffed otherwise there is no expectation to pay during off peak periods as the park is wide open), were fully expecting the office to be staffed, and were not at all aware that there was a main office that was staffed or even of its location, nor is it reasonable to expect visitors to spend $5 in gas driving around in an area unfamiliar to them just to pay a $2 fee on their own vacation time, or that you did not have the correct dollar sum available to leave in the box; nor do you understand how the taxpayer's money is being so poorly misappropriated that they cannot even afford to adequately staff the park or why the ranger could not simply have make contact with you to resolve your confusion, rather than be reticent, ticketing you and running--how is this public service by any reasonable degree?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  5. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    Which would be a lie.

    Great legal advice.
     
  6. Trivius

    Trivius New Member

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    Only if that were true, which does not seem to be the case. Clearly, the OP thought he needed a pen to write the transaction down, and was not aware of some other main office that was presumed to be opened, and clearly being that no staff was around to clarify the matter for them, they were left to fend for themselves; as well there could have been other insinuating circumstances, who is to say really, being that the park ranger never bothered to lend consideration into simply contacting them (doubly true of there is nobody at the hearing to bear witness against them--see Fifth Amend.), just to stab them in the back with a contrived revenue generating tactic.

    Also it is not "legal advice" (insinuating the practicing of law), which would pertain to a court filed brief or memorandum of law, containing supporting case quotations, legal citations, and such. My post is merely a method of brain-storming as an argument in support of one's favor--which is protected speech and expression.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016

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