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Exponentially Increasing Fines

The repeat offender WILL eventually get the message
  [vote for,

Having just encountered a couple of other ideas about trying to make fines fair ("Income-Based Fines", "Time Fines", both at upper right), it seems to me that there is yet another possibility.

Certain current practices are inconsistent. For example, there are "Three times and you're out!" laws, that lock up somebody after three significant crimes. Note that for the first offense, a somewhat modest fine may be imposed, and for the second offense, a rather significantly larger fine may be imposed, so locking up the offender after the third offense does qualify as kind of "exponential increase" in the imposed "fine".

Meanwhile, for other lesser offenses, say being ticketed for not putting enough coins in a parking meter, the fine seems to be the same no matter how many times the offense occurs. Yet if the goal is to deter such offenses, and to also deter the wealthy dudes who consider such fines to be a pittance, then it seems to me that these fines, also, need to be given an exponential boost.

For EXAMPLE, suppose a base fine was $10 for a particular first offense. A simple exponential increase would be to give the base-amount-of-fine an exponent which is the number of offenses, so:
$10 (exponent 1 for first offense) = $10
$10 (exponent 2 for second offense) = $100
$10 (exponent 3 for third offense) = $1000
and so on. Six offenses would make even a millionaire take notice! (Yes, that would be a $1,000,000 fine.)

Now, that was an example, and perhaps rises a bit too quickly for the average person, who may need some time to learn new offense-avoiding habits, and especially rises too quickly for offenses of a relatively minor type (such as parking meter ticket). This could be accommodated by simply picking a smaller "base" than $10, when applying the exponent, and adding that to an "ensure fine is at least" amount. For example, consider this series for offenses:
$15 + [$5 (exponent 1) = $5] = $20
$15 + [$5 (exponent 2) = $25] = $40
$15 + [$5 (exponent 3) = $125] = $140
$15 + [$5 (exponent 4) = $625] = $640
$15 + [$5 (exponent 5) = $3125] = $3140
$15 + [$5 (exponent 6) = $15625] = $15,640
$15 + [$5 (exponent 7) = $78125] = $78,140

This also rises rather quickly (perhaps too quickly for parking tickets), but at least the first few fines will not cause extraordinary hardship for the average person (and a lower "base" than $5 is still possible, for appropriately minor offenses). Still, the example as presented MIGHT be quite appropriate for certain middling offenses, like speeding tickets or drunk driving (with option to lose license if fine not paid), because we really do want to seriously discourage highway mayhem. Meanwhile, even a smaller-than-$5 base, used for the exponential computation, will in relatively short order give even a billionaire the message, that certain behavior needs modification.

Vernon, Jan 19 2004

Nokia boss gets record speeding fine http://news.bbc.co..../europe/1759791.stm
A director of the Finnish telecommunications giant, Nokia, has received what is believed to be the most expensive speeding ticket ever. (116,000 euros!) [not_only_but_also, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Income based tickets https://abcnews.go....n/story?id=69231472
[theircompetitor, Feb 27 2020]

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       lovely [+]. Although, a multiplier might work a bit better, the parking cops around here aren't to quick on the addition of fines. We don't want to challenge them with exponents.
reap, Jan 19 2004

       [reap], I thought the judge set the fine, not the cop. Anyway, both have computers handy these days, and computers can compute fines easily. If the cop has to put the fine amount on the ticket, this shouldn't be a problem.   

       As for a simple multiplier, such would take far too long to get the attention of a millioniare. For example, if a $100 fine was given a simple multiplier ($200 for 2nd offense, $300 for third...), then after one hundred offenses the fine would only be $10,000 -- which is still pretty paltry for a millionaire. And -- don't we really want that person to stop doing the offense in fewer than a hundred times? (Well, I can see that the City might be happy to collect such fines, rather than get the citizens to quit offending....)
Vernon, Jan 19 2004

       Nice idea, but the rich are not put off by big fines. (Although ... see link!)   

       I've always thought that there should be a 3-hour on-the-spot time-fine. Everyone's time is precious to them (rich or poor) and sitting by the roadside for 3 hours (police supervised) waiting for a time-fine to pass would really bite!   

       Yeah? Nah?   

not_only_but_also, Jan 19 2004

       The people that are most hurt by fines are people that make a living driving, and making that living is not all that easy as is. Not a good idea.
theircompetitor, Jan 19 2004

       [not only but also], the point is that if that rich person does it again, the fine for THAT offense could be several times that many euros. And the next fine after that...eventually either the offenses will stop or the rich person will become a pauper (probably also with no driver's license).   

       [theircompetitor], you seem to be thinking that the only way a driver can make a living is by speeding. I tend to doubt that.
Vernon, Jan 19 2004

       [humanbean], I'm not surprised. But I suspect that the City would rather have those large fines...provided the offender can pay, of course. That is the point! (To cost those who can afford it, and who deserve to pay it, until they quit thinking that their money lets them ignore the laws.)
Vernon, Jan 20 2004

       I think I prefer income based fines, but these do mean a lot less bureaucracy and can't be avoided by lying about your income. Expensive lawyers will not be able to change the amount you will pay. So +   

       [theircompetitor], if current laws are ubfair to people who make a living off roads are unfair they should be changed. However I don't think allowing them to go faster than the rest of us particularly fair or a good idea.
RobertKidney, Jan 20 2004

       [grayure], are you sure that the fine itself was being increased, or that it was merely being subjected to a high interest rate, compounded rapidly? The latter is common for UNPAID fines and other bills, and is indeed exponential in its growth, but usually the fine itself is not increased.
Vernon, Jan 20 2004

       RobertKidney: of course they shouldn't go faster. But they're likelier then others to get repeated tickets, if only because they drive more.
theircompetitor, Jan 20 2004

       Whoa. Reply hazy, try again later.
lintkeeper2, Jan 20 2004

       But Vernon, aren't billionaires dropped off and picked up from destinations by their drivers? And in the case of a moving violations, aren't the tickets, and therefore the fines, issued to the driver? All a billionaire has to do is reimburse each 'new' driver for their first, second, third or fourth fine.
Tiger Lily, Jan 20 2004

       The IRS has exponentially increasing fines, and it works well. In San Francisco County, there are 3 cars registered for every available parking space. People accrue tons of parking fines. The extra revenue would pay for the construction of more high rise parking facilities.
InsanityKlaus, Jan 20 2004

       You can't really make laws to punish the rich simply because for the most part the rich make the laws.
SystemAdmin, Jan 20 2004

       there was a town in upstate new york that wouldnt do somthing or another and a supreme court judge gave them the choice of paying something like 5 million dollars a day or an amount of money that doubled each day starting at 1 dollar until they changed their laws to match whatever the state wanted it to.
Space-Pope, Jan 20 2004

       [newser], that $15 was only an example, too. It was just there to make the first-offense fine $20 when the first exponentiation of the $5 base came to only $5. Obviouly a bigger "ensure fine is at least" amount would be more appropriate for certain offenses, while the exponentiation of $5 might be retained. But the possibilities are endless, so consider this:
$48+[$2(exponent 1)=$2]=$50
$48+[$2(exponent 2)=$4]=$52
$48+[$2(exponent 3)=$8]=$56
$48+[$2(exponent 4)=$16]=$64
$48+[$2(exponent 5)=$32]=$80
$48+[$2(exponent 6)=$64]=$112
$48+[$2(exponent 7)=$128]=$176
$48+[$2(exponent 8)=$256]=$304

       As you see, in this series the fine starts out at a reasonbly stinging amount, for the average person, and slowly but surely progresses to amounts no one would want to pay (the 20th offense is over a million $). But the overall point I'm trying to make is that it should always be possible to tailor a particular series of fines to a particular type of offense. (You should see how SLOWLY the fine grows if the Base of the exponent is $1.01 --too slowly even for overdue library books!)   

       [grayure], thanks. However, that fine you described is time-based, not offense-based. There is little technical difference between a time-based fine and accumulated interest. Now if your sister had regularly been late returning books, I can see that by the 30th such book, a nice large fine could be appropriate. And another thing, for something like a library book, there is little community outrage to force the guilty person to pay, somehow. For the drunk drivers on the road, though, there IS such outrage. Also, in the case of the just presented example, the gradual way that the fine progresses makes it clear to anyone that anybody who actually persisted in committing the same auto offense enough times, might well deserve to pay that million bucks.   

       [Tiger Lily], you do have a good point, but how often does the billionaire encourage the driver to break speeding and/or parking and/or other traffic laws? The driver's job is on the line by refusing...(on the other hand, I'm pretty sure there are laws against such extortion regarding jobs and law-breaking, so perhaps the billionaire could be sued for lots more than a mere million-dollar fine, heh heh.)   

       [SystemAdmin], yes and no; it depends on the place. Poor voters outnumber rich ones, and occasionally they get something passed that costs the rich more than the poor. However, do note that THIS idea does not really favor anyone; WHOEVER offends enough is eventually going to feel the sting in the available funds. It is merely assumed that the rich are stupid enough to be offensive often enough to end up paying such large fines. But remember, they mostly didn't get rich by being stupid with their money....   

       [Space-Pope], that does sound like an interesting exponential fine -- yet it too is time-based, and not offense-based....
Vernon, Jan 20 2004

       For anyone interested, a Base value of $1.01 is the minimum practical amount in this exponential-fine system (if $1 was the Base, well, 1-rasied-exponentially-by-ANY-value is still $1). So, leaving off the "ensure fine is at least" amount, here is how the $1.01 Base value grows (rounded to nearest penny):
001: $1.01
002: $1.02
003: $1.03
004: $1.04
005: $1.05
006: $1.06
007: $1.07
008: $1.08
009: $1.09
010: $1.10
011: $1.12 (fractions of a cent finally have an effect)
012: $1.13
013: $1.14
014: $1.15
015: $1.16
016: $1.17
017: $1.18
018: $1.20 (fractional cents strike again)
019: $1.21
020: $1.22
--every five offenses--
025: $1.28
030: $1.35
035: $1.42
040: $1.49
045: $1.54
050: $1.64
--every ten offenses--
060: $1.82
070: $2.01
080: $2.22
090: $2.45
100: $2.70

       Heh, I said in prior annotation that this particular exponential fine system would be too slow even for overdue library books, and perhaps you will agree (the fine for the 100th offense is only $1.69 more than the $1.01 fine for the first offense).
Vernon, Jan 28 2004

       This idea is still does not equate punishment for each individual.The thicker skinned and clever need a harder the slap, the more sensitive and less attributed, not so much.
wjt, Feb 27 2020


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