Wanted: fines for all infractions

The sheriff tries to define penalties for all cited crimes.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:45 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey doesn’t think he’s asking a whole lot.

There are certain county traffic ordinances that cannot be enforced by the Boone County prosecutor’s office because there are no established fines for the violations described, Carey said. But he is drawing up plans to begin fining violators.


Sheriff Dwayne Carey presented a list of commonly violated county ordinances that as of yet have no fine schedule attached. Here is a selection of them and possible fines. Stopping or parking in a handicapped zone or space: $50 Stopping or parking where signs prohibit: $10 Stopping or parking in front of a public or private driveway: $10 Parking or keeping a vehicle on or along any highway without valid registration: $10 Driving or operating a motor vehicle along or upon any closed highway: $20 Parking more than 18 inches from the curb: $10 Stopping or parking a vehicle on any bridge or other elevated structure upon highway: $10

“We’ve had these county ordinances for as long as I can remember, but we don’t have a fine schedule to enforce them,” Carey told the Boone County Commission at a work session Monday. “So they’re as good as the paper they’re written on.”

Infractions, such as parking 18 inches from the curb or parking in a handicapped zone, which Carey said deputies often see, have gone largely unpunished. There are about 30 other infractions that the sheriff’s staff identified as needing fines, including driving on closed roads, stopping or parking on a sidewalk and blocking a driveway.

“It’s been on my radar since I took office,” Carey said. “We’re not asking for big fines.”

Carey said he used city of Columbia fine schedules for similar violations to come up with preliminary dollar amounts. For instance, he is proposing a $50 fine for parking in a handicapped zone.

While some county ordinances currently carry no fines, they are still infractions, Boone County attorney John Patton said. Infractions are a step below misdemeanors.

The commissioners appeared supportive of the sheriff’s suggestions.

“I have no problem adopting this,” Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said. “I think you need to have teeth in the ordinances you have. I didn’t know we didn’t.”

A portion of this report first aired Thursday during “News At 10” on KMIZ/Channel 17 ABC, Columbia.

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