With Kadyn’s Law, although misdemeanor convictions do not pose the same penalties as felony convictions, they often have other effects on a person’s life. Employers often run background checks and, when they do, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense that will appear on the report. A misdemeanor can also cause problems with obtaining security clearances.
As with any new law, some enhanced judicial outreach will help to align convictions with the revised penalties.
Given that the law was enacted in March 2012, a review of the “failure to stop for a school bus” convictions between Aug. 15 and Oct. 31, 2012, showed, even though Kadyn’s Law requires a minimum fine of $250 for the first offense, 105 of the total 162 convictions (65 percent) had a fine amount of less than $250 (Driver Services Research and Driver Safety Data Analysis 2012).
A summary for the 162 convictions by fine category is as follows:
• In one case, the judge made it a $60 civil penalty with no court costs or surcharge.
• In one case, the judge will dismiss the charge if the defendant will do some community service.
• One conviction was from out of state so the fine amount is unavailable.
• In four cases, the judge required the defendant to pay $60 court costs only.
• In 19 cases, the judge set the fine at $65, which is the minimum fine for a non-scheduled simple misdemeanor.
• In 19 cases, the judge set the fine at $100, which is half of what the scheduled fine was for this violation prior to the implementation of Kadyn’s Law.
• In two cases, the judge set a $150 fine.
• In 60 cases, the fine was set at $200..
• In 55 cases the fines ranged from $250 to $500.
Information was obtained from “School Bus Safety Study — Kadyn’s Law: Final report, December 2012.”