If a mother earning minimum wage puts her kids in the family car, has her eyes on the road when her disobedient 14-year-old slips off his annoying shoulder belt and gets pulled over, what’s an appropriate punishment? .
The Golden State's answer: The minimum fine for not properly restraining a child under 16 is $465, or a bit more than our poor driver earns in a whole week.
For her, the effective penalty is 40 hours labor; more if she cannot pay on time, or misses a court date, or gets written up for another infraction found during the traffic stop. And if she cannot pay at all, she might even lose her license and be unable to get to work.