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Reasons community service may be unfair

While community service has been used as a humane alternative for jail time for individuals who cannot afford to pay court fees, it seems that there are times when it is not as fair as some would imagine. South Carolina residents and visitors may be interested in learning about some findings from a recent report that included 5,000 individuals who were ordered by the court to work off fines between the years 2013 and 2014.

The report showed how court-ordered community service is having a negative impact on low-income communities, particularly in the Los Angeles area where the report was carried out. For one thing, it seems that the hours of work that the court orders do not always match the dollar value of the fines that are imposed on the offenders. For example, a traffic ticket usually incurs a fine of about $520. If a person cannot pay the fine and is ordered to do community service, he or she is typically ordered to work 51 hours.

The report revealed another area where community service may not be the fairest option. When individuals are able to follow through with the community service they have been ordered to perform, it results in millions of hours of labor that are unpaid and unprotected from individuals who are most likely to be dealing with unemployment or unstable work.

When a person is accused of a crime or has an adult child who is implicated for an illegal act, he or she likely worries about the short- and long-term consequences of what a criminal trial or conviction could mean for him or her. A criminal defense attorney may be able to provide legal advice. An attorney may answer questions a person may have regarding criminal allegations or battery or assault charges.

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