No, You Should Not Pay Your $206 Speeding Ticket With Urine-Soaked Coins

47-year-old Washington resident Michael Lynch tried and failed to pay a $206 speeding ticket with a plastic bag filled with coins and urine. Surprisingly, his special payment for doing 54 mph in a 35 mph construction zone didn’t violate any laws…

“It was nasty. It reeked,” said Sgt. Phil Anderchuk.

Anderchuk called a U.S. postal inspector to see if federal law had been broken, and learned that it’s not against the law to mail a box of bodily fluids, as long as it’s properly packed and doesn’t emit an obnoxious odor. (Court staff could only smell the contents once they opened the package).

So the sergeant sealed up the box and mailed it back to Lynch — with $27.30 postage due if Lynch wanted his change back.

The Multnomah County courthouse mailroom supervisor says that obscenity-laced payments are “a common daily occurrence,” and the office refuses to accept more than $20 worth of coins.

Lynch tried to pay the fine with a standard check, but he addressed it to the wrong agency. He tried again, but made it out for the wrong amount. His ticket is now with a collections agency, which might be more accepting of urine-soaked payments.

Washington man streams his anger — but still must pay traffic ticket [The Oregonian]
(Photo: formatc1)


Edit Your Comment

  1. harleymcc says:

    The cat seems to like it.

  2. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Sigh. Nobody likes speeding tickets, but … act like a grown-up, geez.

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): Yeah, reserve the childish antics for parking tickets!

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): Next time, he should just obey the law. If the ticket was given in error (which I seriously doubt in his case), he should contest it in court.

      It’s really amazing how many tickets one can avoid by simply driving safely.

      • Benguin says:

        @GuinevereRucker: Go figure, eh?

      • SudhamayiKabong says:

        @GuinevereRucker: No doubt. These jackasses act like they’re without blame, but if they actually drove safely and followed the speed limit, they wouldn’t have got the ticket in the first place. I can understand contesting something you feel you didn’t get, but c’mon, you don’t get pulled over for driving safely and at the speed limit, unless of course your tags are out of date, or your lights are out, but that’s still your responsibility. So bottom line is, if you don’t want a ticket, you’ll obey the law!

        • chris_d says:

          There are quite a few cops out there that like to pull people over just because they’re bored and harass them. The last time I got pulled over it was due to a light out that I didn’t even know about — and I check that stuff pretty often since I do my own car maintenance. The guy was a complete prick. Kept wanting to search my car (I didn’t have anything illegal but told him he didn’t have my permission)

          But if you get a ticket for something and you don’t think you deserved it you’re much better off talking to the county/district attorney’s office and being polite and friendly than what this guy did. It’s amazing how far being polite and friendly with the state’s attorney can get you. And if that doesn’t get you anywhere, read up on the law and fight it in court.

          • bravohotel01 says:

            @chris_d: Is this from actual experience, or are you basing this on TeeVee?

            I’ve gone to court several times over speeding tix, more as a course in self-education rather than with any hope of winning.

            The lesson I got was the quickest, cheapest method to “win” is to declare guilty or noco at arraignment; the judge will then offer “driving school,” which costs you $100 + “court costs” (another hundred or so) + 8 hours of mind-numbing drudgery.

            When one declares “not guilty,” the ONLY consistent way I saw that one could “win” is if the cop was a no-show. If the cop was there, I never saw anyone win, after witnessing ~50 cases.

            Of course people *do* win, but it is rare. If it comes down to your word vs. the cop’s, you LOSE. If you’re lucky to get a sharp attorney who catches the prosecutor making a procedural mistake, you WIN. In all other situations, you LOSE.

            As municipal court is all about $$$, the state will take their pound of flesh from you unless you are very, very lucky. Most times, it is a waste of time to fight it (time off from work / sitter to watch the kids / etc), so most people just belly-up and pay the tax.

      • rockasocky says:

        @GuinevereRucker: Or if you’re gonna speed, do it properly and keep on the lookout for cops!

      • redkamel says:

        payment!@silver-bolt: It might count as defacement once a judge looks at it. Spirit of the law and all that.

        • ShadowFalls says:


          No it would not be. Defacement is an attempt to make the currency unusable. This person was exacting a freedom of speech, though a very nasty one, it wasn’t an attempt to make the currency unusable.

          • Kaellorian says:

            @ShadowFalls: I think urination as a first amendment right is taking things a bit far.

            Signed, I.P. Freely

            • Rectilinear Propagation says:

              “I don’t even see the IP address.”

              “It’s right-“

              “Now I’m thinking of I.P. Freely. Now I’m thinking of Ace Frehley. *gasp* Stan, Ace Frehley… put him on the list.”

          • snowburnt says:

            @ShadowFalls: It really depends on how you look at it. I’m unaware of any precedence but if someone wanted to be a prick about it they could say that you turned the money into a biohazard and made it unsafe unless you launder it (nyuk, nyuk). Especially is the case if they used cat urine (I think I got confused with the picture) that stuff is impossible to get out.

            Also, people think bathrooms are where you are most likely to get germs, but in reality, money is far filthier than most bathrooms (people clean bathrooms more frequently because they think they’re bactera magnets, who ever cleans a dollar bill? How many people have touched that dollar bill?)

            Continuing down the dirty tangent, some people I knew in college did a study and it turned out you’d be better off not using a water cup in beer pong: the ground is actually cleaner than the cup after a few games.

      • bravohotel01 says:

        @GuinevereRucker: YMMV by state law, but you’re saying that you *never* change lanes without signaling, never continue to drive in the fast lane if there are more than two cars behind you (and you’re driving the speed limit), never exceed the speed limit–even by one mpg, and never change lanes in the middle of an intersection?

        I’m going to have to raise the yellow card on you.

    • OprahBabb says:

      @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): Agreed. Karma is a bitch and she has friends.

  3. wcnghj says:

    I think their is some law that says coins are legal tender for any debt. Unless it was disclosed to him that they only accepted $20 in coins before he got the ticket, this is a debt and they needed to accept coins as payment.

    • scottr0829 says:

      @wcnghj: This is a common misconception: [] Since this court is a public “business” though (I think), I am not sure if this statute applies – I can only assume it would.

      • Derek Balling says:

        @scottr0829: You’re misreading it, a little bit.

        The key word is “debt”. In other words “If you owe money,” the creditor has to accept all forms of legal tender, coins, bills, whatever.

        However, if you walk into a store and want to buy a $500 television, you don’t have a “debt”. You’re entering into an agreement to sell, and the seller can put restrictions on that exchange of goods as they see fit (e.g., “I will only accept reasonable amounts of cash or coin”).

        If a bar lets you run up a tab, though, for example, it becomes a debt, at which point the “all debts” clause comes back into play.

        In this case, though, the ticket-fine clearly represents a debt. (as evidenced by it being sent to a debt collections agency), and so the government agency was in violation of the law in rejecting his payment of the debt using legal tender.

      • Mike Corey says:

        US Code 31.IV.51.I.5103

        “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts. “

        The fine should be considered a public charge or due. Therefor they should be required to accept all the coins, but as someone else stated, the urine could probably be refused.

        • drdom says:

          @Mike Corey:
          Section 31 U.S.C. 5103 just says that coins are valid US Currency.

          No where does it mandate that coins must be accepted with or without cat urine. Private businesses are and always have been free to adopt reasonable policies for the acceptance of forms of payment.

          In addition, state and local governmental units, consistent with the appropriate state constitution(s) laws and ordinances are also permitted to adopt reasonable administrative policies regarding acceptable forms of payment for taxes, fines, municipal fees etc.

          People who disagree are free to challenge the policies in the appropriate legal forum. Most times the issue comes up, it is a misdirected expression of frustration. Sending urine soaked coins to a court clerk does nothing to get back at the police who issued the ticket, or the judge who found him guilty.

          Federal Law does not mandate the acceptance of urine soked coins. In some states (7 I have found so far), doing so might be considered contempt of court under certain circumstances.

          • West Coast Secessionist says:

            @drdom: > “Private businesses are and always have been free to adopt reasonable policies for the acceptance of forms of payment.”

            Not when it’s payment of debt! See my comments above. I’m tired of repeating myself. Maybe wikipedia would be of some help to you since you obviously don’t know what “Legal Tender” means.

            • JartMaster_GitEmSteveDave says:

              @West Coast Secessionist: So according to you, if I go to a gas station at night where the employee is under rules to not have more than $50 on hand, and I whip out a thousand dollar bill, I get my gas for free? Wow, I think you just found yourself a way to get free gas and other goods. Try it out and let me know how it goes.

              By the way, the Wikipedia article you link to? All of the citations save one letter from Thomas Jefferson cite FOREIGN “legal tender” policies/law, including the first line:

              Legal tender or forced tender is payment that, by law, cannot be refused in settlement of a debt.[1]

              If you scroll down, you will see: 1. “Legal Tender Guidelines”. British Royal Mint. [] Retrieved on 2007-09-02. Tighten the buckle on your shoes, but this ain’t England anymore.

              • Hobz says:

                @JartMaster_GitEmSteveDave: “So according to you, if I go to a gas station at night where the employee is under rules to not have more than $50 on hand, and I whip out a thousand dollar bill, I get my gas for free? Wow, I think you just found yourself a way to get free gas and other goods.”

                That’s not debt…

                • JartMaster_GitEmSteveDave says:

                  @Hobz: So I don’t owe a gas station when they pump gas in my car? What a fool I have been paying the station when I receive goods and services. Of course, according to the Princeton Dictionary, Debt is:…an obligation to pay or do something .

                • David Brodbeck says:


                  @JartMaster_GitEmSteveDave: “So according to you, if I go to a gas station at night where the employee is under rules to not have more than $50 on hand, and I whip out a thousand dollar bill, I get my gas for free? Wow, I think you just found yourself a way to get free gas and other goods.”

                  That’s not debt…

                  What if they let you pump before paying? (Used to be common, less so all the time though.) Seems like in the period of time between when the gas enters your tank and when you go to pay, you’ve technically incurred a debt…

              • ceilingFANBOY says:

                @JartMaster_GitEmSteveDave: First of all, if you whip out a $1000 bill, you are obviously counterfitting money. However, assuming there is a $1000 bill, then yes, they would be required to accept it. You may not get any change back, but they will accept it. They can tell you that they only accept exact change, in which case no tender is being refused as long as you are making the correct payment. Otherwise, I’m sure they would be more than happy to record your name and address and turn you over to a collections agency which will be more capable of accepting your $1000 bill or require you to pay now and receive your change later.

                • DynamicBits says:

                  @ceilingFANBOY: You might want to do some research the next time you claim something doesn’t exist and someone is committing a felony. $1000 bills do exist.

            • snowburnt says:

              @West Coast Secessionist: Relax, dude. Acting like you are righteously striking down ignorance doesn’t make you right.

              They are allowed to turn down money if it is unreasonable for them to accept it. Plus having it soaked in urine could almost be interpreted as defacement or even terrorism if you got a prosecuter that was aggressive enough

              • David Brodbeck says:

                @snowburnt: Cat urine is very corrosive to copper. Leave those pennies for a few weeks and they’ll be pretty darn defaced. I once had a computer “marked” by a cat. Even with careful cleaning, it quickly became unreliable. IC pins would turn green and corrode right off the board.

      • West Coast Secessionist says:

        @scottr0829: YOU are the one with a common misconception. The biggest urban myth I know of is what you just said, thanks to so many wannabe mythbusters that go around spouting how “legal tender” means nothing. Next time READ THE LAW before you speak.

        If a DEBT exists, the creditor must accept cash (ANY DENOMINATION OF CASH THE DEBTOR WISHES) as payment. Regardless of what your “policy” is, and I doubt the government is exempt from their own rule.

        The urine thing was his only mistake here, since when you do that to the government you’re asking for them to get you on some other charge. Heck, contempt of court would be an obvious one.

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      @wcnghj: If he rolled the coins and didn’t include the urine, they might have been required to accept the payment. However, urinating on coins could be considered defacement of legal tender, which AFAIK is illegal.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @JollyJumjuck: Look up the meaning of defacement of legal tender. Soaking them in urine does not change the coin to reflect a different amount, nor does it remove any silver or metal content, nor does it make it unrecognizable.

        This is not defacement. Also, defacement is only illegal if the coin is then tried to be used as currency. It is not illegal if you decide to keep it for yourself.

    • Hoss says:

      @wcnghj: I dont know about the law, but if he were in a position to challenge them, the police can safely say they refused the urine not the coins

    • 3RandomBagsOfCr@p_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @wcnghj: Correct. Coins are a legal tender for all debt. That does not mean the business has to accept it. Just like a can of cat food is food for my cat, it doesn’t mean she has to eat it, want a different “flavor”, and/or eat something else instead.

      • West Coast Secessionist says:


        “Coins are a legal tender for all debt. That does not mean the business has to accept it.” -You

        NO. Let me fix that for you:

        Coins (and all US currency) are legal tender for all debt. That does not mean the business has to accept it, rather, it means that if they refuse to accept legal tender, they forfeit their right to collect the debt.

        All this “the business has the right to refuse payment” crap applies only to PURCHASES, not a PRE-EXISTING DEBT. Stop confusing those two situations, unless you want to be in debt for the rest of your life to a creditor that maliciously requires you to pay them only in mint-condition 1936 nickels and can thus hound you forever regardless of your willingness to pay.

        -Nothing personal, but for some reason this particular issue always brings out a dozen commenters claiming that legal tender law is trumped by some kind of imaginary “capitalist’s privilege” principle that overrides everything else.

    • ohiomensch says:


      Our local city ordinance says that the Court Clerk does not have to accept more than 26 coins in any denomination. Most communities have such ordinances in place to deter the payment of fines in pennies, etc. I did take $580 in one dollar bills once (person said they were a waitress, but if I had to guess they were really a stripper)

      • JartMaster_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @ohiomensch: I used to get a customer who would come in to my 7-11 and give me 501 $1 bills, and get a $500 money order. He was a bartender. He was short only once. The biggest pain was getting them into the safe, as we were not allowed to have much money on us during the overnight shift. The reason he got a money order was that his bank gave him problems if he tried depositing all those singles at once, and this was easier, and we loved singles at 7-11!

  4. forgottenpassword says:

    hey! is that a “looza” brand juice bottle in that cat pic? Because I use one to store coins in as well.

    Meh…. just wipe your butt with some paper money & get on with your life.

  5. rpm773 says:

    I think there was a story a few years ago about someone paying a parking ticket upon which he had wiped feces. And I think I remember it landing him a disorderly conduct citation.

  6. choinski says:

    My own uniformed beleif is:

    – That package was not properly packed for a bodily fluid

    – There is a probably a law (or policy, or something) about a citizen subjecting an employee intentionally to an extremely unsanitary /health threatening condition.
    (Why urine when you can easily ship it in the cavity of a raw chicken?)

  7. Brontide says:

    This story reeks, and not just because of the cat piss.

    “”I encourage you to submit your payment in a more traditional form,” he wrote in a January letter. He told Lynch to expect a visit from a postal inspector, presumably to talk about how close he came to violating federal law.”

    But he didn’t break any federal law and the coinage was valid for this debt.

    “Lynch apparently got the message, because a few weeks later a check arrived. But it was made out to the wrong agency. Courthouse staff sent it back. In February, a new check arrived, but this time it was made out for the wrong amount: $206, which didn’t account for $65 in penalties for arriving late. Last week, the state turned Lynch’s case over to a collection agency. “

    So due to the courts own refusal to take his money they have only compounded the problem. It’s beyond the pale to refuse the original payment amount and turn the debt over to collections because it arrived late. Why not accept the payment and seek the $65 separately? Twice they refused what appeared to be a proper payment for the debt and instead have threatened him with arrest, continued to harass him, and now are trying to ruin his credit.

    • hedonia says:

      @snowmoon: You know what? I think once you mail the court a bunch of pennies soaked in urine, they’re not going to give you the benefit of the doubt anymore.

    • 3RandomBagsOfCr@p_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @snowmoon: Did you really read the article?

      Lynch apparently ignored the ticket and missed a court date in which he could have shown up to fight the ticket or argued his case to the judge in a letter. He racked up an extra $65 in fees.

      Then, the box showed up.

      The $65 dollar was part of the “original” debt.

      As for the “coinage was valid for the debt”, yes, it is a valid form of payment. Doesn’t mean they have to accept it. Besides, how would you feel if you were stuck at the counter, while the nice lady/guy counted out $271 in change?

      • Brontide says:

        @3RandomBagsOfCr@p_GitEmSteveDave: The article is actually confusing since, to me, it reads that additional fees were racked up between the first and second check.

        I’m not saying the guy is not a first class jerk, but the letter ( but not the intent ) of the law was on his side.

      • MMD says:

        @3RandomBagsOfCr@p_GitEmSteveDave: No. “Original” means first. The article states that the $65 was “extra”, therefore not original.

      • SabreDC says:

        @3RandomBagsOfCr@p_GitEmSteveDave: Wrong. This constitutes a debt to the government and they are required to accept any legal tender. Obviously, they do not have to accept urine-soaked money, so they are absolutely within their rights to deny that. However, if you show up at the courthouse to pay a fine and you pay in pennies, they must accept this. It is not the same as a business denying you that ability; this is the government.

        • Esquire99 says:

          That’s actually not true about the pennies. See my post below, which contains citations to appropriate case law that indicates that the government can refuse to accept an unreasonable amount of coins.

        • drdom says:

          Actually, with all due respect, you should go back and read 31 USC 5103.

          Section 31 U.S.C. 5103 just says that coins are valid US Currency.

          No where does it mandate that coins must be accepted with or without cat urine. Private businesses are and always have been free to adopt reasonable policies for the acceptance of forms of payment.

          In addition, state and local governmental units, consistent with the appropriate state constitution(s) laws and ordinances are also permitted to adopt reasonable administrative policies regarding acceptable forms of payment for taxes, fines, municipal fees etc.

          • West Coast Secessionist says:

            @drdom: Just tagging this as wrong for posterity too. Your “policies for the acceptance of forms of payment” line needs to be qualified with “but only at the initial point of sale, where no debt exists.”

        • JartMaster_GitEmSteveDave says:

          @SabreDC: Which Government? B/c IIRC, Intrastate Commerce doesn’t fall under the control of the Federal Government.

    • mythago says:

      @snowmoon: Look, we have a lot of resident trolls here, and the regulars at least fake having read the article, so can’t you put in some effort? It isn’t “confusing”. Mister Pisspenny didn’t show up to contest the court ticket. This means he got additional fines. THEN he sent in the urine-soaked coins, WITH an angry note. AFTER the pennies were refused he sent in a check made out to the wrong agency.

      This isn’t rocket science.

      • Brontide says:

        @mythago: Having quoted from the original article might have been a small hint that I read it. After re-re-reading it it’s still ambiguous, did he send in more money the first two times, did they return his money twice and not tell him the correct amount that he owed or did additional penalties apply due to the extreme late payment? They do say he got $65 in fees for not arguing his case, but then they say later he has $65 in penalties for being late. To me these are two separate charges and I’m not the only one who read it that way.

  8. deadspork says:

    Urine solves everything.

  9. Munchie says:

    There had got to be a way to fit a jelly fish attack in here somehwere. That way the urine could be useful.

    • TVarmy says:

      @Munchie: In Austrellia, it’s considered polite to bundle some urine with most transactions, in case of jellyfish attack. Pirates actually used urine as currency, for its curative properties and its powerful stain-fighting magic.

  10. Danny Champlin says:

    I don’t blame him for doing that! Nothing annoys me more than cops sitting around looking for a chance to give somebody a ticket.

    • itsnotbecca says:

      @Danny Champlin:

      If the ticket was for 42 in a 35, I could see your point. Doing 54 in a 35 is a little bit extreme. Even in speed traps where the speed drops, it usually doesn’t drop from 55 to 35; there’s often a 45 zone in the middle there.

      If you do get caught doing something you know you aren’t supposed to be doing, it’s stupid to respond by…doing something you know you aren’t supposed to be doing.

    • 3RandomBagsOfCr@p_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @Danny Champlin: Yeah! Just cuz I decide to speed through a school zone, doesn’t mean that a cop sitting there trying to protect them can pull me over!

      I mean, just b/c someone breaks the law, why should a police officer act on it. They should all sit in the station house and wait until Danny, who pays their salary after all, calls them to tell them what to do.

    • kmw2 says:

      @Danny Champlin: Somehow, with a $206 fine, I doubt it was just some cop sitting around waiting for someone to go 36 in a 35.

    • madanthony says:

      @Danny Champlin:

      I’ve been pulled over a few times and let go with a warning – not all cops are jerks. But based on this guy’s sunny disposition, I’m going to guess he didn’t respond to being pulled over in a calm, rational manner.

      And if he felt he didn’t deserve the ticket and had a valid argument why, he could have gone to court and fought it. He didn’t. If you don’t take advantage of the opportunities the justice system gives you to seek redress, you have no reason to protest it.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Danny Champlin: @Danny Champlin: He was going 54mph in a 35mph construction zone. In many places, fines are doubled for speeding through a construction zone because of the danger it poses to the people working there. Like it or not, construction zone speed limits are the most legitimate ones you can find outside of a school zone.

    • Nicole Glynn says:

      @Danny Champlin: Are you serious? He was going a good 20mph over in a construction zone. He deserved the damn ticket.

      • Hyman Decent says:

        @Nicole Glynn: Actually, he was cited for going 19 mph over the limit, not 20. I’m not pointing this out to be a nitpicker, but to note that maybe the police officer clocked him going faster than 54 but wrote down 54 to give him a bit of a break, since going 20 or more mph over the limit could’ve been worse.

        On the other hand, maybe if he had been going 20 or more mph over the speed limit, the officer may have been required to arrest him, and the officer didn’t want to bother with that hassle.

        • snowburnt says:

          @Hyman Decent: That happened to me at least once, I was definitely going about 30 over in the dead of night no cars on the road and sure enough I get pulled over, he knocked it down to 19 over so that it was just a speeding ticket instead of reckless.

          Figures, cop does a guy a favor and the guy pees in his face

    • parnote says:

      @Danny Champlin: I can see your point, Danny. In our town, drug dealers walk free. But don’t go 5 MPH over the speed limit, cuz the fuzz is watching and ready to pounce. The cops are too busy writing minor traffic tickets to be bothered with getting the drug dealers off the street. BTW … this town is INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI.

    • nakedscience says:

      @Danny Champlin: Um, isn’t that their JOB?

  11. novacthall says:

    Why are we so allergic to responsibility? The man was in the wrong. If you do something wrong, and you’re busted, own up to it.

    I’m tired of everyone with an entitlement complex thinking they’re somehow exempt from responsibility. Me, me, me, me, me.


  12. MrsLopsided says:

    Apparently those defending Mr Lynch would have no problem receiving their government payments (income tax refund, veterans, unemployment or social security benefits) in pennies or urine soaked bags.

    • TEW says:

      Income tax refund is the governments way of thanking you for giving them an interest free loan for 12 months. Veterans benefits are just like a corporation’s payment for the work you have done. The VA health system is there because we don’t want to force of armed service men and women to have to pay for their injuries in battle protecting us. If I had my way I would not pay into to Social Security because it is nothing more than a pyramid scam

      • David Brodbeck says:

        @TEW: I’m getting really tired of hearing this old trope. Social security is a “pyramid scam” only if you consider insurance in general a pyramid scam. When I pay money to, say, my car insurance company, it doesn’t get held in a special little account with my name on it; it gets used to pay off current claims. This is exactly how Social Security works.

    • attackgypsy says:

      @MrsLopsided: Wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. That’s what they made garden hoses for.

  13. BuddhaLite says:

    Personally I don’t see how he’s responsible for paying at this point. The court received his money and sent it back. I call that a refund.

    • kmw2 says:

      @Bevill: You’d be OK if someone paid you a debt in urine-soaked coins then? I mean, they paid you, right?

    • tc4b says:

      @Bevill: What if you employer paid you in urine soaked coinbags because they resented the fact that, just because you work there, they have to pay you?

      • BuddhaLite says:


        Money is money. Money is also really dirty and nasty if you sit and think about how many people touched it and where it may have been.

        • snowburnt says:

          @Bevill: I believe that there are laws as to how much money people are required to accept in change. If you pay over that limit the business doesn’t have to recognize it as currency. In this case it was $20.

          This is like you trying to use Prussian currency or confederate money to pay me. It’s money right?

        • nakedscience says:

          @Bevill: Are you kiddign me here? It’s hugely unsanitary. More unsanitary than just normal coinage. IT WAS SOAKED IN URINE.

  14. 3RandomBagsOfCr@p_GitEmSteveDave says:

    In NJ, if you throw, hurl, toss, etc… ANY bodily fluid, including, but not limited to:saliva, blood, urine, feces, seminal fluid or any other bodily fluid on a officer, it is considered assault.

    This guy is lucky they didn’t call a full out bio hazard response. I worked in a mail room inspecting packages for a major world wide company, and I know if anything suspicious came in, I had to be locked in until we cleared it of anything dangerous.

  15. Esquire99 says:

    A cursory search of LexisNexis reveals only one case on-point to this issue, State v. Carroll, 1997 Ohio App. LEXIS 928. In that case, the Ohio Court of Appeals held that the Clerk of the Court didn’t violate the Coinage Act (31 U.S.C. 5103) when it refused to accept the payment of a fine in loose pennies. The Court said, “It defies logic and common sense that this Congress intended such a wooden and broad application of the statute beyond any control of the payee regardless of circumstances.” While this isn’t binding outside of this particular appellate district in Ohio, it would likely been seen as persuasive by other courts.

    Under this ruling, the refusal in this case was probably lawful.

    • Brontide says:


      Below is a decent rundown of the few cases out there.


      I think the gist of the rulings are that payments that are intended to be unreasonable can be refused. That would leave a huge gray area, but cases like the above would be clear cut.

      Only two cases out there and none of them have been appealed so it’s pretty weak precedent.

      • Esquire99 says:

        While the precedent is weak, the logic behind it certainly makes sense and seems well-grounded.

        • Brontide says:

          @Esquire99: Because this is a government debt I think a strong argument could be made for 1st amendment protection if it’s clear this was a form of government protest and not just a stupid prank.

          • Esquire99 says:

            While I think you’re onto something re: the First Amendment, I think that would only come into play if he was punished for this protest. I do think an argument could be made that it was a protest, and constituted expression. I don’t think it’s a GOOD argument, but it’s a plausible one. However, he wasn’t punished, so I don’t think it even applies. I don’t think the refusal of the payment, under the logic of the cases we’ve both cited above, constitutes punishment. They aren’t stopping him from expressing himself in that manner, they’re just refusing to accept that expression as payment.

            • silver-bolt says:

              @Esquire99: Made to pay the post office 27.50 for postage due to receive his money again, two checks denied, and the debt sented to a collections agency to ruin his credit. That sounds like punishment for his protest.

              • DH405 says:

                @silver-bolt: I would tend to agree.

                Also, I feel that actually using the title esquire in any form lands you before the high courts of douchery. Conviction rates are high.

          • snowburnt says:

            @snowmoon: first ammendment? You are aware that human waste can be toxic right? If someone’s health is threatened by a “first ammendment” act, that person can’t hide behind it. That’s like saying that mailing anthrax is a first ammendment protest.

  16. Benny Gesserit says:

    Won’t somebody think of the urine!!!

    Seriously, dude. You’re upset because you got caught, we get that. Pay the fine and move on. Life too short to angry up the blood over the small stuff. (Like when some other guy doing 54 on your 35 street t-bones you as you back out of your driveway.)

    • cmhbob says:

      @Julius Seizure. Jim to my Peeps: If “some other guy doing 54 on your 35 street t-bones you as you back out of your driveway,” then you get the ticket for backing without due care. :) Granted, he might get a ticket for speeding, but you caused the crash.

      • SabreDC says:

        @cmhbob: Not necessarily. If you back out of your driveway and there is no car in sight and then you get t-boned, how is that backing out without due care? The speeder would be cited for failure to maintain control of the vehicle as he/she *could have* stopped in time if he/she was paying attention.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @cmhbob: Not in NJ. Someone acting legally, in a crash where someone else was acting so illegally that it caused the crash, would not be fined or punished if his legal act would have been illegal had the other person also been acting legally.

        Case in point, from a court session where I was translating. My uncle-in-law had pulled out of a parking spot, and was planning on making a u-turn from the parking spot (illegal action in the area) but decided not to and kept going forward. He was hit by a lady driving excessively faster than the speed limit. She filed criminal charges against him (legal in NJ), and she was filed a charge by the police officer who arrived on scene.

        In the end, with the officer’s testimony, and a witness who saw the lady speeding, had my uncle completed the u-turn and still be part of the crash, both he and the lady would have been guilty and the reason for the crash. But, since she was speeding excessively, she was the cause of the crash, because if she had been acting lawfully, my uncle would have had the chance to maintain control of his car, and stopped from pulling out in time, based on the distance he saw her from. Also, at a lower speed, she would have been able to see him pulling, and stopped her car to prevent the accident.

        My uncle was dismissed, she was found guilty of speeding, and legally the party at fault for the car crash.

  17. BoogerRed says:


    Would you take coins that you knew or suspected were soaked in urine? If you tell me yes you should immediately proceed to your nearest window and repeat, “I’m a liar, I’m a liar, I’m a liar….”

    Maybe if the guy would have obeyed the posted speed limit in a construction zone he wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with?

    • Brontide says:

      @BoogerRed: I don’t have any debtors nor do I intend on lending money so it’s a moot point.

      The coinage act also doesn’t apply to sales of goods or services.

      • snowburnt says:

        @snowmoon: the “would” implies hypothetical, or “let’s play pretend here”.

        Props for spelling “moot” correctly, though.

  18. t325 says:

    What a moron. I recently got a speeding ticket and paid it with a check so I would have the canceled check as proof that I paid it, since if the payment got lost somewhere, I’d be spending a night in jail. Besides, the ticket was my own damn fault, I was speeding, and I held no anger towards the cop who pulled me over. My anger was directed at my radar detector that doesn’t do a good job of picking up laser :D

  19. edrebber says:

    I doesn’t appear that Sgt. Phil Anderchuk sent the fluid to a laboratory for analysis. Can the Sgt. Phil Anderchuk estabish a chain of custody for the coins? For all we know Sgt. Phil Anderchuk urinated on the conins and sent them back to Michael Lynch because he was to lazy to count the coins.

    Additionally, the package was returned to Michael Lynch with $27.30 postage due. It is against the law to intentionally mail a package with insufficient postage. I’m reporting this crime at the postal inspection service web site.

    There is no proof that Michael Lynch sent urine with his payment. There is proof that Sgt. Phil Anderchuk mailed the urine back to Michael Lynch and intentionally short changed the required postage.

    Sgt. Phil Anderchuk should be arrested for disorderly conduct, assault and mail fraud.

    • Brontide says:

      @edrebber: I think it was mailed COD not insufficient fund. Now, I believe that postal regulations prohibit mailing something COD that was not expected by the recipient.

    • Oddfool says:

      @edrebber: Nice theory, with the exception that the package showed no signs that there was urine inside until they opened the package. If there were no signs that the urine was somehow introduced to the package during shipment, then urine was in the package when Lynch shipped it. However, they should not have returned it the way they did.

      • edrebber says:

        @Oddfool: The urine could have been introduced into the package after it was opened by Sgt. Phil Anderchuk. Are there any other witnesses? Did Sgt. Phil Anderchuk send the alleged urine to a lab for analysis?

      • Esquire99 says:

        I think they had an obligation to return the payment if they weren’t going to accept it. I also think it would have been unreasonable to expect them to pay the $30 in postage to send back his unreasonable payment.

    • Esquire99 says:

      I certainly hope you’re kidding. For one, the fact that they were shipped in urine could be properly shown by testimony or affidavits of the staff that worked in the Clerk’s office. As far as “lab testing” the urine, depending on the jurisdiction, you might have a point. However, that doesn’t keep the Officer/Staff from attesting to the fact that the coins were submerged in a liquid that looked and smelled like urine. GIven that virtually ever human being has extensive experience with urine, they’re likely able to offer that type of opinion. Also, a judge/jury is likely to find the testimony of the Officer more credible than that of Mr. Lynch. However, this is all moot because no crime was committed (or at least charged).

      As far as mailing the package with insufficient postage, that penalty only applies if NO postage is paid. See 18 USC 1725 (“Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter (such as statements of account, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter) on which no postage is paid. . .with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined not more than $300)

      As long as the Officer put a stamp on the package, he’s in the clear.

    • frodolives35 says:

      @edrebber: You sir seem like just the type of asshole who would send in 200+ dollars in urine soaked change. Not that thats a bad thing even if it is really stupid it gave me a laugh. By the way I am laughing at the idiot not with him.

    • Brontide says:

      @edrebber: One interesting thing that jumped to my mind with your post. We really only have the court’s word that it was urine soaked, yes? If that’s the case how do we know it’s not just a small amount of ammonia without testing?

  20. Bunklung says:

    So they don’t take coins more than $20 and obviously they don’t take urine but they must take a check:

    Why not write 20,600 checks for 1 penny a piece. This way the court won’t have to deal with urine or coins. Carpal Tunnel if a work place injury. I hope the court has worker’s comp. No pain, no gain. If you want the check, you need to endorse it!

    Hopefully the violator has a nice check printing program :)

    • Hyman Decent says:

      @Bunklung: Haven’t you noticed? Many companies and government agencies either run a check through a printer to endorse it, or scan it and transmit an image of the check to their bank.

    • Esquire99 says:

      They could easily refuse the checks if they wanted to. Checks aren’t even covered by the Coinage Act, so that argument is off the table.

    • nakedscience says:

      @Bunklung: You have to PAY for checks. That’s a lot of checks to buy.

  21. Trai_Dep says:

    Well, at least he didn’t fill the container with splooge.
    Because he either would have been there for a l-o-n-g time, or he just returned from a Jamboree.

  22. glycolized says:

    I hope they make a note on that guy’s license tag to pull him over for every opportunity from here on out. If you don’t know better than to drive twenty over in a construction zone, you are a dipshit that deserves a ticket. This type of “stickin’ it to the man” stories are getting a little old. People should apply their efforts to causes that really warrant some outrage. This idiot hadn’t been wronged by the system in any way, and his little exposition is totally meaningless and unimaginative.

    • ZekeSulastin says:

      @glycolized: Ya seem to missed the spot where the Consumerist called him out for being an idiot – check the headline even!

      It’s only the commenters who think he was somehow right for sending urine-immersed payment.

    • orlo says:

      @glycolized: 99% of speeding tickets are government harassment. And in this incident maybe the zone wasn’t marked well or there was no actual construction happening (why else would a cop have set up to catch speeders?)

  23. hicks says:

    Is no one else but me reminded of the Ass Pennies sketch?

  24. Matthew Sadler says:

    Serves the moron right… just grow up and pay it. I got a $130 ticket for 13 over, so I just got a postal money order and sent them their due, certified mail with return receipt.

  25. P_Smith says:

    Does this exclude paying with urine-soaked bills?

    Kidding aside, do this to them, if it’s legal:


  26. Charmander says:

    What a moron. I’m embarrassed that such an idiot lives in my state.

    Grow up, pay the fine, and move on…. as as several have already said.

  27. Eric Yokie says:

    I hope someone is going to sanitize those coins before they go back into circulation.

    *sigh* Yeah, I know that isn’t going to happen.

  28. KillTheAcademy says:

    i got a completely bullshit parking ticket yesterday, so if I can’t get out of it, maybe i’ll take a page from this guy’s book.

  29. baristabrawl says:

    I’m blaming the victim. Wait…who’s the victim? The people who had to carry the coins? The cop who smelled it? The guy who broke the law and then wrote 2 checks wrong? Dang…

  30. redkamel says:

    One time I got a parking ticket because I was “blocking the walkway”. I protested the ticket, since I had left enough room, and the walkway portion ( a strip of 75% asphalt and 25% dirt)wasn’t even marked anyhow (you have to park on some asphalt). The cop ended up telling me over the phone that there is no parking there, EVER. Even though people do all the time. I said screw him and mailed in the check.

    The next day, there was a line marking the walkway.


  31. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I just think it’s sad that now they’re going to have to pass a law that says you can’t pay people in money soaked in bodily fluids.

  32. revmatty says:

    I’m embarrassed for this guy. What a childish way to handle a dispute, particularly when he’d already screwed up paying them twice. If you don’t think you deserve the ticket, fight it in court. You do have that option. If you do deserve it, then be a man about it and pay the damn fine and move on with your life.

  33. Stephanie Jacobs says:

    I just got a hefty speeding ticket and the only way I’m allowed to pay is bank check or money order. No change, no feces bills, no personal checks. It’s annoying. I’m in Alabama.