After getting a speeding ticket in California, you have two options at first; pay the fine or decide to fight the ticket in court. If you choose to pay the speeding ticket fine, the infraction will go on your driving record —and you’ll suffer higher insurance rates—or go to driving school and make sure your record remains clean.
The other option is to contest the ticket in a trial, and that’s where we’ll focus our attention here on today’s blog post.
California Basic Ticket Fees
First, let’s establish the starting point for the speeding ticket costs in California:
Miles (Over) Ticket Fee
These fees are only a starting point. If you were speeding in a safety enhanced zone, a road repair zone, or a school zone, courts could add all sorts of surcharges, fees, and penalties, with some being up to 50% or 100% of the base fine.
And if you’re fined in a maintenance area or construction zone on a freeway, you’ll see an extra $35 on your ticket.
Real Projected Costs of a Ticket
Now, the truth is that a speeding ticket will cost you almost $230 if you go 15 mph above the limit, approximately $360 if you go up to 25 mph over the limit; and so on. After all the additional fees, the bill for a speeding ticket can end up being $800 if you’re ticketed for driving above 100 mph.
This is in large part due to the traffic court fees involved in a speeding ticket. You might see a $55 school fee for traffic violations that require traffic school, a $40 court operations assessment, and possibly a $35 criminal conviction fee in case you are found guilty if you go to trial. There’s even a $1 assessment fee for night court. Most of these are waved if you are found not guilty.
And taking into account how a traffic ticket on your record leads to higher insurance premiums, the actual cost of a speeding ticket can be much more than the sum of all these extra fees.
The Price of Going To Trial For a Speeding Ticket
While it may be tempting to fight your speeding ticket in court, believing it will save money, be aware that there are still costs involved in a speeding ticket trial.
The fine for your speeding ticket is also considered your “bail.” So if you decide to go to trial, there are several circumstances where the court will still require you to deposit that same bail (the cost of the ticket), and will only return it to you if you are found not guilty.
Start by appearing before the court on the date established on your “Notice to Appear.” This is the arrangement date. Then, ask the judge for a trial because you believe you are not guilty of speeding.
The judge at the arraignment may also require payment of bail at the arraignment before trial when:
- You fail to sign a promise to appear in court if ordered to do so; or
- You are deemed unlikely to appear before the court without a deposit of the bail, based on the circumstances of your particular case.
If you don’t want to appear in front of a judge and skip straight to plead not guilty, you may do so directly to the traffic clerk’s office in the courthouse or by mail. In this case, you must pay the court the bail amount.
You also pay bail if you want a trial by written declaration, even if you showed up in person at your initial arrangement. This way, you can avoid appearing at the courthouse altogether while also paying the bail amount.
There are also fees added for every $10 of the base cost of your ticket:
- $9 county penalty assessment
- $4 DNA identification fee
- $2 state surcharge
- $10 state penalty assessment
- $5 court construction fee
Again, it’s important to note that you can win back the bail money if you are found not guilty of speeding. Most fees, but not all, will also be pardoned if they apply to only guilty cases.
Please contact us at Ticket Snipers if you have any questions about speeding ticket trial costs and how to defend your vehicle against other speeding citations. We are available 24/7 if you’d like to chat with one of our trained consultants about speeding ticket defense.