Speeding Tickets in California Are Expensive
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Over 2 million speeding tickets are issued in California each year.
Over 5,000 tickets daily and many of these are issued to 26 million people in California who have their driver’s license and because of that this state has the most number of licensed drivers.
The purpose of a speeding ticket is to punish the driver for breaking the law and to help the government generate funds. According to reports, speeding tickets bring in about $510,000,000 in revenue per year. Average cost of a fine in the CA stands at $360. However, the value may be higher or lower depending on a couple of key factors.
In this article, we’ll tell you how much is a speeding ticket in California and answer all questions you may have about speeding in California.
Let’s get started:
How Much is a Speeding Ticket in California?
Speeding tickets in California are a big deal.
After all, the average base fee in California for going over the speed limit is only $35. However, fines can go up to $200 based on a number of factors including your speed.
But, you must have heard of violators paying more in speeding tickets as the figure we’ve mentioned does not include court fees, higher insurance premiums, or additional penalties.
Your base fine can end up being as high as $490 when combined with penalties and surcharges. However, there may be additional fees and penalties, depending on your location.
California Speeding Ticket Fees
As mentioned earlier, the fee or base fines largely depend on your speed or how fast you’re going.
Here’s a simple breakdown:
|Speed Over Limit||Fee|
|1 to 15 mph||$35|
|16 to 25 mph||$70|
|26 to 99 mph||$100|
|100 mph or more||$200|
You will be charged an additional fee of $235 if you are caught speeding in maintenance areas or highway construction zones.
Similarly, there will be additional charges if you’re caught over speeding in a safety enhancement zone.
Due to these variable factors, it can be difficult to tell exactly how much is a speeding ticket in California.
Expect to pay about $230 traffic ticket for going up to 15 mph over the limit, nearly $360 for going up to 25 mph over, about $500 for going above 26 mph and under 100 mph. You will have to pay about $800 if you’re caught above 100 mph.
This amount includes additional charges to your total cost.
We cannot answer ‘how much is a speeding ticket in California’ without talking about the hit your bank account may take due to the increased cost of money for your car insurance company.
California Speeding Ticket and Insurance Rates
Most drivers do not pay attention to this factor as it usually comes later on. A single speeding ticket can cause your annual insurance rates to go above $200 per year.
A report published by NerdWallet states that the average 40-year-old driver in California will pay about 42% more per year for full car coverage after a single speeding ticket.
There are also several other factors that come into play including liability coverage, collision insurance, and uninsured motorist protection.
If you have the time, the best way to know the true cost of a speeding ticket is to call or phone your insurance company provider and ask about the impact of the ticket on how much you will have to pay next year. The larger the ticket amount, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance.
While the cost will eventually go down (given that you don’t end up with more tickets), it can take a while to happen. Your insurance agent can help you figure out when your rate will see a drop.
Based on all the factors mentioned above, the cost of a speeding ticket in the state can be 33x the cost of the actual ticket, particularly in large cities such as Los Angeles – considering drivers may have to pay $1,184 more for a $35 ticket.
That cost includes $694/year in additional insurance costs and about $490 in state fees.
How Much is a Speeding Ticket in California? Understanding Fees
According to reports, Californians pay about 6x the cost of the base fine. Most experts attribute this high rate to the resident’s natural tendency to go above the speed limit when incurring an infraction.
The state is very strict when it comes to driving laws and enforces a 20% surcharge on all citations.In addition to this, as mentioned earlier, there may be fees, surcharges, and penalties.
Here’s a breakdown:
There may be extra charges based on your payment method. Use of credit cards, for example, can add to the cost. You can opt to pay in cash in person or use a check to save these additional fees. However, you’ll have to compromise on the ease that online payments offer.
In addition to the 20% surcharge, you’ll have to cover court fees ($40) and conviction assessment fee ($35).
Some drivers may have to cover extra charges known as penalty fees.
- Court Penalty Assessment: $7 for every $10 of your ticket’s base fine
- State Penalty Assessment: 100% of your base fine
- DNA Identification Fund Penalty: $4 for every $10 of your base fine
- Emergency Medical Services Fund Penalty Assessment: $2 for every $10 of your base fine
- State Court Construction Penalty Assessment: 50% of your base fine
- Emergency Medical Air Transportation Services Fund Penalty Assessment: $4.00
- Night Court Assessment: $1.00
You may not have to pay all these fees but they can add a lot to the cost. However, understanding these fees is very important to know how much is a speeding ticket in California.Next, the officer will issue you a speeding ticket.
There are two types of tickets in California:
This is issued when you’re involved in a very serious offense like excessive speeding, driving under the influence, going behind the wheel without a valid license, etc.
Covers all the basic state violations including speeding and running a red light.
The officer will ask you to date and sign the ticket and issue you a copy. Make sure to keep it safe as all traffic violations in California are also called a ‘Notice to Appear’.
You must know how to read your ticket as it may contain valuable information regarding your offense including your citation number and court date.
Do not hesitate signing your ticket. It does not mean you’re admitting your guilt. It only means you agree to appear in front of a judge (by filing a plea or in person) and clear your dues.
The officer may have a right to arrest you if you’re caught speeding while being under the influence.
How to Read Your Speeding Ticket
You can know how much is a speeding ticket in California by looking at your ticket.
There are different levels or types of tickets. Knowing the type can help you determine your basic defenses, DMV impact, and fine exposure.
Here’s more about the three levels:
Basic Speed Law
This one applies when you go above the posted limit but remain under 65mph. The California Uniform Bail Schedule has information on such fines.
You’ll usually receive a “courtesy notice” via mail after getting a citation. The notice will also contain information regarding your ticket including your fine and traffic school eligibility.
DMV exposure for such tickets is 1 point. However, remember that fines may differ based on your previous history and other factors such as where the fine occurred, i.e: double fine zone.
What sets this apart is that there’s no specific ‘speed limit’. The law states that one cannot go above what’s prudent or reasonable. Since VC § 22351 does not mention a specific limit, drivers may have the option to challenge the presumption that the speed you were going at is prudent or reasonable.
Engineering and traffic surveys might be required to justify the posted speed if a rader was involved in the citation.
Otherwise, it may be called a “speed trap”.Here’s what the V C Section 22350 Basic Speed Law says:“No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
Maximum Speed Law
This law applies when you go above 65 mph on the freeway and carries 1 DMV point on permanent record.
Unlike the previous option, there’s no need to justify the speed in these cases. The only thing that needs to get established is that you were going above 65 mph.
Here’s what the Maximum Speed Law V C Section 22349 says:
(a) Except as provided in Section 22356, no person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person may drive a vehicle upon a two-lane, undivided highway at a speed greater than 55 miles per hour unless that highway, or portion thereof, has been posted for a higher speed by the Department of Transportation or appropriate local agency upon the basis of an engineering and traffic survey.
Exceeding 100 mph
This law is of huge importance because the judge may have the option to suspend your license for a month if you’re caught exceeding 100 mph (first offense).DMV exposure for this violation is 2 points.
Just like the previous ticket, there’s no need to justify the speed in these cases. The only thing that needs to get established is that you were going above 100 mph.
Moreover, if you get these violations, you or an attorney must appear in a court on your behalf. You may not have the option to get rid of the ticket by paying online. This is why it can get very inconvenient.
Here’s what the Exceeding 100 mph Law V C Section 22348 says:(b) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 100 miles per hour is guilty of an infraction punishable, as follows
Excessive Speed and Designated Lane Use
(1) Upon a first conviction of a violation of this subdivision, by a fine of not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500). The court may also suspend the privilege of the person to operate a motor vehicle for a period not to exceed 30 days pursuant to Section 13200.5.
Getting a Speeding Ticket in California: What to Do
If you have a clean driving record then you can choose one of the three options if you’ve received a minor speeding ticket:
- Plead guilty, pay your fine, and receive a point. These points can stay up to seven years on your record.
- Plead guilty, pay your fine, and avoid a point or conviction by attending a traffic safety school.
- Opt to go to court and negotiate your fine. In some cases, the judge may decide to reduce your fee based on your circumstances.
Most experts suggest to opt for traffic school (if eligible) to avoid accumulating points. Known as a “confidential conviction”, this is a reliable way to prevent your speeding ticket from affecting insurance rates. However, you’ll still have to pay your fine.
How Much Does A Speeding Ticket Cost In California: Conclusion
We hope we have been able to answer how much is a speeding ticket in California.
You may have the option to fight your ticket in a court but you’ll have to hire the services of an attorney to represent your case.
Other options include opting for school and shopping around for insurance rates to reduce the impact of a speeding ticket. Remember that insurance rates depend on factors like your driving history, gender, car’s make and model, and location.