The "Penalty Assessment" trend appears to be spreading east into
neighboring Arizona, meaning that California residents facing large speeding
ticket add-on prices have little hope for relief.
In May 2014, Pima County officials announced that fees would increase for
speeding tickets by as much as 30% in some cases. The county claims it
needs the money for the moving costs and security upgrades associated
with the new Tucson courthouse facility. Pima County Supervisor Richard
Elias defended the costs as "user fees" that were related to
The county may add additional fees and costs to speeding tickets in the future.
In California, the base fine plus the general penalty assessments plus
the surcharge plus the EMS penalty assessment all adds up to the "
total bail," or the direct cost of a speeding ticket. The formula
to determine penalty assessments is rather complicated, but suffice it
to say that the PAs often well exceed the base fine. For an overweight
ticket, the fine can be as much as $2,000 with over $6,000 in PAs and
surcharges. For a license plate display violation, such as improperly
attaching the stickers or having a license plate frame that is a little
too large, a $25 fine turns into a $194 citation.
Despite warnings from state officials, California has refused to reduce
PAs. When considering the implications for your insurance rates, in addition
to the direct costs, it makes sense to find an attorney practicing in
Kern County to fight your ticket, or at least try and get the fines and/or