Although many of the base fines remain the same, so-called "penalty assessments" have caused the price of a traffic ticket in Bakersfield to mushroom.
Penalty assessments are basically taxes that the state adds on to the fines. These taxes go to pay for court construction, night court operations and a host of other government functions, many of which have little to do with traffic enforcement (actual fines vary by county):
Officials say that as long as the state needs money, which is for the foreseeable future, penalty assessments should remain high. Penalty assessments net the state around $500 million per year.
While the most important thing in considering fighting a Fresno County ticket is keeping your record clean and your insurance premiums low, fines are important too. An attorney may be able to negotiate to reduce the fine and penalty based on the evidence in the case without you ever having to appear in court.