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A lottery winner's shopping list includes a dream wedding, school tuition and a traffic ticket fine. Those who face large traffic fines in Lamont and other Kern County courts may think that a lottery ticket is what is needed to pay off their traffic ticket after the increased penalties and assessments described below.

20-year-old Katherine Portillo stopped at the Centerfold International Newsstand in Los Angeles to buy snacks for her kids and her usual two Ultimate Riches Scratchers tickets. One of the tickets turned out to be worth $5 million. She said she waited until she got home to scratch the tickets, and had her fiancé double-check the numbers to be sure she'd won. In addition to a "big wedding" and the traffic ticket fine, Ms. Portillo says she intends to buy a house and assist family members.

In related lottery news, an unidentified man claimed he had a $1 million winning Powerball ticket, but he was unable to produce it before the deadline expired.

You may not have to hit a lotto jackpot to pay a traffic ticket fine in Kern County, but sometimes it may seem that way. If you haven't received a traffic ticket in several years or you are a new California driver, be prepared for a very large jolt of sticker shock, because Penalty Assessments have increased 200 percent since 2004. Mojave speeding tickets, for example, have increased from $99 in 2005 to $154 in 2010 to $238 today.

The high penalty assessments are just the beginning. A traffic ticket means points against your license. These points are like personal fouls in a basketball game: too many, and you're out. Moreover, California law does not allow auto insurance companies to use credit ratings to set rates. So, tickets have a tremendously negative effect on your premiums.

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