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The High Cost Of Driving

According to some, drivers in Delano and Ridgecrest are just the more obvious victims of a system that has gone horribly awry.

In California, a speeding ticket may cost $490 in fines, penalty assessments, and add-ons. A missed deadline or court date brings the total to over $800, which is far more than most low or moderate wage-earners can afford, particularly if they have dependents to support. In Ferguson, Missouri, where police shot and killed a black teenager in August 2014, the issues are eerily similar. A woman who was cited for illegal parking in 2007 owed over $500 seven years later. She was arrested twice and spent six days in jail, primarily because she couldn’t afford to pay the fine.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch claimed the fine and fees system amounted to “the criminalization of poverty.”

Secondary Costs

The direct costs of a traffic ticket in California are only the beginning. According to one estimate, the actual cost is about twenty times the fine, and even this figure may be a little low.

Much of the expense is due to increased insurance rates which last at least three years. Because insurance companies in California operate under such tight consumer protective regulations, about the only way to assess risk is to examine a driving record. So, even non-point violations may trigger higher premiums, in some cases.

The higher rates do not automatically go down. Instead, after three years, consumers may be able to get a better rate from another company, because they may no longer be classified as high risk drivers.

There are other secondary costs in addition to higher premiums, and not all of them have a concrete dollar value. These costs include:

  • Lost wages from dealing with court appearances,
  • Missed family time,
  • Added stress, and
  • Possible travel expenses (especially in the case of a federal traffic ticket).

An attorney can save you both money and time, by getting the penalties reduced and appearing for you in court.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.