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Penalty Assessments Go To Politician's Pockets

The California Supreme Court recently confirmed what many people already believed: the penalty assessments collected in San Bernardino County are going to the General Fund as opposed to the programs they are supposed to support.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye gave her annual report to the Legislature in March 2016. The highlights included an announcement that the Supreme Court would broadcast oral arguments via livestream beginning in May. The Chief Justice also declared that the leaner-and-meaner judiciary was thriving in the wake of the recent recession, but she was disappointed that fees and fines went directly to the state.

Penalty Assessments

These ticket add-ons are among the highest in the country, and one of the biggest reasons that the true cost of a California traffic ticket is about twenty times the fine, on average. Way back in the day, when the state’s economy was booming, penalty assessments appeared as a way to, well, penalize drivers, by making them pay for courthouse improvements, driver training programs, roadway safety initiatives, and so on.

But then came the budget crisis of the 1990s, and just as the state was getting over that, the Great Recession. The revenue simply wasn’t there anymore, and all the people who had flocked to the state still needed services.

The money had to come from somewhere, a large tax increase was out of the question, and so penalty assessments became a back-door tax increase. That system is now entrenched, well-meaning words from Governor Brown and others notwithstanding.

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.