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How Will a Red Light Ticket Affect My Driver's Record?

There are many things to consider when you look at how much a red-light ticket really costs. Just the ticket itself will cost $100 but, add on the state and county penalty assessments of $170, a DNA fund for Identification $50, court construction costs of $50, a state surcharge of $20, a medical emergency surcharge is another $20, plus a $4 surcharge for air evacuation, court operations for $40, conviction assessment $35, and a night court surcharge of $1. That comes to a grand total of $490 for running a red-light, no matter how fast you were going or even if you roll through (what is known in some other states as a California stop); of course, if you were speeding that could be another ticket. And, guess what, everybody pays those same assessments and surcharges, although the county surcharge could be more or less depending on which county. However, Kern, Tulare, Kings County penalty assessments are currently the same. Plus, there is a possible increase in insurance, if you do not attend traffic school.

How many Points is it on N.O.T.S. Points & Suspension in California

Running a red light by itself is just one point, with no other violations. Say you got a ticket in the mail with a not so great photo of yourself and possibly a video, that’s one point out of your total of four for the year and it stays on your record for three years. Unless you are operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), then your points will be 1.5 and your employer will not be happy to find out about that because his fleet insurance could go up and there’s no chance for traffic school. If you were driving a private vehicle, traffic school is possible and your employer will probably not be notified.

If you do have the option of attending a state-sponsored traffic school and add another $20-60. Traffic school is a good option, even though it will cost more money initially, you will not receive points and your insurance will not go up, which could save you considerably over the next three years in good driving discounts.

Should Accept a Red-Light Ticket Without Contesting it?

There are a few theories about this, but not responding to the ticket is not an option. A failure to respond charge could get you an automatic suspension, a lot more cash out of pocket, and you don’t want that. What everyone should weigh when getting a red-light ticket, whether in the mail or in person is, is there a chance of the court having difficulty with identification? Was it you driving? Will it matter to the judge? If you got the ticket in person, will the police officer show up for court? What was the traffic scenario? Certainly, a month or so later these details may be a little sketchy, but the video may clear up WE some of the questions.

You may be able to get the case completely dismissed. But if you hire an attorney to save you the hassle of going to court and get a better defense, it could be that you still end up losing. If so, there’s a chance that you still owe the attorney’s fees on top of a fine that is the same, or was not reduced enough to make up for the cost of representation. But, if getting another point will put you at four points for the year or you honestly believe you are not guilty, is it worth taking the chance? Additionally, if you have no prior tickets, a first will knock out your safe driver discount for at least three years. Only you can make that call but consider first if you have a CDL the possible lost wages during a driving suspension and the possibility of being unemployed.

Contact Bigger & Harman

This may sound a bit cliché but Bigger & Harman care about you and more importantly, they get results. If you received a red-light ticket in Kern, Tulare, Los Angeles, or San Bernardino counties, Bigger & Harman have a reputation in the courts there as straight-shooters and tough traffic defense attorneys. They also represent drivers in Hanford and Inyo. Send them an email, attorney@markbigger.com or call, 661-349-9300. For Spanish or Español, 661-349-9755.