The question often comes up around the water cooler at work or in online forums, “Is disputing a speeding ticket worth it? Doesn’t it cost more for a lawyer than what you would pay for the speeding ticket?” The answers to those questions are usually (but not always), yes and maybe. The answer to the first makes the second question maybe only because it will depend on how much the lawyer charges and the chances of getting a better outcome on the case. That’s right since it’s worth it to dispute a speeding ticket, the price you pay the lawyer is often about the same as the price of the ticket.
However, simply paying the fine has just one possible result, guilty as charged. Whether you were speeding or not, or if your rights were violated, when you just pay the fine, you’re guilty and the DMV will assess negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points and unless you are eligible for and complete a state-sponsored traffic course by the court ordered date, your auto insurance premium will increase. When you hire a traffic ticket attorney, your charges could be reduced or dismissed entirely, no NOTS points, thus no increased premiums and no wasted time and money on traffic school.
The Actual Cost of a Speeding Ticket
Although there are several methods law enforcement officers (LEO) use to ticket you for speeding, such as driving faster than the posted speed limit, exceeding the known freeway speed, or driving faster than is prudent for conditions, school and construction zones, and others, the fines work out the same, except in construction zones. When signs and workers are present, then those fines are doubled.
Before deciding on disputing a speeding ticket, you should always consult a traffic ticket defender. Knowing the bail and fine schedule for the speeding violation will help you decide. The base fine for driving 1-15 mph over the safe or posted speed limit is $35.00. The higher the speed, the higher the fine, see the table below. However, the courts are authorized by the California State Legislature to tack on several (10 in fact) assessments, surcharges, and penalties of the base fine, making what you actually pay nearly seven times the base fine.
Table from https://www.myimprov.com/avoid-higher-insurance-rates-after-a-traffic-ticket/ revised on November 7, 2017, future numbers may change based on several initiatives pending in the State Legislature. *Based on the “not to exceed” fine in CVC 22348.
Disputing a speeding ticket is the only logical course of action when you are not eligible for traffic school or drive professionally. The biggest expense comes after just paying the fine, and that is the DMV will assess NOTS points based on your speed and your insurance company will increase your premiums based on those assessed points.
The DMV is bound by CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 12810, Issuance and Renewal of Licenses to maintain a system of point assessments for convictions and at-fault accidents on an individual’s motor vehicle driver’s record (MVR). Based on this predefined schedule a total assessment of four points within a year, six points within 2 years, and eight points within three years will lead to a driver’s license (DL) suspension for six months and probation for 12 months, which run concurrently during which time subsequent convictions, a failure to appear (FTA) in court or to resolve a ticket on time will lead to additional time being added to the suspension and probation period. Therefore, disputing a speeding ticket is the only possible way to avoid conviction, NOTS points assessments and increased insurance premiums. However, if you are eligible, you can attend traffic school to keep the assessed points confidential and out of the eyes of your insurance company.
Traffic School Basics
The DMV has approved certain traffic schools to issue certificates to graduates that will keep their conviction confidential from the public if completed within the court ordered time. Yet, there are many restrictions that would make drivers ineligible to attend:
· Use of traffic school for a ticket within the previous 18 months
· Out-of-State or no valid license, though some out-of-state drivers can attend to mask the ticket from their state if they meet the other requirements
· Two-point violations
· FTA or resolve the ticket
· Speeding more than 25 mph over the limit (a judge can waive this)
· Violation occurred while driving a commercial vehicle
· Violation involved drug or alcohol use
· Mandatory court appearance
· Non-moving violations (you can still attend but it will not affect your ticket or fine)
Your eligibility for traffic school will be noted on the courtesy reminder from the court along with the details for Traffic Court. You will have to pay the court clerk the traffic school fee and the traffic school for attendance, school can be completed online or in the classroom, and you must complete the course within the court ordered timeframe. But, do not attend if you are planning on disputing a speeding ticket.
Contrary to popular belief, traffic school will not wipe out the ticket or the fine. There are circumstances when it may not be wise to use your eligibility, such as when you have back-to-back tickets. Consult a traffic ticket defender to get legal advice and counsel.
Hiring a Central Valley Traffic Ticket Defender
Call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300 to inquire about the specifics of your ticket or email: email@example.com.
Bigger & Harman can assist you with disputing a speeding ticket. They charge a flat fee, not by the hour, so you always know exactly what you will pay regardless of how long it takes to get your speeding ticket resolved. Bigger & Harman only practice traffic law for their clients in traffic courts in Central Valley and a few SoCal courts, so they have the knowledge and experience you can trust with your case.
You can read what your neighbors and friends are saying about their experience with Bigger & Harman on Avvo.com, such as this comment, “I was caught speeding on the I - 5 by the CHP. I had not realized that, I was driving beyond what is acceptable on Californian Highways - around 100+...I was set free, without paying any fine - in short, my case was dismissed.” Avvo is short for “avvocato” which is Italian for lawyer, they are one of the most prestigious reviewers of US lawyers.
Read the Bigger & Harman Nolo.com write-up, it is one of our nation’s best online digest for legal professionals. Additionally, you can read other driver’s comments on Yelp from some of the more than 2000 California drivers who we have successfully defended.
Se habla Español 661.349.9755.