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There's Money in Speeding Tickets: Be Sure You're Paying the Best Rate

Base Fine Versus What You Will Actually Pay

The base fine for speeding tickets and many traffic ticket violations has not gone up dramatically in the last 20 years or more. It’s like they say, “It would take an act of Congress…” which is true. For a base fine to go up, the CA Legislature must propose a bill, approve it, and then the Governor must sign it to approve a raise in the amount of a base fine. However, whenever the state or a county needs more revenue they can approve an assessment, surcharge, or fee to be added to a ticket much easier when they attach a “bleeding heart” reason for the additional fee, such as emergency services, highway construction, or night court expenses.

That’s correct, there is an assessment added for night court, even if you do not use night court to clear your ticket, you will pay the fee. Another is a fee for emergency medical technicians (EMT), $2.00 for every $10.00 of the base fine, again whether you use these services or not is irrelevant. There are many others, such as:

· A state surcharge (20% of your base fine)

· Court Operations ($40.00)

· Conviction assessment ($35.00)

· A state penalty (100% of your base fine)

· County assessment ($7.00 for every $10.00)

· DNA ID Fund ($4.00 for every $10)

· Construction penalty (50% of your base fine)

· EMT Air Transport penalty ($4.00)

Therefore, a $35.00 base fine for speeding tickets, one to fifteen mph over the speed limit will cost you $234 and a 26-mph over the limit speeding tickets, but less than 100+ mph, has a base fine of just $100.00 but will cost you $480.00. Of course, the best way to avoid these heavy fines is to avoid speeding or other moving violations. 100+ mph speeding tickets will cost you between $800.00 and $2600.00

The thought process is that you broke the law, so you will have to pay. However, does the inadvertent miscalculation of your traveling speed warrant such steep penalties on speeding tickets? The revenue raised by traffic court is estimated at around $500 million annually, just in CA.

But, the fine is not all you will have to pay when convicted of a moving violation. There is also a raise in your insurance premium, unless you can attend traffic school to erase the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points from your motor vehicle record (MVR), your insurance will go up anywhere from $150 to more than a $1000 depending on your insurance company.

Many drivers think, “well, this is my first ticket so they probably won’t raise my insurance much, if at all.” Don’t kid yourself. If convicted of your first speeding ticket, without attending traffic school, your “good driver” discount is gone for at least three years. That means your insurance rate will rise at least 15 percent and often by more than a third[MB1].

The state of California makes plenty of money from traffic tickets, you should make sure you pay the smallest amount possible or get the ticket dismissed.

NOTS Points

When you are convicted of a moving violation the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will assign a predetermined number of points to your MVR. Typically, one point is assessed for minor infractions such as the following:

· Running a red light

· Illegal U-Turn

· Speeding, up to 100 mph

· Passing when there is a double line

Two points may be assessed for more serious infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies such as:

· Speeding over 100 mph

· Reckless driving

· Evading an LE official

· Transporting explosives without permit

The NOT system is designed to notify drivers of their status and send warning letters or notices of intent to suspend your driver’s license when certain levels are reached. At Level four, when you reach four points in one year, six points within two years, or eight points within three years, your license will be suspended unless you can convince the DMV there was a mistake. To request a copy of your MVR fill out an INF 1125 on ca.gov.

Traffic School

The court clerk can allow you to attend traffic school for some traffic tickets, for speeding, up to 25 mph over the speed limit, but only the judge can allow it for more than 25 mph over.

However, not all traffic infractions are eligible for traffic court, such as in a:

· Non-moving violation

· Alcohol or drug related

· Commercial vehicle

· misdemeanor or felony

When you are eligible to use traffic court, the CA DMV has a list of state-certified schools here.

The Bigger & Harman Traffic Ticket Defense Team

When you have received a speeding ticket in Kern, Kings, Tulare, or Fresno County and traffic school is not an option or was denied, your best option is to fight and win. Bigger & Harman have been defending traffic tickets in south-central CA for more than a decade and have successfully defended nearly 2000 tickets and gotten reduced fines and penalty on even more.

It is not always a good choice to fight a traffic ticket, but on the other hand, it is fool-hardy to simply pay the extremely high fines in place in CA without discussing your chances with a true traffic ticket defender. Call Bigger & Harman to get a FREE consultation about your traffic ticket and your chances of getting it dismissed or the fine reduced. Or, send an email, attorney@markbigger.com to arrange an appointment. You could also call, 661-349-9300.

Se habla Español 661-349-9755.