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Guilty of Excessive Speed: Just Take Your Lumps?

California's Traffic Law fines for speeding have exceeded common sense. Millions of dollars are collected in value added fines for violating vehicle traffic laws, supporting over eighty state and local funds. And, excessive speed is many times the inaccurate judgment of a law enforcement officer (LEO). What is the prudent speed for conditions? If you were not exceeding the posted speed limit, how fast should you have been going?

Speeding Ticket for Excessive Speed

The speed violations final costs are outrageous. One to fifteen mph over the speed limit starts from a base fine of $35 with added assessments is around $235, sixteen to twenty-five mph starts from a $70 base fine to $360 in costs, and twenty-six mph starts from a $100 fine to $480 in costs. Additionally, if you were convicted of speeding over 100 mph, you could pay between $900 and $2600. The financial bump over the base fines is the result of ten or more added surcharges, assessments, and penalties. These added charges are used for such projects as supporting the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund to supporting the Domestic Violence Programs Special Fund.

Excessive Speed Under California Law

The state traffic law statute, CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22350 (2017), vaguely defines excessive speed as “greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic… in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.” The fines, surcharges, and assessments are presumably an interpretation of the traffic speed laws. However, there is no question that politicians lack the will, nor are they significantly pressured by lobbyists to stop using the traffic laws to raise money for state and local funds. The surcharges, assessments, and penalties are charged to fulfill these political “pet” projects. Likely, CA residents would not support direct taxation to pay for all these expenses; however, these assessments have the same effect as an increase in taxes.

Speed Traps (Entrapment)

When a LEO states he saw you pass a point on the highway and clocked you to another point on the highway to determine you were speeding or used an aircraft to determine it took you a certain amount of time go from point A to point B, without the assistance of Radar, Lidar (a laser device), or a pacing car, you may have been illegally ticketed.

Using a measured distance and a human hand to start and stop a clock, leaves too much to human error especially across a short distance. Furthermore, aerial surveillance is a violation of the speed trap laws because from the air a white vehicle is just a white vehicle and mistaken identity happens far too often to use this method as a legitimate means of identifying speeders on our freeways.

A backlash is now brewing to fight the costs of speeding tickets that are being written to support the enforcement of the traffic laws. Also, the state legislature has passed legislation to stop entrapment by the police arresting drivers, and as of 1 July 2017, it is now unlawful for the courts or the DMV to suspend your driver’s license (DL) due to unpaid tickets.

However, it is not retroactive. Therefore, if you have already had your DL suspended because of unpaid tickets or face a current charge of excessive speed, you should consult with an attorney.

Hire a Local Traffic Attorney

Excessive speed is quite often a law enforcement officer’s judgment and entrapment is illegal. Call Bigger & Harman when you receive a ticket in Central Valley, including Kern, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Mono, and others. Bigger & Harman has an excellent reputation with traffic court judges in Delano, Visalia, Bishop, Lamont, LA, and Santa Clarita.

Call Bigger & Harman today, 661-349-9300. Or, send an email: attorney@markbigger.com. For confidential and convenient appointment set up, use their website contact form.

You can even contact them on their Facebook Page.

En español, llame al 661-349-9755.