Speeding tickets in a school zone in the state of California can result in “double” fines if convicted. If the highway is between 1000 and 500 feet of a school zone, the maximum speed drops to 25 miles an hour and 15 mph within 500 feet of the school or school crossing. However, municipalities can cut the speed limit further based on traffic surveys that indicate 25 mph is too fast for prudent and safe operations. If a driver exceeds the posted speed limit, law enforcement will issue a traffic citation.
CA Vehicle Code 22358.4, Speed Laws defines the elements of speeding in a school zone and states explicitly, “…while children are going to or leaving the school, either during school hours or during the noon recess period.” Therefore, a school zone ticket given at 9 pm would be inappropriate and easily beaten in traffic court.
School Zone Ticket Penalties
A school zone ticket issued for speeding in a school zone is far more expensive than traditional traffic tickets. In CA, speeds up to 15 mph over the posted speed limit in a school zone will be charged $99. If speeding is over 25 mph over the speed limit, the ticket charge is $175, and if the speed is 26 mph or over the posted limit the cost is $350. These are the base fines, the state and county add fees, assessments, and penalties to the base fine to come up with the total fine. See the table below.
In case of adverse weather conditions such as fog or heavy rain, a lower speed limit can be expected. In circumstances such as these, a lower speed limit may be posted in a school zone. The posted speed limit in these type of weather issues could be as low as 10-15 miles per hour. In these situations, a lower speed limit might get posted.
However, even when no warning or reduced speed limit is posted, CVC 22350, Speed Laws states, “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility…” You may ask yourself, what is the safe or prudent speed? That is usually the subjective opinion of the law enforcement officer (LEO) who issues the ticket but can be argued in traffic court by a skilled and knowledgeable traffic attorney.
Posted school zones have reduced speed limits for a reason, and school zone tickets are issued for our children’s safety. Children during school walking to school, walking on sidewalks, and crossing streets, are not as visible as adults. The chances of a pedestrian accident because of the child's smaller size are more likely. Also, children sometimes are not as aware of their surroundings, and more likely to accidentally step out in front of a car or chase a ball into the street.
Procedures If You Do Get a School Zone Ticket
If you do receive a ticket, you have two choices, pay the fine or plead not guilty and fight the ticket. If you pay the fine, you will incur points on your driving record, and there’s a good possibility of your car insurance rates going up, especially if you are not eligible to attend traffic school. You can only use traffic school once within an 18 month period to mask a traffic ticket from the public, which includes your insurance company. The alternative would be to plead not guilty and represent yourself or hire a lawyer. If you are found not guilty, there are no fines or moving violation penalties. The wise choice is to consult with a traffic ticket attorney.
Hire a Local Traffic Ticket Attorney for Lamont Traffic Court in Kern County
A school zone ticket can be an expensive proposition because of the implications of child safety. Everyone wants to protect the kids but remember if signs are not posted, or children are not present, the fine cannot get doubled. In fact, it is not a school zone ticket, and a skilled attorney can get the ticket reduced or dismissed entirely.
Bakersfield is a tough court on school zone violations, but Bigger & Harman have had tremendous success there. Call them before you decide to fight a school zone ticket.
Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.
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The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdf
The 2018 California Superior Court Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors.pdf