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Are All Speeding Tickets Equally Expensive?


Convictions or paid fines for speeding tickets in California are some of the highest in the nation. Not necessarily the base fine, which has remained basically the same since the 1990s. However, the legislature has nickeled and dimed the residents of CA with add-on surcharges a total of ten times. These penalties make the total fine five to seven times the Governor’s approved fine for the offense. Of course, the Governor also approved the surcharges, usually one at a time.

Why so many Surcharges on Speeding Tickets?

In a way, it seems only fair that the person violating the law pay some of these charges. For instance, it makes sense that the cost of court construction gets passed on to those convicted. This 50 percent add-on or $5.00 for every $10.00 of the base fine goes toward building new courts and maintaining those we have. So too, do the court operations and night court assessments make sense. If everyone obeyed the law, courts and the operation of those courts would not be necessary.

However, where does the 100 percent state assessment penalty or the 70 percent county assessment go? Technically, the revenue from these assessments should go toward road, bridges, and other infrastructure, CA Highway Patrol, and County Sheriff Departments or police. But, there’s no guarantee it does.

In recent years, the CA Governor has looked at how these fines and penalties affect the less fortunate CA residents. Many of these fines and the subsequent increase in auto insurance premiums leave many without a driver’s license, and many residents have had their family car impounded and sold for unpaid tickets. Fortunately, new laws are being structured to restrict a municipality’s ability to seize and sell vehicles for unpaid tickets.

From the table below, you can see that not all speeding fines are the same. There are generally four levels of speeding tickets. The first level is for speeding 1-15 mph over the posted speed limit, which has a base fine of $35. Second is the 16-24 mph over speeding ticket, then 25+ mph over up to 100 mph. The fourth level we will discuss is the most expensive, speeding 100+ mph.

The following is a table which shows the approximate base fine and the total fine after adding the penalties, surcharges, and fees:

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The total fine could be more or less depending on the county where you pay the fine or received the conviction. Paying the fine is the same as pleading guilty.

The Real Expense Is After Insurance Increases

If you get convicted of a speeding ticket, and you are not eligible to attend Traffic Violator’s School (TVS), you will lose your 20 percent “good driver’s discount.” Proposition 103 made it mandatory for insurers to give drivers with a good driving record (not more than one minor infraction) for three consecutive years the discount after all other risks get calculated.

Auto insurance providers use a variety of risks to determine how much you will pay for car insurance. Some of those indicators include age, gender, zip code where you park your car, how far you drive to school or work, and many others.

The average Californian pays $1,962 annually for auto insurance. Losing your good driver’s discount of 20 percent means you will pay $392.40 per year more. However, it won’t be just 20 percent. Convictions for speeding tickets come with Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points. The first three levels, less than 100 mph are a minor infraction and assessed one point, which remains on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR) for three years. Convictions of speeding 100+ mph get assessed two points that stay on your MVR for seven years.

Therefore, you will get placed in a higher risk category at your next renewal and pay not only 20 percent more, but whatever the increased risk mandates. Usually, you will pay an additional 12-15 percent for 1-15 mph over.

Your new premium will generally be $500 more per year or $1,500 total for the three years it will stay on your MVR, and it goes up for each level of speeding. If you get convicted for speeding 100+ mph, you could pay $15 – 20,000 more for auto insurance over the seven years the conviction will be on your MVR.

Regardless of the level of speeding ticket or eligibility for TVS, you should consult a traffic ticket attorney before you pay the fine or decide to challenge the ticket. Hiring an attorney can be much cheaper than the fine and higher insurance premiums.

Let Us Handle Your Speeding Tickets in Mono & Inyo County

When you get a ticket on I-395 and other roadways in Mono and Inyo County, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, to handle your speeding tickets. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

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CVC Sections 22348 through 22413, Speed Laws