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How Is the Fine for a Traffic Ticket Determined in California?

undefinedThere are several methods the State of California uses to determine how much you pay for a traffic ticket fine. However, every driver can ask the court to consider their income before choosing the fine.

Likewise, an experienced and knowledgeable traffic attorney can get a reduced fine and/or a fine only with no negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points, which is cheaper in the long run because there is no rise in auto insurance premium. Too many drivers consider only the fine, but the insurance increase is usually $500 - $600 per year for three years.

The “base fine” is the “not to exceed” number written into the California Assembly or Senate traffic code, depending on where the bill originated. For instance, CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22348Speed Laws talks about the fine for speeding 100+ mph. A driver with a first conviction will pay “…a fine of not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500). Many California Traffic Court judges levy a base fine between $300 and $500. 

Then, there are the “subsequent” fines, which usually are  included in the code’s language for   when a driver repeats the same offense within an established timeframe. Such as, within that same section of code states, “…within three years of a prior offense resulting in a conviction…” shall pay “…a fine of not to exceed seven hundred fifty dollars ($750).”

This is still only the “base fine.” However, in the convening years, California’s State Assembly and Senate have approved ten penalties, fees, and surcharges added to the “base fine.” These surcharges were typically for good causes, such as night court operations, court construction, a DNA ID Fund, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), ground and air, and state and county assessments that go straight into the respective treasury for use as needed. These surcharges include a 100 percent added penalty that goes into the state coffers, a 70 percent added penalty to the county, and a separate 20 percent approved for the state.

Now, when you get a cellphone ticket, and a traffic lawyer advises you to pay the fine, instead of the base fine of $20 for a first offense, you will pay about $150. A subsequent cellphone ticket has a base fine of $50 but will cost you around $255.

Therefore, when you receive a traffic ticket in California, it is always wise to contact a traffic attorney to discuss your options. In many cases, they can get your traffic ticket dismissed, a reduced fine, or no NOTS points.

Bigger & Harman, APC, Handle Traffic Tickets in Fresno County, California  

When you get a traffic ticket out there on the 5 or SR-99, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We have been successful in getting great results for our clients who have speeding 100+ mph tickets and helping truckers with regular speeding tickets in Fresno Traffic Court. 

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

References:

The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC Section 22348Speed Laws