CA drivers pay higher speeding ticket fines than most other U.S. states. Although many online articles claim CA is number 45, that is misleading. However, guilt or innocence has little to do with challenging and winning a traffic ticket dispute.
They only consider the “base fine” listed in the traffic code, most of which were written over 60 years ago. Since then, the CA Assembly has added ten assessments, surcharges, and penalties to bring the total to five or seven times that original figure.
When you look at what you actually pay for the fine, CA is closer to number four or five in the nation. A conviction for speeding over 100 mph can cost between $900 and $2,500, depending on the county and the judge.
And that does not even consider the rise in auto insurance premiums, which for the average CA driver is already $2,291 annually, significantly more than the national average. The average depends on several factors: where you park your car, how far you drive to work or school, gender, marital status, driving history, and many others.
Many who received speeding tickets weren’t even exceeding the speed limit. You might wonder how that’s possible, but CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22350, Speed Laws, lays it out so that a law enforcement officer (LEO) could use their judgment to consider you were speeding, depending on the conditions.
It 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…”
Therefore, if there’s a light rain and the LEO sees you pass another vehicle, even though you are still five mph below the speed limit, they might issue you a speeding citation using CVC 22350.
Whether you were speeding or not is subjective, but if you pay the speeding ticket fine, you are guilty. That’s one of the reasons why you should never pay a speeding ticket fine without consulting a traffic attorney.
TVS Is Another Reason to Consult a Traffic Attorney Before You Pay the Speeding Ticket Fine
Traffic violator's school (TVS) in CA is also known as traffic school or defensive driving course. TVS is the DMV-approved version.
It is an educational program designed to help drivers who have received a traffic ticket improve their driving skills and knowledge of traffic laws. The CA DMV administers the program). Eligible drivers who have received a traffic ticket for a minor moving violation.
Who Is an Eligible Driver?
TVS keeps certain tickets confidential, such as a camera-enforced red light ticket and speeding tickets where the driver with a valid CA driver’s license was going less than 25 mph over the posted speed limit. However, drivers who receive a traffic ticket for a major infraction or misdemeanor, such as speeding over 100 mph, driving under the influence, hit & run, or reckless driving, are not eligible for traffic school.
NOTE: A CA traffic attorney can frequently get a traffic court judge to approve TVS for speeding 25 mph or more over the speed limit or safe driving speed. Though, it’s not guaranteed.
TVS tuition costs vary depending on whether it is an in-class or online course and which county the HQs are located but typically range from $20 to $50. Whichever you choose, online or in class, you must complete it before the court-ordered deadline.
Sometimes, a traffic court judge may order a driver to attend traffic school as part of their sentence or plea agreement. Attending traffic school can have benefits, such as keeping points off your driving record, reducing fines, and preventing insurance rate increases. However, it's important to note that attending traffic school does not guarantee that a driver's ticket will be dismissed.
In fact, the opposite is true. Although the DMV will keep it out of public view, you must plead guilty, and pay the speeding ticket fine or another traffic ticket, the county admin fee of $64, the DMV filing fee, and the tuition.
The court determines eligibility for traffic school, and drivers must meet specific criteria to be eligible. Generally, drivers who were not driving their commercial motor vehicle (CMV) when stopped for a minor moving violation, and have not attended traffic school within the past 18 months, may be eligible to attend.
Although it states on your court reminder whether you are eligible, it is best to discuss attendance with a traffic attorney, as having multiple tickets and other issues could lead to wasting your time and money. Always check the DMV list of approved courses.
NOTE: Never use TVS to resolve a non-moving violation like no proof of insurance or loud exhaust. Although you might learn a few things, it will not benefit you financially.
When you are not eligible or do not complete TVS on time, your auto insurance company will likely learn of the conviction at renewal, take your 20% “good driver’s discount,” and raise your premium an additional amount equal to what they consider the “risk” according to your infraction. The average CA driver's premium increase is about $687.30 per year for three years.
Ask Bigger & Harman Before You Pay a Speeding Ticket Fine in Fresno, CA
You should not worry about Bigger & Harman telling you that you should challenge a traffic ticket rather than accept TVS or pay the fine when warranted. Check their Yelp reviews, compared to other traffic attorneys statewide, and you will see they are too busy to take a case they know they shouldn’t.
“These guys are honest, ended up convincing me I was better off not using them for my speeding ticket, since in my case going to trial in the court I was assigned had only a ~33% chance of success, so it made more sense to ask for trial by written declaration and if I lose, to leave it at that.”—
Does that mean all their reviews are favorable? Not likely. There are no guarantees. Does that mean they get a dismissal or reduced charge every time? No, not that, either. Does that mean you’ll get the best possible resolution for your traffic ticket? Yes, it does.
To dispute a speeding ticket fine in Fresno Traffic Court, you are an experienced traffic ticket defender. Contact Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The Bankrate.com article, Average cost of car insurance in California for 2023.
The CA DMV Portal.