We can give you ten reasons why the fine for speeding is so high, and then, there’s the auto insurance premium increase for a paid fine.
First, the “base fine” for speeding one to fifteen mph over the speed limit or safe driving speed is $35—double that to $70 if in a construction or school zone—established by the CA Assembly and Senate and approved by the Governor as part of the CA Vehicle Code (CVC). Many of those were enacted in 1960.
The base fine of $70—$105 in the double fine zone—is allowed for speeding 16 to 24 mph over the limit is also doubled in what is known as “the double fine” zone. Likewise, a conviction or paid fine for speeding 25 or more mph over the speed limit up to 99 mph is punishable by the base fine or $100 or $135 in the double fine zone. Speeding 100+ mph has a max base fine of $500.
The CA Assembly Added Ten Assessments That Made Your Fine 5 Times the Base Fine
However, since these sections of the traffic code have been enacted, the same assembly has added ten surcharges, penalties, and assessments. They’ve also authorized the DMV to assess negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points if the driver is convicted or decides not to contest their speeding ticket and just pay the fine.
First, the CA Assembly authorized the state to add a 20% surcharge, plus a 100% penalty assessment, to the fine that goes directly into the state treasury. Next, the county can assess a 70% penalty for its treasury. There is a 40% hike for DNA identification, a court construction fee of 50%, a 20% increase for Emergency Medical Services, an added fee of $2 for every $10 for Emergency Medical Transportation, a $40 fee for court operations; a $35 fee for conviction; and a $1 Night Court assessment whether you use it or not.
Therefore, the $35 base fine is about $237, the $70 fine is about $360, and the $100 fine is nearly $490, depending on the county. Furthermore, a speeding 100+ mph conviction will typically result in a base fine between $300 and $500, but with surcharges, it will cost between $859 and $2,137 for the fine alone, and then there is the auto insurance premium increase.
How Much Does the Average California Driver Pay in Increased Premiums for Their First Conviction?
Typically, the increase in auto insurance premiums for a conviction depends on the increased risk associated with their infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. However, speeding is either a minor infraction for one to 25 mph over up to 100 mph or a major infraction for speeding over 100 mph.
Therefore, when the driver pays the fine or is convicted by the court, they will lose their “good driver’s discount” of 20%, and the insurance provider will add the risk. For speeding under 100 mph, the added risk is typically 10 or 12%.
In the case of speeding one to 24 mph over the speed limit, you can usually plead guilty and attend a traffic violator’s school (TVS) to keep your conviction confidential. That means your insurance provider will not know about your minor infraction unless you don’t complete TVS before the court-ordered completion date or get another traffic ticket.
However, there are many reasons you might not be eligible to attend. For instance, if you’ve used it within the last 18 months to mask a traffic ticket, you cannot use it again until the 18 months are up. Likewise, for speeding 25 mph over the limit, you must get a traffic court judge’s approval, and there is no eligibility for speeding over 100 mph. You should always consult a traffic attorney before you plead guilty and attend TVS, or you might waste your time and money.
What Is Meant by Safe Driving Speed?
CVC Section 22350, Speed Laws, is the basic speed law for CA. 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, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
Given that, if a LEO determines—even by guessing your speed—you are exceeding what is “reasonable or prudent,” depending on conditions, they could write you a speeding ticket even though you were driving below the posted speed limit.
The road or weather conditions could determine the safe driving speed. But the LEO does not have the final say about what is “reasonable or prudent,” only a traffic court judge can make that determination, and hiring a traffic attorney could help you raise the level of “reasonable doubt” about whether your speed was prudent.
Likewise, a traffic attorney has the knowledge of proven strategies gathered through many traffic court cases, not just for their clients, but by sitting through hundreds more waiting for their clients’ name to be called.
When Facing a Speeding Ticket That You Wish to Contest in Fresno County Courthouse Consult with Bigger & Harman for Assistance
Call us when you need assistance to possibly avoid the high cost of a speeding ticket in the Fresno County Courthouse.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
CVC Section 22350, Speed Laws.
The Bankrate.com article, Average cost of car insurance in CA for 2023.