Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedTraffic tickets are common in California, yet many citizens may need help understanding their rights and options. A deeper understanding of the process can be critical in combating the consequences of a ticket and even disputing the ticket altogether.

Taxation by Citation

In California, traffic ticket fines are among the highest in the nation. So much so that it has become known locally as "taxation by citation." 

In 2022, the state raked in an estimated $3 to $5 billion in revenue from traffic tickets alone. When drivers plead guilty and pay the fine, they are essentially submitting to an unwarranted form of taxation.

Traffic ticket costs, state and county admin fees, and late fees have milked the drivers in CA out of billions, sending many productive families into insolvency, bankruptcy, and homelessness.  One area that comes up often is excessive late fees.

Luckily, the CA Assembly, Senate, and Governor agreed to cut the late fee by $200, though many still want further cuts. The $300 late fee is now capped at $100 as of 1 January 2023. However, in some cases, drivers who paid these extravagant late fees might be owed a refund.

If you paid a late fee for a traffic ticket during the past three to five years, contact the court where you paid the fine or fee, you might be owed a refund. You could also consult a traffic attorney.

What to Do After a Traffic Ticket

When you receive a traffic ticket, you have three primary options:

  1. Plead guilty and pay the fine—This is the simplest but potentially most costly option. Not only will you pay the ticket price, but your auto insurance rates will also increase if you are not eligible for or do not complete Traffic Violator's School (TVS).
  2. Plead guilty, pay the fine, and attend TVS—If you're eligible, this option can keep the conviction added to your driving record confidential, thereby protecting your insurance rates. Always consult a traffic attorney before accepting TVS, as not all traffic tickets are eligible to be kept confidential by attendance.
  3. Request your day in court—You have the right to contest your ticket before a traffic court judge. If successful, you could have your ticket dismissed or charges reduced.

Always consult a traffic lawyer before you decide. Traffic lawyers hear dozens of rulings each week in multiple traffic courts. They know which tickets are most often dismissed and why. 

They can negotiate with the judge for a reduced no-point conviction that will keep your insurance premium as is without attending TVS, and, in some cases, when the offense makes you ineligible for TVS, they can request approval from the judge. It’s worthwhile to learn your options.

What Is TVS?

TVS is a defensive driving program recognized and approved by the CA DMV. It's designed to reinforce safe driving habits and laws, and completing it can keep the conviction added to your driving record confidential. Unless you have another violation, the conviction, normally a public record, is held confidential if you are a Class C driver.

Eligibility is generally limited to those who haven't attended TVS within the past 18 months and were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the minor infraction.

Major infractions (i.e., speeding 100+ mph), misdemeanors (reckless driving et al.), and felonies (hit-and-run with injuries) are not eligible, and speeding 25 mph or more over the speed limit needs a traffic court judge’s approval. The traffic court clerk can normally approve TVS attendance once you plead guilty, pay the full fine, and the county admin fee (typically $64 in Kings County, CA).

Consult a CA Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney

Regardless of your chosen path, consulting with a CA traffic lawyer can be invaluable. These professionals are well-versed in traffic laws and court procedures and can guide you in making the best decision based on your unique circumstances.

An attorney can help gather evidence, build a defense, and represent you in court, increasing your chances of a favorable outcome. They can also help negotiate alternative penalties, such as attending TVS or a lesser charge. 

In short, while traffic tickets can be costly and inconvenient, drivers in California have several options to fight back. It’s important to remember that pleading guilty and paying the fine isn’t the only route. With a solid understanding of your rights and potential defenses, along with professional legal advice, you can navigate the process confidently and protect your driving record.

Consult with Bigger & Harman If You Have a Traffic Ticket Pending in Hanford Traffic Court in Kings County

Call Bigger & Harman in Bakersfield at (661) 349-9300, use their straightforward contact form or email

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

The CA DMV Portal.

The Davis Vanguard article, Litigation Victory Signals End to California Courts’ Illegal Late Fees That Penalized Poverty for Profit – $550 Million to $1 Billion Erased.

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