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The High Cost of Traffic Violations

Updated on February 12, 2012

I think nearly everyone reading this hub will agree on two things: One, the cost of traffic fines for violations is simply outrageous and a State income generator, like taxes, and, two, that police have ticket quotas to fill on a monthly basis.

For example, a person who hears emergency sirens approach from the rear, pulls over, as a driver is suppose to do to make way. Yet, if you pull over on the wrong side of road, the cop can give you a ticket. The cost: $480 (in California). Yeah, you read it right. It is the same cost for quickly using the HOV or diamond lanes (2+ passengers) for 5 seconds to pass some slow poke. The most expensive 5 seconds of your life. So, you decide to fight the ticker, whatever it is, in traffic court. Good luck. You think the cop will not show up to testify, almost 95% of them do because it is extra pay for them in some way. Any judge will tell you that there is no "grace" buffer for speeding. I mean, most tell you, a 35 mph zone means you can go at max 40 mph without fear of getting a ticket. Many cops will tell you it is their option to pursue you or not. A judge will ask you what speed was posted, look at the citation (seeing you are faster than the max) and say guilty, even if you are doing a 42 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Many judges will reduce the ticket costs by 50% if you show economic hardships, not just lame excuses. But not all.

In Sonoma County, over 73,000 tickets were issued in 2011. From this one California county alone, $17 million was collected for tickets and of that, $1 million went to 10 local police agencies, the rest to the bankrupt State! Speeding and using a cell phone while drive are the top two tickets issued. In California, a simple ticket like running a stop sign is only $35.

Really? Hmmm, NOT. The base fee is $35. But in a bankrupt state there are additional fees and more fees or income generator fees that feed the ticket cost until the REAL cost for easing too far out without making a complete stop is $234. When the ticket is dissected, the additional fees are:

  • State penalty assessment $40
  • County penalty assessment $28
  • Country emergency services $8
  • State surcharge $7
  • State Court construction $20
  • Night Court $1
  • Court Security fee $40
  • State DNA fund $16
  • Criminal conviction assessment $35
  • Emergency air service $4

See what I mean? A simple ticket amounts to a host of fees that begs, why does this apply to me?

The answer is, because you live the State. WTF.


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    • montecristo profile image

      Angel Caleb Santos 5 years ago from Hampton Roads, Virginia

      Sad state of affairs! So much for moving to California! Good article!

    • Casey Strouse profile image

      Casey Strouse 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I sure am glad that I don't drive and ride my bike instead. You can still get ticketed on a bike but it's way cheaper and less common.