The Rising Costs of Traffic Fines
With many States in financial ruin, many are raising money in two ways: traffic fine violations and State college tuition (that is another subject). For traffic violation fees, the cost of going 5 mph over the speed limit or not quite stopping at a stop sign or speeding up to beat the yellow light, is rising fast.
A mere switch into the diamond lane at the wrong time of day will cost $480, even if you were there for 10 seconds just to pass a slow poke. Going 45 mph in a 40 mph zone will cost you $280. Not paying is no option, ignoring it will skyrocket the cost to $600. Running a red light is $480 (even if you are riding a bike!).
The average traffic violation fine is now $230.
Traffic court is where you go to dispute and beg to one of the few judges. Some judges are more sympathetic than others. For others, it is just the law. Counties do have quotas because it is an income generator. In Sonoma County, 87,000 tickets is the goal for this year, an increase of 7.5% over last year. Why? The county needs money for many other services that its citizens all use. The State budget is another reason.
Those who cannot afford, end up in a very long line at the county courthouse waiting for be heard. The judges are only able to hear about 70 such cases and by 0800 hrs, there are already 30-50 people in line. It may take most of a day for your case to be heard. Be prepared.