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Speeding Ticket in California – What to Do & What It Costs

Speeding Ticket in California – What to Do & What It Costs

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 07, 2021

Everyone finds themselves occasionally a couple of miles per hour over the speed limit. However, doing this often and/or traveling at excessively high rates of speed may lead you into some trouble down the line. 

How Much Is a Speed Ticket in California?

California speeding tickets generally carry low base fines, but can increase exponentially based on the severity of the offense, as well as a variety of other factors. The base fine is calculated solely on how fast you were going at the time you were stopped.

  • 1-15 mph over the speed limit – $35
  • 16-25 mph over the speed limit – $70
  • 26-99 mph over the speed limit – $100
  • 100+ mph over the speed limit – $200

Surcharge

While these base fines won’t exactly “break the bank”, the majority of your speeding ticket’s final price will come from the variety of penalties, surcharges, and extra fees that you might face while dealing with your ticket.

All California drivers are subject to a 20% surcharge on all traffic citations – no exceptions. Additionally, you will be subject to $40 in court fees as well as $35 for your conviction assessment. Some drivers may be subject to additional fees such as:

  • Court Penalty Assessment – 70% of your base fine
  • State Penalty Assessment – 100% of your base fine
  • Night Court Assessment – $1
  • DNA Identification Fund Penalty – 40% of your base fine
  • State Court Construction Penalty Assessment – 50% of your base fine
  • Emergency Medical Services Penalty Assessment – $4

How to Deal With California Speeding Ticket

When you receive a speeding ticket, you’re given three options on how to deal with it.

Option 1: Plead guilty, pay fine, receive a point on your license 

Option 2: Plead guilty, pay fine, take traffic school course to avoid point

Option 3: Go to court and contest your ticket

Points on Your License

When you plead guilty, there is no substitute for paying the fine. However, you can avoid getting a point on your license by taking traffic school with an authorized course provider. These points stay on your record for seven years and can cause an increase in insurance premiums. If you accumulate a certain number of points, you may also be subject to a loss of driving privileges.

How to Fight a Speeding Ticket in California

Fighting any traffic ticket is difficult and time-consuming, but can be successful with the right knowledge. Many drivers believe lawyers and attorneys are absolutely necessary for fighting traffic tickets. While these professionals will undoubtedly increase your success rate, hiring their services is not the only way to contest a ticket. The best way to do so is through a trial by written declaration.

The likelihood of having your ticket dismissed depends on what type of ticket you received, where it was, and what California Vehicle Code you allegedly violated. However, you can have your ticket thrown out by bringing light to things such as improperly filled citations, inconclusive radar evidence, amongst other pieces of circumstantial proof. 

How Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance Premiums

Unfortunately, speeding tickets come with more than just city and state fines. You will also likely face an increase in your insurance premium, depending on your provider. While some companies may forgive first offenders, you probably won’t know this information until after committing the offense. Younger drivers will face a more significant price increase than those over the age of 40. However, reckless drivers, regardless of age, can expect to pay hundreds of dollars extra for insurance per year.

Overall, handling California speeding tickets can be a massive pain. You’re better off staying at or just slightly below the speed limit in order to avoid accumulating tickets. Otherwise, you may be stuck paying hundreds of dollars worth of fines, points added to your driving records, and increased insurance premiums. Keep this in mind next time you find yourself going a little too fast on the highway.

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