Costs for Tickets and Traffic Violations in California
With the varying costs in California for traffic violations it is hard to determine an actual set fee due to different counties additional fees. It can be very confusing because a ticket that cost you under $40 may eventually end up costing you well over $150. To understand the way the fees work you should contact the county where you actually received the ticket.
Additional Fees and Surcharges
Be aware that if you receive a ticket or citation in the state of CA, expect 20% of additional fees to be added to the total. For example if the ticket is $50, you will also have to pay an additional $10 surcharge fee.
There are other fees as well that can be added including:
- State and County Penalty Assessment
- EMS Penalty Assessment
- DNA Identification Penalty Assessment
There are options of what you can do if you receive a ticket or fine. Many people will choose to plead guilty and others will choose to go to driving school to keep their record clean. Whatever you decide you should consider all of your options.
If you choose to Plead Guilty or Pay Ticket
- Pay your ticket at the courthouse or conveniently online
- You can go to traffic school (which also has a fee)
- Points will be added to your driving record
- Your car insurance will be raised due to tickets
If You Choose To Plead Not Guilty You Can Fight The Ticket
- Go to Court and try to explain your side of what happened
- You can hire an attorney or represent yourself
- You can enter a plea bargain to get charges dropped to a lower charge
- If you are found guilty you won’t be penalized, however you must pay court costs
- You can also complete a written declaration by mail
After you receive a ticket you should check with your insurance company because there are some companies now that offer accident forgiveness for the first offense or accident. However, points may be added to your driving record and this will result in your insurance premiums increasing.
Differences in Penalties and Tickets
Unlike fines penalties are usually the same no matter where in the state you are. This simply means that no matter what county you are in the penalty will affect you the same. This can include suspension or revoking of your license or points being added to your record. However, if the driver only has a permit vs a Class A CDL they will be penalized differently. Usually a driver with a CDL will pay a much higher fee for tickets etc.Points on Record
If you are convicted of a traffic violation the amount of points that are added to your record depend on the severity of the violation. Luckily, it is possible to have the points waived if you complete traffic or driving school.Examples of how the point system works:
- Only 1 point is given for speeding or an accident that is your fault
- Two points are usually given for DUI’s, driving with a suspended license or hit and runs.
- Suspended License is only a temporary loss of your license.
- Canceled License means the license has been terminated. However, you can immediately apply for a new license.
- Revoked License means that a person can’t drive and has had their privileges of driving terminated. The license will be available again after the time it was revoked for.
Typically if you receive 4 or more points in a year your license will either be revoked or suspended. However, a judge has the right to immediately suspend your license on the first incident without other points incurred for more serious violations. These can include the following:
- Excessive Speed
- Hit and Run
- Prostitution in a Vehicle
- Not stopping at a railroad crossing
- Driving under influence of drugs or alcohol
- Running from a police officer
- Road Rage
- They are constantly absent from school and are under 18 years old
- Conviction of Alcohol or Drugs
- 3 accidents that are ruled as their fault
- 3 accidents within one year, no matter whose fault
- Failure to pay ticket or appear in court
Commercial Driver License (CDL) Drivers
For those with CDLs you must notify your employer even if you receive a ticket in your own car. If you obtain it out of state there is an online form (Form DL 535) that you must send to your employer.
The points and violations received by CLD drivers will stay on your record longer and are typically 1-1/2 times the normal amount of points that are given to non CDL drivers.
- Collisions – 10 years
- Failure to stop on Railroad crossings- 4 years
- DUI or Hit and Run-55 years
- Out of Service violation-15 years
For those who have committed their first offense you will lose your CDL for 1 year for the following and will lose it permanently for life if convicted more than once:
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- DUI or refusing a DUI test
- Blood alcohol level higher than 0.04%.
- Driving a CDL vehicle with a suspended or revoked license
- Wreck that causes a fatality that was ruled as CDL drivers fault
- Using a controlled substance
More serious traffic violations include a loss of our CDL license for 60 days if convicted two times within three years, if convicted three times the CDL will be suspended for 120 days. These violations include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving 15mph over the speed limit
- Driving a CDL vehicle without the proper license or endorsement
- Following too closely or improper lane change