Cost of traffic tickets skyrocket statewide

April 5, 2010

It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out the obvious: California is strapped for cash, so anything that can generate needed revenue is being considered. Remember that the next time you get pulled over. It’s likely to cost you a lot more in California.

Fines on traffic tickets have skyrocketed during the last five years, as Sacramento has tacked on various fees and penalties, typically adding several hundred dollars to the price of a citation. Running a red light: $446. Driving solo in a car pool lane: $445.  Ignoring a “Don’t Walk” sign: $173. Speeding at 81 mph on most state freeways: at least $331. [Contra Costa Times]

With moving violations, expect an extra $50 if you go to traffic school to keep your record clean.

Even the classic fix-it ticket, where you were usually let off with a simple warning, is likely to cost $25.

The problem is that lawmakers see traffic tickets as an easy source of revenue during tough financial times. These new add-on fees are being used to fund other projects that have nothing to do with traffic, such as collecting criminals’ DNA.

A spokesperson for the state Office of Traffic Safety admitted the obvious. “The courts need more money. The counties need more money. And the Legislators believe that people breaking the law should be the ones paying for the administration of the system.”

For example, if a driver is pulled over in San Jose, $83 goes to the county, $87 goes to the city, and more than $300 in fees and penalties goes directly to Sacramento.

Meanwhile, violators of the state’s hands-free cell phone law may be next in line for ticket shock. Hearings start this week in Sacramento to increase the base fine for holding a cell phone from $50 up to $225 and from $100 to $445 for texting while driving.

The raise in fees has resulted in unintended consequences — more drivers across the state, angry at the high fines, are challenging their tickets in traffic court.


Loading...

28 Comments

  1. willie says:

    FYI
    Interesting/ accidental discovery.
    I (logged in) posted comments on the Tribune Web.
    When I returned (not logged in) my comments were not there.
    I logged in and my original comments materialized.
    I repeated the process to verify the occurrence.
    I ask my neighbor to go to the Tribune Web, I logged in and saw my comments, however my neighbor showed me on his computer that my comment were not visible.
    My comments were only visible to myself when I logged in and no one else.
    That is real clever HTML program.
    Don’t be too honest with your opinion and rub the wrong person on the Tribune Web!

    (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
    • willie says:

      I guess this is they’re HTML program to 86 you without you knowing it.
      Its really clever!

      (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
      • Cindy says:

        Willie were all your comments hidden or just the ones that the Tribune wouldn’t like? I’m going to have to check on my comment visability the next time I tell everyone to come over to CCN for the real story, etc!!

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
        • willie says:

          It Appears All or Everything.
          Maybe I should not have been so out spokened!
          This is what they’re programers are capable of doing.
          I am not sure this is ethical to make a monkey of someone outspokened or disagrred with?

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
          • willie says:

            Cindy
            If you are Cynthia on the Tribune, your post are publically visible with no problems.
            When I log on and post, it appears normal.

            For myself:
            Anything that I post cannot be seen by others, it can only be seen by me.
            It fakes you out making you believe that you are posting something on the site.
            I discover it when I logged off and what I had posted disappeared, then when I logged back on what I had previously posted re-appeared again.
            Simply, it makes them think they are posting when they are not.
            I think its real clever.
            I am trying to figure out how the programmer devised this, it can be done because each individual has an personal account.
            I don’t think I am the only one they used this program on.

            (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
            • mkaney says:

              Sooo what was the result of your experiment Cindy and Willie? Are Willie’s comments being publicly hidden?

              One evening I had a controversial comment thread going on a story on the tribune website, and then suddenly the article on the front page had a new title and linked to a fresh copy of the same exact article, with no comments. I left a comment on the new article stating I would repost every single comment from the previous article if no one addressed what I thought was an obvious attempt to sanitize teh story, and like magic within 30 minutes they relinked the old story with original comments and dumped the new one.

              (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
              • Cindy says:

                mkaney, I recall the incident that you are referring to. I watched the whole thing and it was curious because I agree that the poster had a thread going, so that was you, I didn’t recall who it had happened with. Where local politics are concerned, I have seen some odd things occur when a thread goes in a direction that McClatchy definitely wouldn’t like. At other times I see nothing odd occur in those situations despite the fact that I’m expecting at least some deletions, if not worse. I don’t know if the oddities are nothing more than technical problems or if it is intentional on their part. I’m uncertain what is happening with Willie, there are no posts showing up on the thread I mentioned to him but I don’t know if he tried to post anything.

                (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. rogerfreberg says:

    You knew this was going to happen.

    If you tap each person in California for some cash, you raise a lot more money than squeezing the evil giant corporations… or did you already know that?

    Keep an eye on local rates as well… water, sewer, electric and gas… cell phone, etc.

    This is only the beginning,

    Roger

    (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
  3. Paperboys says:

    We, “the people,” could protest these outlandish fees by challenging every single ticket written and insisting on our Constitutional right to a jury trial, AND refusing to sign the waiver that requires you be adjudicated within 45 days. This would clog the courts with the kind of gridlock you see on the state’s main highways. And it would cost the courts a lot of money.
    Every cop that writes a ticket would be required to go to court to testify and take them off the streets for the duration, further throwing the whole LE system into chaos.
    AND, we the people could also make a conscious decision that when called to sit on one of these juries, we would automatically vote “Not Guilty” and let everyone off or have every case declared a mistrial forcing the DAs to retry or drop the charges.
    It’s a form of non-violent political protest and it would cripple this scam, and bring the state’s court system to its knees.
    It’s time we showed the government just who is boss.

    (7) 15 Total Votes - 11 up - 4 down
    • knowtheFACTS says:

      Wonderful idea….Then all the police officers can come to court and collect overtime. Sounds good to me making $63 an hour to prove someone wrong. Remember all police cars have video surveillance and have already recorded you breaking the law. Take it to a jury trial, the video will be played, your attorney will back had your dumb ass for wasting his time, but he will take your money just like the court system when your proven guilty.

      (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down
      • Nancy says:

        Paperboy suggests that juries nullify all low grade traffic violators as a means of protest. That means they don’t care to knowtheFacts.
        By the Way, How many times have attorneys convinced jurors that what they see on a video isn’t really how or what happened? I seem to recall an infamous video surrounding some criminals in blue uniforms and a guy named Rodney King.

        (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
        • knowtheFACTS says:

          nancy-absolutely right those boys in blue were criminals and the video showed it.

          (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
      • JurisDoctor78 says:

        Not all patrol vehicles have video cameras.

        Further, the patrol vehicles that do have cameras still require the officer to activate the camera when he/she wants to start filming. Because of this, the alleged violations are often not caught on tape.

        Additionally, due to the poor quality of a lot of these tapes as well as the poor angle of view, it is often difficult to determine what is taking on these videos. Think about how difficult it would be to determine whether or not someone came to a complete stop at a stop sign if the grainy video was shot at night from a bouncing patrol vehicle 50 yards away.

        Also, certain types of violates will not be adequately supported by the videos, like speeding violations. And, then, you can start talking about whether or not the lazer or radar gun was calibrated appropriately.

        These cases are not always as cut and dry as you’d think.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
    • JurisDoctor78 says:

      While I like your general idea, most traffic citations are only infractions and there is no Constitutional right to a JURY trial when charged with an infraction.

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  4. Booty JuJu says:

    And thanks to the ubiquitous practice of “professional courtesy”, i.e. police corruption, the people handing you that ticket will never be the recipient of one.

    (7) 19 Total Votes - 13 up - 6 down
    • knowtheFACTS says:

      If you don’t want a ticket…..STOP BREAKING THE LAW or become a police officer and stop complaining.
      Oh and I bet everyone’s mad about the FREE coffee and Donuts. GET OVER IT….IT’s NOT GOING TO CHANGE.

      (-15) 21 Total Votes - 3 up - 18 down
      • rukidding says:

        Professional courtesy happens everywhere. Take a look at yourselves and determine what deals you have recieved during your life because of who you knew or where you worked.

        (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
        • Cindy says:

          When working in the private sector the business owner is the final authority where the perceived value of his employees performance and the company check book is concerned. Yes rukidding, a private sector employee might obtain an inappropriate promotion, salary increase or perk through a relationship with an individual who is in a position to grant a privilege but the employer/owner can opt at any time to pull the plug on hand shakers, incompetent hires, inflated budgets, excessive personnel, power lunches, travel for pleasure disguised as business and inflated pay scales that are unjustifiably outside the medium income. Not so in the public service sectors. The employees increase their own salaries, benefits, perks (they love those car allowances as a means of increasing a stated pay grade under the radar by an additional $500. a month). They also write themselves legal protections that guarantee their positions as servants which include unreasonable COLA increases and outlandish benefits regardless of financial feasibility (while the employers keep reaching in their pockets to finance their broken production equipment ) , performance, competence, effective service, scant work loads and lack of respect or balanced benefit to their employers. Professional Courtesy, unlike in the private sector lacks effective oversight , has become the practiced norm with arrogance and without the fear or concern of consequences for misuse of position or the public trust. The public has got to start reigning in their cost of services, demand an accounting of the details behind the budgets and holding our elected officials to the standards that an employer would demand of his own out of pocket hired administrators because that’s what our elected officials are, they are our hired “out of pocket” administrators. We the people as employers are incompetent, in fact we outright suck. Now when are we going to stand up and demand an oversight committee with the power to remove a public servant, comprised of the people for the people by the people?

          (2) 12 Total Votes - 7 up - 5 down
      • Nancy says:

        I love this one, “STOP BREAKING THE LAW or become a police officer “.

        (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
  5. MAD HATTER says:

    Notice all the motorcycle cops hanging out now? Just try flying down Grand Ave and your in for a rude awakening. You would never see a CHP in the country, ever, around here, not no more. Kind of bitter sweet if I say so.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  6. hardyharhar says:

    An interesting side note- CHP is one of the ONLY state agencies NOT AFFECTED by Ca pay cuts/furloughs, etc. Why do you suppose that is?

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
    • Cindy says:

      It’s because the CHP heavily supported Arnold’s run for Governor. Government is all about who can garner the greatest amount of campaign contributions or how much money they have to throw into their media budget. Our servants are being engendered by power and greed. The people need to enact limits on campaign contributions, until the American people take the big money out of the picture, special interest on both sides will take precedent over the will and best interest of the people. Our scales need balancing on all sides, until the American people demand limits on contributions, gifts and favors we will continue to be victims of a corrupt government that is purchased by a few at the cost of many. Go ahead and give me thumbs down, I know some of you far right fanatics are just suckers for punishment.

      (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down
      • rukidding says:

        Sorry-I believe they are going to take a 5% pay cut and make an additional 5% contributions to their benefits.

        (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  7. dayndayout says:

    In California , the “Move-over” law became operative on January 1, 2010.
    http://www.moveoveramerica.com/

    This came as a surprise to me, so FYI.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
    • Cindy says:

      I wasn’t aware that this had become a law but it’s just good common sense. I always move over or at least slow down considerably when I see emergency vehicles, someone changing a tire or riding a bike. How much are we supposed to slow down to avoid a ticket? It’s not always possible to move over and I have had the occasion when someone was on my tail doing 65 and I didn’t feel safe slowing down either, although I would have liked to pop the tailgater a good one. I guess it will be up to the perception of the lawman?
      I have noticed that there are a lot more cops hiding and watching for any semblance of a traffic violation. I know someone who got a $200.00 ticket for rolling through a stop sign even though there was no one else on the road. He could see from all directions that no one else was approaching the 3 way stop on San Anselmo in A-Town. The only other car that was around was a LEO that was hiding. I think it’s BS to give someone a ticket for failing to make a complete stop when there is no one to stop for. The fact is that LEO do get credit for meeting ticket quotas and those quota’s have been raised.

      (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
      • mkaney says:

        Good common sense, yes, but when it applies only to legions of the state, this law becomes a tool to enforce state-worship. Notice that it does not indicate that a driver should move over for any disabled vehicle, or pedestrian, etc… but only for state employees. Supposedly they make all this money, or so they claim, because it’s a risky job. The comparative risk of being a LEO is actually pretty low. When a LEO is confronted by a citizen who he is suspicious might have a weapon… instead of waiting to see if in fact the citizen does have a weapon they are trained to react. What that says to me is that they consider their life to be more valuable and will place the actual risk on the citizen instead of taking that risk themselves.

        But back to that move-over law… here’s where it really gets interesting. The last section of the bill states (note, abridged for length only): c) The requirements of subdivision (a) do not apply if the stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights …. is not adjacent to the freeway or is separated from the freeway by a protective physical barrier.

        And that final provision was in effect only through the end of Jan 2010. Looks like they’ve left themselves some serious elbow room for discretion here eh?

        (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  8. rukidding says:

    Most traffic violations are infractions and therefore there is no jail time associated with these violations. If no action is taken the infraction becomes a misdemeanor and therefore can turn into a failure to appear which can be penalized with jail time if not paid for. With most people out of work a day or two in jail is looking better than paying the ridiculous fines of several hundred dollars for an infraction. The courts are releasing convicted felons to save money does it make sense to put an infraction violator in jail. The way they have been doing things their answer would probably be yes.

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  9. willie says:

    Police in most states no longer giving drivers that 5 to 10 mph cushion for the same reason “revenue”. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-03-30-speeding-cushion_N.htm

    Driving a little too fast, a citation / Driving a little too slow, a citation

    Lawmakers see traffic tickets as an easy source of revenue during tough financial times, however highly paying and training law enforcement to use every Vehicle Code Violation and local ordiance to increase revenus on voters is NOT what voters had in mind, I doubt that any of them can be that perfect, but oh, they’re exempt!.

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down

Comments are closed.