Traffic Fines in California have reached to Their Maximum Level

Traffic Fines in California have reached to Their Maximum Level

People of California will be agree with me that life in California is simply great as it has some of the best places, best jobs and best people but it also has some drawbacks, one being too much population. Traffic on roads is always full as a result of which it takes double the original time in reaching to the destination. What most of the people including me do is try to dodge the traffic police whenever possible. I know it is unethical as well as illegal but when it is about your job and your crazy boss then everything is fair. I got punished for my mistakes and carelessness so I advise you not to repeat mistake which I did.

Let me tell you my story briefly. It was a pleasant Monday morning that turned into a disaster for me. I was already 10 minutes late from my office when I left home. My mistake was just that I took a right run when the signal was red. Unluckily, the camera also recorded it. I was ready to have a harsh conversation with the traffic police who in my opinion will leave me after giving warning. I didn’t even thought of a traffic fine but guess what? I was charged a fine of $490. Not only tis, extra charges of $59 were taken for traffic school. I never knew that the fine can be this high. It was the most shocking news as this fine badly disturbed my budget. I know I am not alone as thousands of people of California pay fine every day for different traffic violations.

You will be amazed to know that the traffic fines have increased with the passage of time. According to Judicial Council of California which is the main authority that allocates traffic fines for different traffic violations, Driving when it is red light costs you $490 these days. It was $340 in 2003 and just$103 back then in 1993. In the same way, the fine for over speeding up to 15 mph an hour is eight times high then it was in 1993. When you add the fee for traffic school then it increases further.

Basic fine $100
Country Penalty assessment charges $100
State charges for penalty assessment $70
Charges for DNA identification $50
Construction fee for court $50
State surcharge $20
Charges for emergency medical provision $20
Charges for transportation of emergency medical air $4
Court proceedings $40
Conviction assessment $35
Night court charges $1
Total Ticket $490
Charges for completing traffic course $59
Total Charges $549

The strange thing is that base fine for almost all the traffic violations didn’t increased during the last two decades but other charges kept on increasing with the passage of time. These extra charges come under penalty assessment and Legislature is responsible for it. The money collected under these charges is used for different projects which not only involves the construction of court building but also DNA research. This research is done to find the criminals.

These penalties individually cost just a few dollars but when they add up then it becomes a huge figure. There are almost 10 of these different penalties taken these days by California traffic police under traffic tickets when it was just one penalty 10 years back.

Logic and commonsense says that these fines will have taught a good lesson to people of California who must have become good drivers but the reality is somewhat different.  The rate of traffic violation is continuously increasing with every new day and so is rate of drivers who decide to fight against ticket. The traffic offenders’ fight against ticket in courts just to get rid of fine or to reduce it but not everyone is lucky enough to win the case.

Now let’s move on to the figures given by Judicial Council which says that roughly 4.5% of the total people who received tickets in 2003 went to court for fighting against ticket. This rate reached up to 7.1% is 2011 when roughly 383,000 people went to courts for proving themselves innocent.

The legal advisors are of the view that these tickets create a lot of problems for the working class who earn limited amount of money. There are a lot of single parents who already have extra responsibilities on their shoulders. Even a single ticket disturbs their budget badly. Some judges try to help people by offering them community services instead of taking fines but the truth is that it is not helpful at all as you have to pay $10 for an hour of community service. You can total the amount for let’s say 49 hours just for breaking the red signal.

A clear view of the pictures makes us realize the fact that court is also losing a lot of revenue on court proceedings done for people who fight against ticket but the sad thing is that it is not aware of this. A few courts are now taking serious measures to ensure that least number of people fight against ticket.

According to the court representative-Karen Dalton, the number of people who fight against ticket is doubled due to which every motorist has to wait for as long as six months.

Some courts have developed an action plan to stop people from fighting against tickets. The idea is to convince motorists not to go for fighting ticket. Motorists are offered a discount only if they do not go to court. Recently, 80 motorists were offered discount back in San Francisco. Those motorists who were charges with $400 were offered an amount of $285 if they settle ticket. Al others who had traffic fine less than $400 was asked to give just $178. Most of the people prefer taking discounts as it saves them money. If a motorist loses case in court then he not only has to pay full fine but he also have to pay court charges including fee of lawyer.

This action plan must be followed everywhere in California but there are still various locations such as Oakland where no discount is being given. The department head in Oakland used some harsh words when a traffic violator requested him to decrease the fine. He said that everyone is equal here so no favors will be given to anyone.

The sad news for Californians is that experts strongly believe that there is no chance that traffic fines will decrease or remain same in the future. Instead, they may increase. The reason given is that state is earning a huge amount of revenue in the form of penalty assessments. According to a report prepared by California research department in 2006, the government earns more than $500 million as a result of traffic tickets every year. Some experts say that government has found an easiest and simple way of earning money and it will keep doing so unless it gets enough money which in other means it will never stop at least not till next 5 years.



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