Arguably the most beautiful, scenic state in the nation, California is the home of the Pacific Coast Highway, Golden Gate Bridge, Tahoe National Park and other famously breathtaking destinations. Annually, thousands of tourists and residents alike see these views tarnished by red and blue lights.
The price for beauty is something of a nationwide joke. We are all well aware that everything is more expensive by the coast. Traffic tickets, and speeding tickets more specifically, are an avenue by which many become acquainted with this infamous “Sunshine Tax”.
This writer received their first speeding ticket in Illinois years ago and paid a fine of $78. After I had my first run-in with California Highway Patrol driving 70mph in 65mph (5mph over? Seriously?!), the court assessed a fine of $238. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. My shock turned frustration turned indignation led me onto an internet search that would ultimately be my driving record’s–and my wallet’s–saving grace, but more on that later.
It turns out that I was not alone in my experience. $238 is the minimum fine amount for a first-offence speeding violation in the lowest speed category. If your speed increases, things only get worse from there.
California Speeding Ticket Fines
For your average, everyday driver, there are a couple of different types of speeding violations you can come into contact with: CVC 22349, CVC 22356 and CVC 22350. All three of these codes adhere to the same speed categories and subsequent penalty schedules:
• 1-15mph over the speed limit: $238 and up
• 16-25mph over the speed limit: $367 and up
• 26mph+ over the speed limit: $489 and up
Remember, that number reflects a first offence, and this is before the insurance increases from the one point that would be added to your driving record. Those fees only get higher if you already have a violation on your record. Additionally, though the speed limit on the roadway usually refers to the speed limit that is posted, officers have the discretion to cite you if they feel a safe speed is below the posted limit. For example, if you are driving in heavy rain on a highway with a 65mph posted limit, an officer can cite you for driving 65mph if they feel it is too fast for the conditions. That’s $238+ for driving the speed limit.
In some cases, drivers may find themselves in an even stickier situation. CVC 22348(b) is reserved for speeding violations where the alleged speed exceeds 100mph. Not only does the fine start at $899, but it also carries 2 points. Of course there is no reason to be driving at such a high speed, but the fine for this violation is one of the highest in the country.
For commercial drivers, the stakes are even higher. California has some of the strictest driving laws in the country when it comes to trucks. The statewide mandatory truck max speed is 55mph; any faster and you could find yourself in violation of CVC 22406. The penalty schedule is strict as well; with the fine jumping up to nearly $500 once your alleged speed exceeds 10mph over the limit. Commercial drivers also incur 1.5 points on their record for violations that would add a single point for you average driver.
• 1-9mph over the speed limit: $238 and up
• 10mph+ over the speed limit: $489 and up
Think this code would not apply to you? Think again. If you are pulling a trailer on your personal vehicle, your maximum speed is 55mph. Violation of that speed could earn you a citation for CVC 22406 too.
If you are staring at these numbers in disbelief, you know how I felt when I tumbled down the internet rabbit hole of traffic violations. Just as the information started to seem overwhelming, I came across a way to fight back.
The Best Way to contest any California Traffic Ticket
There is a team of traffic ticket warriors down in Southern California that has been helping drivers fight back against these outsized penalties for years now. Using a trial process that allows individuals to contest their traffic tickets by mail, Ticket Snipers has helped tens of thousands of drivers dismiss their traffic ticket cases, saving them literally millions of dollars since their founding in 2008.
The high fine amount for my speeding ticket was what led me to seek recourse with my case. I never would have thought to fight a speeding ticket, but when faced with hundreds of dollars in penalties I had to find another way.
With an innovative approach to business, Ticket Snipers has moved a notoriously antiquated process online, allowing clients from throughout the state and the country to get help with their traffic tickets from the comfort of their own homes. Upon signup, they obtain the client’s side of the story and challenge the officer’s allegations to build the case.
A lot of people do not realize the nuances that go into a speeding ticket. How was my speed calculated? Was it even accurate? Ticket Snipers leaves no stone unturned. If the officer fails to demonstrate proof of all aspects of the citation, then the traffic ticket can be dismissed in the interest of justice.
Now that I understand what we as drivers are up against – high fines and not to mention the insurance increases – I am grateful for the experts dedicated to helping us fight back.