When you find that you're late for an important date on the other side of town, pedal to the metal is not your best choice in California. Speeding in the Golden State can cost you a pretty penny, both in driving violations and probably in insurance rate increases. If you are still thinking it might be worth it, calculate out what speeding might cost you.
Base Speeding Fines
In California, the price you will pay for a speeding violation depends on how fast you were driving when you were stopped. If you were caught driving between one and 15 miles over the speed limit, the flat fine is $35. If your car was zipping along at 16 to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit, you'll pay a base fine of $70. If you were traveling 26 miles or more per hour over the speed limit, the flat fine is $100.
If you shrug at these numbers, don't be too hasty. While many drivers may be willing to cough up these base amounts, the fees do not end there.
The base fees for driving violations appear manageable, but just wait until you see the additional fines. The state charges a 20 percent surcharge on every single traffic ticket. But that's not all, folks. Calculate the amount you will pay by adding in additional fees that may include:
- State Penalty Assessment, $100.00
- County Penalty Assessment, $70.00
- DNA Penalty Assessment, $50.00
- Court Facility Construction Penalty Assessment, $50.00
- 20 percent Surcharge (allowed on all tickets), $20.00
- EMS Surcharge, $8.00
When you take these into account, if you are stopped for speeding less than 15 miles over the speed limit, you'll pay a base fee of $35, then $280 on top in additional fees.
And if you are a super-speeder, you'll be hit even harder by fines. If you are caught flying along at a speed of over 100 miles per hour, your bank account will suffer. For a first offense, the statute authorizes a base fee of $500 plus licence suspension of up to 30 days. A second offense gets you a base fine of $750 and a 60 day suspension of your license, while a third offense ups the base fee to $1,000 and the suspension of driving privileges to 365 days.
If your speeding occurs in circumstances that make it reckless driving, you'll pay even more. Reckless driving in California is operating a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” A first reckless driving offense can send you to jail for up to 90 days with a fine of between $145 and $1,000.
California fines a base fee to a driver caught speeding. The amount of the fee depends on how much above the speed limit the driver is going. To the base amount is added various assessments and surcharges that can add $280 to a $35 ticket.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.