Getting a speeding ticket in California can be very expensive. Not only are the fines and court fees high but also the likelihood of your insurance rates going up.
Speeding means you are charged with CVC §22350: No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.
According to Nerdwallet, “with fees and surcharges, speeding ticket-related costs jump to $234 in California. But the biggest hit to your bank account is yet to come: The average California driver will pay $158.53 each year in extra insurance costs for three years after a speeding ticket.” This means your car insurance premium will go up by 15% on average.
There are a couple of scenarios that could play out:
- You can either try to get the ticket dismissed by showing up in court and fighting your case
- You can plead guilty and try to persuade the judge to be more lenient on you
- Go to court and hope the citing officer does not show up. This will dismiss your charges completely
- Or by pleading guilty and going to traffic school to get your ticket masked on your driving record
Speeding Ticket Costs
Nationally, the average cost of a speeding ticket is about $150, but can vary quite a bit: Illinois and Virginia, for instance, have a maximum speeding ticket cost of $2,500, while in Tennessee, speeding tickets can only go up to $50.
Unfortunately for residents of California, it’s one of the top 10 states in which you’re most likely to receive a speeding ticket. The cost depends on how far over the speed limit you were going:
- 1 to 15 mph over the speed limit: $35 base fee / $230+ total
- 16 to 25 mph over the speed limit: $70 base fee / $360+ total
- 26+ mph over the speed limit: $100 base fee / $490+ total
The total cost is so much higher than the base fee because so many extra fees are added to it. These include costs like the criminal conviction fee ($35), court operations assessment ($40), and many more. Additionally, you can expect to pay more to your car insurance provider after receiving the ticket (and end up paying hundreds of dollars more per year).
Can you go to traffic school for a speeding ticket in CA?
Depending on your eligibility, you can go to traffic school for a speeding ticket in California. For speeding tickets, this depends on the speed you were cited on the ticket. Going less than 25mph over the posted speed limit is considered a one point infraction, which is an eligible offense.
If you go 26mph or over the posted speed limit then that is a two-point infraction. You are not automatically eligible for traffic school if you are caught speeding 25+mph.
How long does a speeding ticket stay on your driving record?
Most one point infractions (such as a minor or one point speeding ticket) will remain on your driving record for 36 months or 3 years. However, if you are eligible for traffic school and decide to go, your speeding citation will be masked from the public driving record.
Serious offenses such as DUIs will stay on your driving record for 10 years.
The Speed Trap Defense
Radar speeding tickets can be beaten with a speed trap defense. If the officer selected the radar box and inputted the radar unit number in the box, then you received a radar ticket.
Read Help! I Got A Ticket’s Step-by-Step Guide to beating a Radar Speeding ticket.
How to Fight a Speeding Ticket in California
In order to fight a speeding ticket in California, you’ll need to provide evidence that proves the charges are false—specifically, your most likely out is to argue that you weren’t actually speeding. In general, it’s a lot easier to make this argument if you weren’t ticketed for speeding way over the speed limit.
Going to trial, you’ll have to present your evidence (e.g. photos, witnesses, etc.) to the court and the judge. Additionally, you can also attempt to get out of going to court by completing a Request for Trial by Written Declaration, to which you’ll attach written statements from you and your witnesses. The judge makes a decision based on the documents included, and if they reject your argument, you can ask for a new trial (where you will have to appear in person).
Speeding ticket points in California
The majority of speeding tickets in California will cause one point to be put on your license. However, this changes if the offense was quite severe: if you were speeding over 100 mph, or you were engaging in a speed contest, this will result in two points being put on your license. The majority of points (for offenses like speeding, illegal turns, etc.) will stay on your license and driving record for 3 years, but points for more severe violations (such as DUIs) will remain on your license for a decade.