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The cost of the average traffic ticket in California has reached a new high, according to state records. Common infractions like speeding and running a red light can now set drivers back several hundred dollars. Why is this happening?


Contrary to popular belief, the base fines have not increased all that much over the past two decades. What has increased, however, are the number and cost of assessments for things like traffic school, emergency medical services, and court construction, which were rarely if ever imposed in the old days.


After careful analysis, the Judicial Council of California discovered that 1993 was the year when traffic fines started rising. In that year, a driver who ran a red light was issued a ticket for 103 dollars. Today, that same infraction would cost him 490 bucks! But that’s nothing compared to the rising cost of speeding citations.

In 1993, a driver who was stopped going 15 miles per hour over the posted limit was asked to pay a fine of around 29 dollars. Today, that same California driver would have to fork over $238, nearly eight times more!

One unintended consequence of these rising fines is that more drivers that ever are challenging them in court, which has lead to a huge backlog in an already congested court system.

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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Phone: 559.441.1418