California drivers who are facing speeding tickets often consider simply paying their fines and accepting points on their licenses. However, pleading guilty to a speeding offense may force drivers to continue paying for their tickets years after they were pulled over for speeding.
California traffic regulations set a standard fine of $35 for speeding offenses involving speeds of 15 mph over the posted limit. However, court costs and other fees are added to this fine, raising the total cost of paying a speeding ticket to more than $230. This makes the actual amount drivers pay for speeding tickets more than six times the base fine.
While the actual cost of the ticket itself is much steeper than the standard fine, the true costs of paying these tickets are even more burdensome. When a driver pays a speeding ticket, it often results in points being added to their driver's license. Auto insurance companies routinely increase policyholders' rates, sometimes by hundreds of dollars per year for three years, when they receive points on their licenses. In addition to the fine, court costs and other surcharges, California drivers pay more than $700 on average to their insurance companies as a result of their speeding tickets.
California drivers often have options other than paying their fines and accepting points on their licenses. People with good driving records are often able to avoid points and higher insurance rates by attending traffic school. Drivers also have the right to request a court date instead of pleading guilty. Traffic violation attorneys often attend these court dates along with their clients. They may be able to find errors in speeding tickets or take other measures to get them dismissed.
Source: Nerdwallet, "True Cost of a Speeding Ticket in California After Insurance Increases", John Kuo, Sept. 30, 2014