If you get pulled over for speeding in the Golden State, you may get hit with a ticket. If you’re lucky, you may get off with a warning. But if luck isn’t on your side, then you want to make moves to deal with the ticket and prepare for the consequences. In this brief guide, we’ll cover the speeding ticket cost in California and the impact it can have on your car insurance premium.
How much does a speeding ticket cost in the state of California?
If you’re wondering how much is a speeding ticket in California, it depends on how fast you were going as well as the location, such as speeding in a school zone or construction zone. On top of that, there may be additional charges and fees that can add up fast, making California one of the costliest places to get a speeding ticket.
According to California Courts — The Judicial Branch of California’s website, a speeding ticket fine, plus fees and potential penalties could cost $490 or even more. But how much you’ll pay in total can vary. Let’s take a look at the California speeding ticket base fine breakdown:
- 1 to 15 MPH over speed limit = $35
- 15 to 25 MPH over speed limit = $70
- Over 25 MPH over speed limit = $100
- Over 100 MPH = $200
These base rates are just the starting point and can increase by $35 if you’re found to be in a construction zone. According to an April 2018 Report on Penalty Assessment Funds, “Traffic infractions are generally minor offenses not punishable by time in jail but by a base fine of up to $100, and they include offenses such as speeding or failing to stop at a stop sign.”
The report also explains that you may be hit with a base fine, a penalty, or a surcharge which is added as part of the punishment, and a fee or assessment that helps recoup administrative and court costs. On top of that, the state of California adds a 20% state surcharge to base fines as well.
Let’s take a look at some potential fees that can be added to your traffic violation for speeding.
So in total, the maximum speeding ticket you get in California could range from $238 to $900, according to TicketClinic.com. If you get a ticket and have to pay a hefty speeding ticket fine, you may be able to request a payment plan, reduction, or community service here.
How to proceed after getting a speeding ticket in California
If you get a speeding ticket in California, you’ll get a “Notice to Appear” in court and will need to take action before that time. Your options include:
- Pleading guilty to speeding and paying the ticket. You may be able to pay the ticket online and be done with the case. You’ll typically have one point added to your license, which may impact your car insurance premium.
- Pay for and attend traffic school as well as pay any fines. Going to traffic school can avoid points on your record, but you must be eligible to do so. This is typically granted for first-time offenders.
- Go to court on your court date, where you may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
It’s important to take one of these steps so you can deal with the speeding ticket and prepare for any potential consequences. Your best bet is likely traffic school if you qualify for that option, as it could potentially save you money in insurance in the long run.
Your car insurance may go up after getting a speeding ticket in California
Getting a speeding ticket in California is no fun. It can be costly with the fine and fees and can add up even more when you take into account your insurance costs. If you get a point on your record for speeding it may not affect you that much — but you may be seen as a risk to your insurer, and your rates could potentially go up. It’s not something to worry about too much, but something to be aware of.
According to Bankrate, if you’re 18 years of age and have full coverage and get a speeding ticket in California, your premium may rise 20%. If you’re 40 years of age and have full coverage and get a speeding ticket in California, your premium may rise 36%.
Of course how much it goes up can depend on your age, previous driving history, and car insurance provider. If your rates go up significantly it might be time to shop around to see if there are more affordable and better options suited for you.
The bottom line
As you can see, the speeding ticket cost in California isn’t exactly cheap. Among all the fees, it adds up fast. If you take into consideration the rising insurance premiums, it can be an expensive blunder. So if you’re wondering how much is a speeding ticket in California, it can vary.
If you can, go to traffic school to avoid points being added to your license. If that’s not an option, take care of the speeding ticket in California and if your rates increase, you can shop around for new insurance. If you don’t drive that much, pay-per-mile coverage may be the best fit for you. You pay for gas by the gallon, so why not pay for miles based on how much you truly drive? See how much you can save with Metromile and get your quote today.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.