You may face California ticket fines for speeding if you aren’t paying attention. It’s easy to become distracted when you’re rushing or have other things on your mind. However, speeding, especially at excessively high rates of speed can lead to trouble in the future.

Payment for First-Time Speeding Tickets in California

If you’re caught speeding in CA, and you’re a first-time offender (this is your first speeding ticket), you can expect to pay a speeding citation that can range from $238 to $490. Although the base amount for speeding ticket fines in CA is between $35 and $100, there are also other fees and penalties you’re responsible for paying, making your ticket more expensive.

You should also note that the total cost of your speeding ticket depends on how much you exceed the speed limit and the CA county where you received the speeding ticket. Be advised that having a prior traffic conviction that resulted in points being placed on your license within the last 36 months will increase your ticket fines by $10.

Most CA speeding tickets result in one point on your license. However, there are exceptions. If your speed exceeds 100 mpg, your first offense will result in 2 points on your license. If you are convicted of speeding while you are driving under the influence, your license will be suspended immediately, regardless of your license point history.

How Much Is a Speeding Ticket in California?

In general, the base fees for a California speeding ticket are low, but they can increase astronomically based on the severity of the offense and other contributing factors. The base fees are calculated solely on the rate of speed you were going when you were stopped. You can expect to add the following to the total of your CA speeding ticket:

  • 1-15 mph over the speed limit: $35
  • 16-25 mph over the speed limit: $70
  • 26-99 mpg over the speed limit: $100
  • Exceeding 100 mph over the speed limit: $200

California Surcharges

The CA base fines won’t necessarily break the bank, the most expensive fees will come from the surcharges, different penalties, and other additional fees that you may be responsible for paying. Al CA drivers may be responsible for paying a 20% surcharge on all traffic citations, and there is no exception. You will also have to pay the $40 court fee and the $35 conviction assessment. As a California driver, you may also be subject to the following additional fees:

  • Court penalty assessment: 70% of your base fine
  • State penalty assessment: 100% of your base fine
  • Night court assessment: $1
  • DNA identification fund penalty: 40% of your base fine
  • State court construction penalty assessment: 50% of your base fine
  • Emergency medical services penalty assessment: $4

Handling Your California Speeding Ticket

When you receive a CA speeding ticket, you have 3 ways you can with it. You can do any of the following:

  • Plead guilty, pay the fine, and receive a point on your license
  • Plead guilty, pay the fine, and complete a traffic school course to avoid a point being placed on your license
  • Go to court and contest your ticket

Points on Your California License

Once you plead guilty to the traffic ticket, there is no substitute for paying the fine. You can, however, avoid receiving a point on your CA license by completing a traffic school course with an authorized course provider. Points that are placed on your license stay on record for 7 years and can increase your auto insurance premiums. Accumulating a certain number of points on your license subjects you to a loss of driving privileges.

How Do Speeding Tickets Affect Auto Insurance Premiums?

When it comes to auto insurance, speeding tickets are more than penalties and fines. If you receive a ticket for speeding in California, it’s likely your auto insurance premiums will increase, however, this depends on your auto insurance provider.

Some auto insurance companies forgive first-time offenders, but you won’t probably won’t know this information until after you receive a ticket. Younger California drivers will face a more significant price increase than drivers who are over 40 years of age. Reckless drivers, regardless of their age, can expect to pay hundreds of dollars extra for auto insurance per year.

California Traffic Ticket Penalties

CA traffic ticket penalties are the same throughout the state, which means you’ll have the same penalties in Orange County as you do in Humboldt County. Penalties include points being added to your driver’s license/record and the suspension or revocation of your CA driver’s license. Keep in mind that penalty variations are based on license type. Permit holders will face different speeding penalties than a driver who carries a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

The California Point System

Being convicted of a moving traffic violation will place points on your California driving record. The severity of the violation will determine the duration of the points remaining on your driving record. In some instances, the court may waive points in exchange for completing a court-approved traffic school program.

In California, you are assigned points based on the traffic violation:

  • 1 point is assigned for violations, such as speeding, making an unsafe lane change, or an at-fault accident.
  • 2 points are given for more serious violations, such as reckless driving, hit-and-run, DUI, or driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

California Driver’s License Suspensions and Revocations

All CA traffic convictions do NOT lead to a suspended, revoked, or canceled driver’s license. We’ll define each term for you.

License suspension: the temporary loss of driving privileges

License revocation: the termination of a person’s driving privileges (a new driver’s license may be obtained once the period of revocation has ended.)

License cancellation: the termination of an individual’s driver’s license (any individual whose license has been canceled may immediately apply for a new CA driver’s license.)

An accumulation of traffic tickets or points can lead to the suspension or revocation of your CA driver’s license. The CA DMV will suspend your driver’s license for accumulating 4 points or more in 12 months.

A court judge may suspend your CA driver’s license, regardless of point count, if you are convicted of one of the following:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
  • Failure to stop (as required) at a railway-grade crossing
  • Driving above the posted speed limit
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit-and-run
  • Assaulting a driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian on a highway (road rage)
  • Committing a felony or misdemeanor offense
  • Fleeing a law enforcement officer

Penalties for Minors in California

California drivers who have a provisional license have less leeway when it comes to fines and penalties. In addition to the above-listed violations, the court and/or the CA DMV will suspend your driving privileges if you do any of the following:

  • Receive a traffic ticket and fail to appear in court
  • Get a traffic ticket and fail to pay the fine
  • Cimmit a 3rd offense of an at-fault collision or conviction (or any combination) within 12 months
  • Convicted of using alcohol or a controlled substance while driving

Penalties for California Commercial Drivers

You are required to notify your employer within 30 days of the conviction of any traffic violations. Even if you receive a ticket while driving your personal vehicle, you still are required to notify your employer. If you are convicted outside of California, use a Report of Out-of-State Traffic Conviction by a Commercial Driver (Form DL 535) to notify your employer.

California CDL Points and Violations on Driving Records

Any violation you receive while operating a commercial vehicle carries extensive fines and penalties. In addition, these violations will remain on your driving record for extended periods. Some of the longer violations can include the following:

  • Major violations (DUI, hit-and-run): 55 years
  • Out-of-service violations and disqualifying actions: 15 years
  • Collisions: 10 years
  • Railroad grade crossings: 4 years
  • Minor convictions: 3 years

Suspended California CDL

You will lose your CDL for at least 1 year for the following offenses (first-time offender):

  • First conviction for a DUI: 1 year
  • BAC of 0.04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle: 1 year
  • Refusing a DUI test: 1 year
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident: 1 year
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended, revoked, or canceled CDL: 1 year
  • Negligent driving causing a fatality: 1 year
  • Using your vehicle in a felony involving a controlled substance: 1 year

Serious Traffic Violations

Serious traffic violations can include the following:

  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving at least 15 mph above the posted speed
  • Improper lane changes
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper class CDL and/or endorsement

In addition to a hefty fine, conviction of any of the above violations will result in the loss of driving privileges for a minimum of 60 days for a 2nd offense within 3 years, and 120 days for a 3rd offense (or subsequent offense) within 3 years.

CDL Disqualifications

You will not be eligible to operate a commercial vehicle for life for subsequent convictions of any of the following offenses:

  • DUI
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Refusing a DUI test
  • A BAC of 0.04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle
  • Driving under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Negligent driving causing a fatality
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a revoked, suspended, or canceled CDL

You can review California’s Commercial Driver Handbook for more information regarding traffic violations and subsequent suspensions. Remember that other fines and penalties may apply.

We’ve covered a lot of information in this article about first-time speeding tickets, fines, and possible penalties. Speeding tickets aren’t worth the money and penalties. Slow down and drive safely. Happy driving!