California Traffic Tickets: Fines, Violations, and Penalties

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California traffic tickets will vary in fines and penalties depending on your actions and location. It may come as a shock when you receive a ticket or are rightfully justified because of improper driving.

All the details of your traffic fine will show on the ticket – giving you a better understanding of how and why you got it.

Your ticket fee may show and include the following:

  • County and state penalties
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) fees
  • DNA Identification Fund Penalty
  • Court Operations Assessment
  • An extra 20% surcharge

The obvious solution is practicing safe driving. Yet, we all make mistakes and face the consequences.

You may plead guilty to the ticket, incurring a fine and point to your record. Or, fight the ticket and go to trial on your own or with the help of a traffic attorney. This choice is up to you and it’s better done after you understand why you received the penalties.

California’s Point System and Traffic Fines

California has an extensive points system incurring 1 to 2 points per offense. This typically involves speeding, illegal U-turns, or causing a collision. Two points incur from serious offenses like reckless driving and driving under the influence.

Note that you may have your license suspended if you get too many points within a period:

  • 4 points in 1-year
  • 6 points in 2-years
  • 8 points in 3-years

Instant suspensions and revocations happen for DUI convictions, transporting explosives or a firearm, or running from an officer. Anyone with a CDL will face similar but harsher fines and fees. Plus, auto insurance rates will likely increase because of these incidents.

How Much is a Speeding Ticket in California?

The amount of your traffic ticket fine, including surcharges and penalties, can vary from $238 to $490 depending on your speed, as stated by the Judicial Branch of California. There may also be additional fees and penalties depending on where you received the ticket.

  • 1 – 15 MPH over the speed limit: $35 (Base)
  • 16 – 25 MPH over the speed limit: $70 (Base)
  • 26+ MPH over the speed limit: $100 (Base)

But, also remember you will have a surcharge and many other associated fees. Fines compound on the base fine. Your basic ticket could become hundreds of dollars once everything is accounted for.

You may also need to take a driving school and pay higher premiums on your insurance – so do your best to stay at or below the speed limit!

Speeding in construction zones double, while doing so in school zones has even heavier consequences.

Other Types of Moving and Non-Moving Violations

You may also incur ticketing for:

  • Driving without a seatbelt
  • Driving while texting
  • Illegal turning
  • Child seat violations
  • Hit and run
  • Illegal U-turns
  • Driving without a license
  • Tailgating
  • Racing

Each of these is associated with either infractions, misdemeanors, or felony violations. They have variable repercussions depending if you’re a first-time or repeat offender. Expect to pay big if you do several of these violations in one go!


It is always important to keep up with traffic laws and regulations to protect yourself, other drivers, and pedestrians. Always drive safely and responsibly; any moving violation can seriously affect your wallet and driving record. Be sure to stay aware of speed limits in different areas, especially school zones and construction zones.

Doing so will help you avoid hefty fines or even a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. In addition, avoid tailgating and racing on the roadway, as these constitute serious traffic offenses that could lead to harsh penalties.