The majority of San Jose officers make it a point to never tell drivers the amount of their traffic ticket. San Jose police are apprehensive drivers will go ballistic.
Fines on speeding tickets have surged in the previous five years as the state of California has included charges and punishments that can raise the expense of most infractions into hundreds of dollars. Running a red light: $446. Ignoring a “don’t walk” sign: $173. Driving solo in the car-pool lane: $445. Speeding at 81 mph on most highways: at least $331.
In addition to the above fines, moving violations will add an additional $50 if you go to traffic school to keep your record clean. Even a ticket for a broken headlight, for example, now start at $25.
Why the fine expansion? Officials are seeing traffic tickets as a generally simple means of income in intense times, and add-on charges are, no doubt used to store benefits that may have nothing to do with criminal traffic offenses, such as collecting criminals’ DNA.
The conception of red-light cameras in the Bay Area and the steep fine for running red lights has gained attention regarding how expensive tickets have become. In most cases astonished doesn’t start to portray the emotions of drivers who get notice of a weighty fine. More like dumbfounded and heated.
“Silly — its simply not reasonable,” said Denise Matlock of San Carlos, who neglected to make a complete stop on a right turn and got a $447 ticket.
“I had heard some repulsiveness stories,” said Ed Burling, a resigned De Anza College science educator who was nailed for going 71 mph on Highway 1 between Fort Bragg and Mendocino. He expected a $300 fine, not the $458 he was charged.
Melissa Currier of Hayward was ticketed for driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a city road. Her fine: $385. “I was stunned,” said her spouse, Jason.
What raises these tickets so high are the dozen of expenses and punishment fees that are tacked onto the base fine.
Bring a ticket with a $100 base fine. There’s a state punishment of 100 percent — an alternate $100. A province punishment of 70 percent — $70 more. A state criminal surcharge of 20 percent — $20 more. Add on expenses for DNA testing, crisis medicinal administrations, court development and security costs, and the last sum is a few hundred dollars.
What does DNA need to do with driving gravely? Nothing, however the 2004 activity Proposition 69, which approved the state to gather DNA tests from criminals, forced a surcharge on all fines to help finance the project. Crisis restorative and administrations are financed the same way.
In the event that a San Jose officer issues a ticket with a base fine of $100, $83 goes to Santa Clara County, $87 to the city and a large portion of the remaining $300-in addition to in expenses and punishments goes to the state, as per the city of San Jose.
The effect is constantly felt in traffic courts throughout California, as more drivers fight to get their tickets released or their fines diminished.