If you drive in California, it’s important to understand the state speeding laws. If you do get a speeding ticket, a traffic violation attorney can advocate on your behalf in court. Here’s what you need to know about the types of California speeding tickets and their associated penalties.
Types of Speeding Tickets
California has three types of speeding laws:
- The basic speeding law requires motorists to drive at a safe and reasonable speed for the current conditions, including traffic, type of road, visibility and weather. If conditions are poor, the basic safe speed may be lower than the posted speed limit.
- The absolute speed law prohibits drivers from exceeding the posted speed limit. Where speed limits are not posted, you must drive no faster than 55 miles per hour on an undivided two-lane highway and 65 miles per hour on other freeways and highways.
- Presumed speed limits are established to keep drivers and residents safe. With this law, you can prove in court that you were traveling at a safe speed even if you have exceeded the presumed limit, which is 15 miles per hour at highway intersections without 100 feet of visibility, railroad crossings and alleys and 25 miles per hour in school zones, residential districts and business districts.
Speeding Ticket Fines
Costly penalties for speeding may have you searching for the best speeding ticket lawyer. Base fines for California speeding offenses are as follows if you are traveling under 100 mph:
- Traveling up to 15 mph over the speed limit or safe speed: $35
- Traveling 16 to 25 mph over the speed limit or safe speed: $70
- Traveling 26 mph or more over the speed limit or safe speed: $100
If you were driving faster than 100 mph when you were pulled over, you will be subject to harsher penalties, including:
- 30 days of license suspension and a base fine of up to $500 for the first offense
- Six-month license suspension or restriction and a base fine of up to $750 for a second offense within three years
- One-year license suspension or restriction and a base fine of up to $1,000 for a third offense within five years
Depending on the circumstances of your ticket, you could also be charged with reckless driving. A first-time offense for this charge carries $145 to $1,000 in fines and between five and 90 days in jail. If another person is injured as a result of speeding, fines rise to $200 to $1,000. You may also receive 30 days to six months in jail.
California drivers will pay about six times the base cost of a speeding ticket. The state levies a 20% surcharge on all traffic tickets. Other assessments and fees may include:
- State penalty: 100% of base fine
- Court operations assessment: $40
- Emergency medical services assessment: $2 per $10 of the base fine
- Conviction assessment: $35
- Air transportation EMS penalty assessment: $4
- County penalty assessment: $7 per $10 of the base fine
- State court construction: 50% of base fine
- DNA ID fund penalty assessment: $4 per $10 of base fine
A traffic attorney can attempt to negotiate for lower penalties. Make an appointment for legal assistance if you have received a speeding ticket.