Cost of Tickets

How much is it just to pay the fine and be done with it? This article explores that question.

The true cost of a ticket comprises two separate components:
1) fine amount; and 2) insurance rate increase.

The Fine

The amount a county can levy on a ticket is controlled by statute and a document titled “Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedules” written by the Judicial Council of California. This document is published yearly in January pursuant to California Rules of Court Rule 4.102.

Statutes will state the range a fine encompasses. But this is only fine amount. You must check the “Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedules” document to find the real cost to you.

You can go to our downloads section and find the document for January 2009. Find your alleged violation, follow all the way to the right and you will see the total. To complicate matters even more, the large counties (San Diego included) are exempted from following the schedule strictly and can levy approximately 10% more on you.

Insurance Increase

Also included in the “Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedules” document are the amount of points that will go in your record if you are convicted of a moving violation. Not all of the tickets you are cited for carry point violations. Point violations are either a 1 or a 2 point addition to your DMV record.

Insurance companies use your DMV record and the amount of point you have to re-rate your insurance premiums. There are no set standards all insurance companies subscribe to when accessing your points and cost of insurance. Through anecdotal evidence and our experience, we feel that at a minimum a person with 1 point newly added on their DMV record, will see insurance premiums increase between $300 and $800 per year. The DMV keeps the points on you record for 3 years. In essence, the cost of a basic 1 point ticket will be $900 to $2400 over the three years.

The Bottom Line

A ticket in California is not something to be taken lightly. Our suggestion is that you fight every ticket you receive. If you fight and win, your ticket will be dismissed, you will not have to pay the fine and you won’t see an insurance increase.


  • Sign up online and tell us about your ticket. Starting at $99.

Attorney Advantage

Hiring an attorney to defend your traffic ticket may mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal. With high fines, DMV points and your license at stake, you need an experienced traffic law firm to handle it. Our traffic attorneys are the best in the business because:


We know the law and procedure that govern traffic law and traffic courts. We use the knowledge we've gained to get an advantage in court. Knowing the right legal maneuvers may mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal.

We go to court for you

Under Penal Code 977 we can make all your court appearances without you having to be present. In most cases, you will never have to go to court. We appear on your behalf and represent you to the fullest extent of the law.

Cost effective

Hiring an attorney doesn't have to be expensive. Our fees are reasonable because we have designed our business to be efficient. Many clients actually save money because they have hired our law firm.