The Cost of Traffic Tickets: It's More Than Just the Fine

Anyone who gets a traffic citation knows that there will be a fine of a particular amount levied when they receive the traffic ticket. Even for those who are aware of these ancillary expenses, many times people don't include court costs when tallying up the expenses they will face due to traffic tickets.

Often the purpose of court costs is not very well understood. They are fees that are charged for the administrative expenses related to your traffic ticket. Drivers who are found guilty of traffic offenses have to bear the court system's "cost of doing business," and unfortunately, so do those drivers who just pay their ticket because they don't want to have to deal with the frustration that can occur when fighting a traffic ticket. These fees go into the state's general fund and are used to support a large amount of the court's budget.

It can be quite surprising to an unsuspecting driver to learn that court costs can be much higher than the fine associated with the traffic citation. To add to the frustration of getting the traffic ticket alone, these fees seem unjust.

It seems like the cost of contesting a traffic citation should not be any more or less expensive at any given time, but it does happen and these costs fluctuate greatly. The system is set up in such a way that it which makes it extremely difficult to fight a traffic ticket on your own. This can lead the average driver to become disheartened at the thought of "going it alone" when fighting his or her traffic ticket. For most people, going into court to tell the judge that you were just trying to keep up with traffic or that you were not exceeding the speed limit by as much as the officer stated may sound like fairly reasonable arguments. I can assure you that few judges will agree with you on this point. Presenting an argument such as this, in fact, can be construed as a confession to the violation of which you are accused, and the judge is likely to impose penalties to whatever extent the law will allow.

There are other factors as well that can affect your court costs such as what type of traffic ticket you get. There are some traffic tickets that are considered more serious than others. A speeding ticket fine for going 10 miles over the speed limit is going to be less than the fine for going 25 miles over, and this is also true for court costs.

Someone who has not had a traffic ticket for quite a while is likely to pay less in court fees than someone who habitually ignores traffic laws. Judges tend to get annoyed with drivers who seem to have little-to-no regard for traffic laws.

Another component that many drivers may overlook when appearing before a traffic court judge or hearing officer is attitude. No matter how innocent you may be or how slight the infraction is, if you appear in court with a chip on your shoulder, you can anticipate it having a bearing on whether or not your ticket is dismissed/reduced, or whether the judge hits you with every penalty he can.

Some judges are known to lean towards leniency, but others have an equal reputation for imposing the maximum amount of court costs that they can possibly assess. Listening to one excuse after another all day certainly must become wearisome to many judges. Remember that judges are people too and are just as inclined to have a bad day as anyone else which could have a bearing on the outcome of YOUR fines and penalties.

Granted, once the unpleasant surprise of court costs is revealed, you may feel that the additional expense of a traffic ticket attorney is just one more cost you will incur. You should bear in mind though that with our experience in the court room, you have a much greater chance that your traffic ticket will be reduced or dismissed. Even if a traffic ticket attorney doesn't get your ticket dismissed, he or she may be able to get your court costs reduced because the judge has the latitude to decide whether or not to do so.


Anyone who gets a traffic citation knows that there will be a fine of a particular amount levied when they receive the traffic ticket. Drivers who are found guilty of traffic offenses have to bear the more info court system's "cost of doing business," and unfortunately, so do those drivers who just pay their ticket because they don't want to have to deal with the frustration that can occur when fighting a traffic ticket. Someone who has not had a traffic ticket for quite a while is likely to pay less in court fees than someone who habitually ignores traffic laws. Granted, once the unpleasant surprise of court costs is revealed, you may feel that the additional expense of a traffic ticket attorney is just one more cost you will incur. Even if a traffic ticket attorney doesn't get your ticket dismissed, he or she may be able to get your court costs reduced because the judge has the latitude to decide whether or not to do so.

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