What are the 4 states with the worst traffic fines?
By Korrena Bailie
Nobody enjoys receiving a traffic ticket, and getting one with a large fine makes the situation worse.
But why do some states charge such high fines for traffic violations? Walter Meyer, a California traffic school instructor, says it’s to deter people for committing the offense again. “Most people can’t afford $300 without shifting a lot of stuff around to make that work. So, they notice a $300 fine much more than they do a $100 fine,” Meyer says.
Here are the top 4 states where you will end up hundreds of dollars out of pocket if you get a ticket – as well as the states where you’re also most likely to get a traffic ticket.
In Georgia, first-time offenders have it tough, but repeat offenders have it even worse. Here’s how it works:
First-time offenders pay a base ticket fine, depending on how far over the limit they go. Your fine cannot be higher than the baseline. However, Georgia law allows fees to be added. The fees can be as much as 35 percent to 60 percent of the fine.
Repeat offenders are at the mercy of the court. You can be charged up to $1,000 plus fees for speeding if you’ve been convicted of speeding in Georgia in the past.
Georgia drivers also need to be aware of the Georgia Super Speeder Law. This is an addition of $200 to any speeding ticket if you’re caught doing any of these additional offenses:
- You’re caught driving 75 mph or more on a two-lane road.
- You’re caught driving 85 mph or more on any road or on the highway.
In addition, if you’re convicted of being a super speeder, first-time offender caps do not apply.
2. North Carolina
North Carolina ranks as a top state for traffic fines. You can be charged up to $1,000 for a first offense.
One reason for this is that an additional $200 can be added to your initial speeding fine that goes into a state fund. North Carolina court costs have risen significantly, Kennedy says, saying that drivers who receive a speeding ticket in North Carolina are possibly just paying an inflated state tax.
3. New Hampshire
New Hampshire earns a distinction for being an unfriendly state regarding traffic tickets because of its strict ticket-issuing procedures and because of the punishments that repeat offenders receive.
Most states give drivers a 5-mph over the limit grace period; they won’t fine drivers for going between 1 and 5 mph over the speed limit. However, New Hampshire might issue a ticket that puts three points on your record for going just 1 mph over the speed limit.
Gathering points is significant in New Hampshire because if you gather too many of them, you could lose driving privileges. If you commit a traffic violation in New Hampshire, you may be fined up to $350 and a serious violation, such as a DUI, can lead to jail time.
Florida makes the list of states with high traffic fines because of the vast amount of tickets the state issues, which can add up. Drivers are subjected to tickets for every infraction they commit, no matter how minor, thanks to the red light cameras that are prevalent throughout the state.
For example, you can receive a ticket in Florida for not coming to a complete stop before making a right turn on a red light. That ticket typically costs $158, according to Barry Kowitt, founder of Unger & Kowitt law firm.
And according to Kowitt, it’s typically not worth fighting the ticket as you’re unlikely to get off. People who want to fight a ticket issued for not coming to a full stop must go before a city hearing board.
Experts agree: No matter what state you live in, when it comes to traffic violations, prevention is always the best cure. “If you think you’re going to save a lot of time by not stopping, think of how many hours it will take you to earn enough money to pay for a ticket versus the three seconds of stopping completely,” Meyer says.
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