Guide to Traffic Fines in the United States
When you are convicted of a traffic offense in the United States, you will most commonly be penalized with a fine. Often, for simple traffic offenses, the fine is the only punishment you will receive and can be paid quite easily online or by mail without ever appearing in court. Even so, traffic fines can be aggravating, and what's more, every state has different fine maximums. This guide will help you to understand traffic fines and some of the typical ranges for traffic fines in the United States.
The most common traffic violation is speeding. Going above the posted speed limits can result in traffic fines that vary significantly depending on how much you exceeded the speed limit by, the municipality you are convicted in, and any aggravating factors like drag racing (which has penalties of its own). Speeding tickets are also more serious if you receive a ticket as a driver with a CDL (commercial driver's license). If you are convicted of speeding by more than 15 miles per hour as a CDL holder, you may be subject to average fines of $300 or more, but first-time speeding traffic fines for most people will average about $200 according to the NHTSA.
Some municipalities are famous as “speed traps,” and if municipalities can set traffic fines in a state, these municipalities may have stiffer sentences for speeding. States like Connecticut [note for editor: link to connecticut traffic fine page once that is written later this week] cap traffic fines at a relatively small amount ($50) for first-time speeders.
You can be convicted of a moving violation if you do things like illegally pass on the right ($170 average traffic fine) or if you are convicted of an improper turn (usually $50-300). A much more common fine is for running a red light. While in most states, this will cost traffic fines of a few hundred dollars, in Nevada this offense is punishable with a fine of up to $1000.
You should check the penalties with not only your state, but your local jurisdiction if you are facing traffic tickets. Wide variation is possible in different municipalities, even within the same state. Not all information for your local traffic court's fine schedule may be available online, but you can typically phone for information on your local court's fine schedule and what your fine is.
Driving With A Suspended License
Driving with a suspended license is a serious violation that can result in expensive fines. If you are driving with a suspended or revoked license, you could also be convicted of a misdemeanor, which makes you subject not only to higher traffic fines (often up to $1000) but also jail time.
Sometimes, these violations are prosecuted only as a civil infraction, which carries no possibility of jail time. You may wish to consult with a traffic lawyer for advice if you are facing a misdemeanor charge, in order to see if the charge could be downgraded to a civil infraction.