The Four Factors That Determine Traffic Fines
When drivers in South Carolina receive a ticket for speeding, they often wonder what factors impact how much they are fined for the offense. Although every situation is different, there are four main factors that can determine how much drivers are fined when they exceed the speed limit.
- The Type of Violation
The main factor that determines how much a speeding ticket will be is how serious the offense was. For example, if a driver is pulled over by a law enforcement official for going 35 mph in a 25 mph zone, the fine will be much less than if the driver was travelling 85 mph in a 45 mph zone. Drivers may also be fined more if they are ticketed for committing a simultaneous offense, such as failing to yield or driving in a reckless manner.
- The Officer's Discretion
On some higher speed traffic citations, the charging officer has discretion on what fine to charge for the ticket. This makes your roadside interaction with the officer even more important. As such, we always advise our clients to be respectful to the police officer. Being polite when receiving a ticket (even if in error) increases your changes of being charged a lower fine as well as putting you in a better position to fight your ticket later in Court.
- Where the Ticket Was Received
Despite the speed limit, special zones exist where fines for speeding are increased. For example, a driver may be fined more for speeding in a school zone or work zone than if he or she had been speeding in a residential area. Additionally, a driver could be fined more if he or she speeds in a construction zone. In cases like these, the fine for speeding is often doubled.
- The Ticket’s Payment Date
After drivers receive a speeding ticket, the date when payment will be due is listed on the citation. Drivers need to be careful, if they decide to pay the ticket, to pay it within this timeframe. If drivers fail to do this, the fine amount may increase. In North Carolina, a $200.00 late fee or FTA will be assessed for fines not paid within the time allotted by the Court.
When drivers receive a traffic ticket, they should remember that the penalties associated with the offense can extend beyond the fine. For example, in South Carolina, traffic violations are assigned a specific number of points. When drivers have a certain number of points added to their driving record, they may lose their driving privileges altogether. Additionally, drivers who are fined for speeding may find that their vehicle insurance rates significantly increase.