Poisoning the Goose
That Lays the Golden Eggs
Very few lawyers in California have chosen to specialize in traffic law, because there has not been any real money in it until recently. With the cost of a ticket (including either increased insurance or traffic school fees) running over $300, it makes sense for many people to pay an attorney $250 to $350 to beat a ticket.
A competent attorney should be able to get three or four cases dismissed in less than an hour of court time, and with less than twice that amount of time spent pre-trial. If you do the math, this works out to $1,000 or more for a three hour day. Watch for traffic citations to become the hot new area of law in California.
This may well have a couple of consequences not intended by the legislature:
- The number of cases going to trial will increase. This will mean more expenditures for more courtrooms and court personnel.
- The percentage of cases the court actually collects on will drop.
In other words, the cost may go up while the revenue goes down.
Traffic tickets are a billion dollar industry in California, providing a substantial portion of county and municipal budgets. By raising the cost of tickets to absurdly high levels, the legislature may well be poisoning the goose that lays the golden eggs.