Feb 232015
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Official seal of County of Solano

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In short order, I must resolve my speeding ticket with the Solano County Superior Court but despite the thoughtful courtesy letter shown below, many confusing issues remain.  As a result, I sent this request for clarification and I eagerly wait for their courteous response.

Superior Court of California
County of Solano
321 Tuolumne Street
Vallejo, CA 94590

Dear Superior Court;

Thank you very much for your recent courtesy notice about my recent encounter with a highway patrol officer on I-80. Not being a resident of Solano County, it was very helpful to receive information regarding my alleged offense and how to proceed.

While some of the information is helpful, other items are unclear. I do appreciate the option to post bail and avoid the long drive to Vallejo, particularly since there is no question that I was going faster than the posted 65 mile per hour speed limit. Nevertheless it does raise the question about how the officer decides which of the other hundred or so drivers on I-80 that day who were also exceeding the speed limit deserve to be ticketed.

I admit to exceeding the speed limit and can find no reason to challenge responsibility for the fine.  What seems confusing however is that the bail amount itemization includes services that I did not require without identification of the actual amounts. Item one is clear enough – Speeding. I have no way to evade that fact. It is the remaining items that raise questions:

Item two, the vehicle code administration fee

Item three, conviction assessment

Item four, court security fee

Item five, Emergency Medical Air Transport.

 Each of these items is, first of all cryptic, convenient for government bureaucrats but meaningless to mere citizens. And then, even with my most charitable attempt to break the code, I can find no reason why going over the speed limit requires me to pay for other services. I have no idea why I have responsibility for vehicle code administration merely from the act of driving my car through Solano County. Surely stopping me is an enforcement activity and not administration. If giving me a speeding ticket is an administrative function then perhaps I should be appearing in some other court.

My best guess about the conviction assessment fee is that it represents the cost of the officer’s time in assessing how convictable I was that day, although why that should be a separate charge escapes me. If the officer determined not to give me a ticket, he would have exercised as much thought and time and yet without a ticket, he would not be able to charge me for it. It seems punitive to charge for the assessment only when the party is determined guilty.

The court security fee is clearly an unwarranted charge. Since I have no intention of appearing in the Court, I pose no threat at all to its security. There can be no justification for assessing me any fees for that service. If anything I should be credited for providing no security burden at all.

Finally the item – emergency medical air transport is totally unjustified. I did not require emergency air transport that day and there can be no reason to assess me any responsibility for unrequired services.

I would be happy to send you a check for the fines from my speeding violation but unfortunately, your courtesy letter did not provide transparency about the amount of those fees and what they actually represent. Surely California residents are entitled to clearly understand the amount of all charges and precisely what services they receive from payment. Not wishing to cause undue problems for the court, I enclose the full assessment of fees, fully anticipating that you will provide at your earliest convenience an itemized listing including the amount of the fees and the justification for each. And I trust you will refund the amount for the charges not related to driving over the speed limit on I-80.



Ralph Carlson



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Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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  9 Responses to “Speeding Ticket Redux”

  1. Welcome to my world Ralph. Good luck on getting a response from the Court Clerk. All those assessments and fees are perfectly legal, and were probably mandated by the boys in Sacramento. But still, $360 is a whopper of a fine. You could serve it in jail: 1 day per every $102. Called “time for fine” in the business. You could meet a lot of nice folks in the “Can”, and write all about it on your blog. In fact, fuck em Ralph, let them support you for three days (three hots and a cot) rather than the other way around 🙂

  2. Yea, good luck with a refund. they may send you a bill for having to read the letter instead of cashing the check. that is a steep fine though. I thought my wifes $100 ticket for rolling a stop sign was a lot but that is ridiculous.

  3. Hansi,
    I see the tradoff here. A three day vacation in exchange for paying the fine. Still they’d probably charge me parking at San Francisco rates ($45.00 per day) and I’d still be behind. Bob suggested something similar and Bob would actually do it and smile all the while. If I could count on this whole process being handled by a well-medicated law enforcement officer such as yourself, I might try it. I’m just not willing to take the chance- even with the opportunity to meet a lot of nice folks.

  4. Justin,
    Everybody keeps telling me to ask because you can never get a yes without a question. I hope at least to get a reply, something that my Senators refuse to do in response to my letters. My next step is to send a copy of this all to my assemblyman and state senator, particularly if the court can’t be bothered to reply. Maybe I can hire Hansi as my ombudsman.
    ALthough I feel for your wife and that $100 fine, a part of me is pleased to learn that somewhere they actually enforce a full stop at stop signs. To my knowledge, I am the only person that actually comes to a full stop even when there is no cross traffic. With your wife, maybe there will now be two of us.

  5. Hi Ralph,

    Sorry that you got the speeding ticket. You could also try taking a defensive driving course in order to have your ticket reduced or dismissed. There would, unfortunately, still be a fine, but you might be able to pay less.

    We are an approved course for Solano County tickets, if you would like to take a DDC online. Our website is http://www.DrivingUniversity.com

    Good luck with your pursuit to get a response from the court with your letter. Sometimes it is better to pick up the phone and give them a call.

    • Terri,
      Thanks for the information about your course. Should I get another ticket, I will definitely need to consider taking it. Online is definitely they way to go.

  6. Ralph,

    Thanks for entertaining blog! Do us a favor and post your updates if you get a response from the court, we’d love to see how they respond to this insightful letter!

    If there’s any way we could convince you to fight your speeding ticket, let us know. California makes it easy to contest a speeding ticket through the mail, and there’s no harm in giving it a shot. For more info on speeding tickets, check out: http://www.ticketkick.com/speedingtickets/

    Thanks again, and best wishes!
    -The TicketKick Team

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