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.