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What we pay for when we pay traffic tickets

When you pay a traffic ticket in California, only about 20% is for the actual violation

About 80% of what you pay for a traffic ticket in California is not part of the base fine, but covers a variety of assessments and fees tacked on to pay for state and local programs. The State Penalty Assessment, for example, supports driver training, long-term care for those with traumatic brain injury, training for public defenders, victims of violent crimes, protection of wildlife and training for corrections and parole officers, among other things. And that's only the start of the good deeds funded by speeders and red-light runners. Here's a list of the add-ons:

1. State penalty assessment fund: $10 for every $10 in base fine

2. County penalty assessment fund: $7 for every $10 in base fine

3. Emergency medical services: $2 for every $10 in base fine

4. DNA database: $5 for every $10 in base fine

5. Court facility construction: $5 for every $10 in base fine

6. Air ambulance service: $4 fee per fine

7. State surcharge for general fund: 20%

8. Court operations: $40 fee per fine

9. More court facility construction: $35 per fine

10. Night court: $1 fee per fine

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