Most Expensive Traffic Tickets in the U.S.

most expensive traffic tickets
Source: Lopolo/Shutterstock

In the United States, driving can shorten distances and save time.

Yet, in spite of this, many drivers are careless behind the wheel, and commit all sorts of traffic infractions, leading not only to an increased risk of losing their driver’s license, but also to costly tickets. The more serious the infraction is, the more expensive the tickets will get. Find which are the most expensive traffic tickets in the U.S.1. 2.

Traffic Ticket Considerations:

It is hard to be 100% accurate when stating how much a ticket can cost, as they fluctuate. However, it is clear that some cost significantly more than others. The are three major aspects to consider when it comes to traffic tickets. These are:

1. Fines and penalties imposed by the local government as punishment for violating one or several traffic laws. The cheapest ticket is $50 for any missing paperwork, while one of the more expensive tickets is the DUI, which can cost drivers over $1,000, and can also lead to additional consequences.

2. Insurance surcharges. Insurance companies monitor motor vehicle records closely in case any of the clients commit traffic violations. Any traffic violation — not just the most expensive traffic tickets—will lead to an increase in your car insurance premiums, due to the fact that these companies want a percentage to counteract the increased risk you now pose for the company.

3. Violation points. This item refers to the points that states assign to each traffic violation, score that will remain on your driving record for years. Truth be told, they do not represent a direct cost for you when you get a ticket; however, they have a very real impact on the aforementioned item. Insurance surcharges on your premiums are based on the number of points you have — and if they amount to a large sum, you could even have your license temporarily suspended.

The Most Expensive Traffic Tickets In The U.S.

The cost of each traffic ticket will also vary from state to state. Nevertheless, we have compiled a list of the violations that are expected to carry the most expensive traffic tickets in the country.

#1 DUI

The most expensive traffic tickets you can get is one for driving under the influence (DUI), which includes alcohol as well as narcotic drugs. Obviously, DUI disrupts your thinking, making you reckless and prone to mistakes behind the wheel. Therefore, the states have all taken a stand for the cause, so as to decrease the number of recorded crushes because of driving intoxicated.

Arizona is the state that has the most expensive traffic ticket for DUI: if you are caught, you can expect a license suspension worth 1 year, 10 days in jail and around $2,500 dollars in fines. Depending on your specific case, you can also be required to do community service or alcohol/drugs education courses to ensure it will not happen again. Keep in mind that the DUI offence will remain in your record for approximately 7 years.

#2 Speeding

Speeding is one of the main causes of fatal crashes in the United States, so it should come as no surprise that it also accounts for one of the most expensive traffic tickets in the nation. If you are caught, expect to find an costly fine waiting for you. At the end of the day, the judge will decide on your punishment. Keep in mind that the amount of miles above the speed limit will surely make the difference in the penalties.

In states such as California, speeding accounts for the most expensive traffic ticket. Exceeding the limit by just 5 or 10 miles will lead to a $500-dollar ticket. And for second, third and multiple offenders, costs can rise to $1,000 or $1,500. In other states such as Virginia, Oregon, and Georgia, first offenders must pay a $1,000 dollar fine. And, of course, after a speeding ticket, insurance premiums will surely rise significantly.

#3 Running a Red Light

Running a red light is also an infraction that generates one of the most expensive traffic tickets. In most states, this type of offense leads to expensive traffic tickets. For example, in California, running a red light just to reduce your commute in one or two minutes may cost up to $500 dollars. And if you are not a first time offender, then the cost will be even higher. Additionally, your car insurance company will increase your premiums.

#4 Reckless Driving

Number four on our list of the most expensive traffic tickets is reckless driving—a very common violation among American drivers. People sometimes get distracted behind the wheel, chatting over the phone, replying to text messages, changing stations, painting their lips or nails, eating… Another frequent traffic violation related to reckless driving is making a U-turn in the wrong place.

Because actions such as these can put others at risk, governments pay special attention to them and punish them accordingly. Traffic ticket costs vary from state to state, mainly due to local regulations, and they also consider whether the person is a first time offender or not. This type of infraction can lead to fines of up to $5,000 as well as to, in some cases, up to one year in prison. Furthermore, insurance premiums can increase to about $2,500.

#5 Driving Without a License

It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that driving without a license will earn you a very expensive traffic ticket. In order to circulate you need proper identification, since it guarantees that you were approved and allowed to get behind the wheel.

If your driver’s license is recently expired, your ticket will not be that expensive in most states. However, Nevada and New Hampshire will punish you either way with a $1,000 dollar fine for having an improper documentation. You can also get your license suspended or revoked for a year or so.