Traffic fine for red light runners not set by city of Capitola

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I rolled a traffic light on 41st Avenue, the light that doesn't serve any cross traffic since it's there just for shoppers to turn into the mall. I did not come to a full stop and about five camera flashes popped at the same time. Front, back and sideways, there was no denying that I had broken the law and that I was going to get a ticket. Can you guess how much my ticket was? It was $478. For failing to do a complete stop at a traffic light! I wonder if you can tell me how these amounts are set and whether there's any cap to them? It seems like outright extortion to me, a punishment way bigger than the crime. Thank you, Erica Aitken, Santa Cruz A: “Just because the cameras were tripped, does not mean the person got a citation,” said Sgt. Matt Eller of the Capitola Police Department. “Every citation is reviewed personally. The Santa Cruz Superior Court sets vehicle fines, not the city of Capitola. Capitola gets a small portion or the base fine as assigned by law. By law the city is suppose to get $150.19 for a red light violation. This rarely happens. The amount above $150.19 are fines, and administrative costs to the court. Also, the defendant's previous driving record factors into the fine.” Eller went on to say that state law requires drivers to “come to a full and complete stop at a red light before turning right. There is no such thing as a 'free right turn' in the state of California.”
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One Response to Traffic fine for red light runners not set by city of Capitola

  1. Anonymous says:

    Like it or not, the law is the law, you must stop before making a right hand turn… it was on your driving test! The purpose is to protect walkers, bikers, skate boarders, etc. A totally agree that the fine is too high, but the state and court want a piece of the pie!! Let your legislator know that the fine is too high – more than double anywhere else in the US. I have.

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