What is the Deal with Penalty Assessments on Court Fines

Everyone knows that when they are convicted of a traffic or criminal offense in California they will be hit with a fine.  However, the surprise comes when the defendant gets the “final bill” and discovers that the fine is doubled, tripled, quadrupled by what are called penalties and assessments.  These amounts are sometimes hidden from the offender and are a big shock when the clerk tallies the total amount due to the Court.  For example, I recently had a client that was originally charged with a felony DUI but after extensive negotiations with the Los Angeles District Attorneys Office I was able to work out a misdemeanor DUI, I was astounded to learn that in addition to the base fine of $390 (standard for a DUI), he was hit with “penalties and assessments” that amounted to well over $2000 when everything was said and done.  What a ripoff! my client said.  The lawmakers in California along with local Courts are sticking it to the people in a way that can only be described as monumental.  I for one call for an investigation into the distribution of the fees, penalties and assessments, the people have the right to know where this money is going and why the amounts are so high.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV.
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