Fines for violating the new hands free cell phone law in California are $20 for the first offense and $50 for any second and subsequent offenses. California Vehicle Code section 23123.
The fine schedule for violating the California high occupancy vehicle (carpool) lane is derived primarily from California Vehicle Code section 42001.11 (set forth in full below). A rather arcane application of that section and several other code sections results in a minimum fine of $271.
The hands free cell phone thing is supposed to be a public safety law, while the carpool restrictions are totally unrelated to public safety. Yet the basic fine for a carpool lane violation is more than 13 times the basic fine for a hands free cell phone violation.
Which makes me wonder about the screwed up priorities this dichotomy demonstrates. And what those people in Sacramento are thinking about when they write our laws.
BTW, all fines in California are also subject to “penalty assessments” and other fees which make the final out-of-pocket costs considerably higher. The exact amount of these fees varies from county to county, but can more than triple the actual cost of any ticket. So don’t be expecting a cell phone violation to be costing you a double sawbuck.
California Vehicle Code section 42001.11: 42001.11. Every person convicted of an infraction for a violation of Section 21655.5 or 21655.8 shall be punished as follows: (a) For a first conviction, a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100), nor more than one hundred fifty dollars ($150). (b) For a second conviction within a period of one year, a fine of not less than one hundred fifty dollars ($150), nor more than two hundred dollars ($200). (c) For a third or any subsequent conviction within a period of two years, a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250), nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).