I received my first ticket (27360 A) yesterday for not buckling my child to car seat in California. I'm a Texas resident. Can I be given first offense fine reduction?

  • 4
    @pnuts It's an existing practice that first time offenders are given a somewhat lighter sentence in hopes that they may see the error of their ways and not do this again. But I have never seen it applied to traffic fines.
    – Karlson
    Sep 16 '16 at 16:39
  • Have you spoken to a lawyer?
    – Karlson
    Sep 16 '16 at 16:39
  • I second @Karlson and especially that it's in California and is a child-safety violation.
    – Giorgio
    Sep 16 '16 at 17:08
  • 1
    @pnuts see assessments in CA law in the answer
    – Giorgio
    Sep 16 '16 at 17:16
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is asking for legal advise for someone in his/her home country, maybe even home city.
    – Willeke
    Sep 16 '16 at 19:01

A reduction may be sought, according to California law

Responsibilities of the Courts

  • To charge the full fine unless the violator shows the court proof of economic disadvantage. The law does not permit the violator to bring a car seat to court or attend an education program in lieu of the fine.
  • To allocate the fine money collected for 27360 and 27360.5 to a special revenue fund that supports a program operated by the local city or county health department that provides education and low-cost car seats to needy families. According to the California State Controller, the fine money must be allocated to this special revenue fund, even if the violator attends Traffic Violator School to have the point removed from his or her record.
  • To refer certain violators to a violator education program that provides certification that the defendant has presented for inspection a child restraint that meets federal safety standards. If the fine is reduced or waived, the court must require any violator cited for V.C. 27360 or 27360.5 to show proof of attendance. If the fine is paid in full, the court may require participation in the program.
  • To charge one point for each violation of 27360 or 27360.5. The violation must be reported to the DMV, whether the fine is reduced, waived, or paid in full.
  • The fine for failing to properly secure any child under age 16 is $100 per child plus penalty assessments (almost $500 total).
  • The fine for a second or subsequent offense is $250 plus penalty assessments (over $1000).
  • 1
    @pnuts not at all; the assessments raise the cost to about $500, and I've included what grounds can be used to reduce such a fine. California makes it very, very difficult to reduce such a fine, as the OP is asking, as do many States, particularly in this type of violation.
    – Giorgio
    Sep 16 '16 at 17:45
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    @pnuts no problem; the courts are not inclined to be lenient when a child's safety is ignored; it may be the first time the person was ticketed, but possibly not the first time the child was not secured as the law requires.
    – Giorgio
    Sep 16 '16 at 23:12
  • when the fine is just $100 how the total penalty assessments go to $500 ? Sep 17 '16 at 17:57
  • I am fine to have the ticket on my history, as I dont have a car. I got this ticket using a rental car. I drive car may be twice or thrice an year and that too a rental car. When I consulted a California traffic attorney , he asked to $299 for his fee and if he wins the case I need not pay any fine to California. 80% of his cases he is able to reduce the fine. So is is advisable to consult a attorney where I could end up paying just $299 or simply pay the fee (if it comes out anything less than $300) Sep 17 '16 at 18:01

You should see if you can attend traffic school instead. This also drops the points from your license. It is, I believe, only for first-time offenses.

And please use a child seat.

  • I was wondering, in California, at what age (and/or weight?) is it OK for a child to not use a child seat, ie, to just sit in the normal seat with a seat belt?
    – Fattie
    Sep 16 '16 at 20:28
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    @pnuts Traffic school is an option you can request from the traffic court. "If you've received a traffic ticket, your California county traffic court may allow you to complete traffic school to dismiss the citation and avoid having points added to your driving record." However, in reviewing the details, it is available only to CA license holders. Maybe there is a similar program in Texas that the OP can use. Sep 16 '16 at 21:02
  • @JoeBlow Child seat if under 8 years and under 4-foot-9. Sep 16 '16 at 21:06
  • @JoeBlow and a for child older than 8/taller than 4'9", the seat belt has to fit properly with the lap belt low on the hips, touching the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest. If children are not tall enough for proper belt fit, they must ride in a booster or car seat.
    – Giorgio
    Sep 17 '16 at 18:01

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