Caught speeding? Here's what you pay for in court costs

11:40 AM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The typical speeding ticket in Cleveland costs a driver $55.  But, it's the tagged-on court costs that can sting -- they start at $140.

And those fees are required whether you waive your court appearance or not. Where does it all go?

"There are all these buckets that have been established," says Clerk of Courts spokesperson Obie Shelton. "Every little bit of money goes into these buckets that pay for law enforcement, for different kinds of things."

Channel 3 News reviewed the list.  Among the things speeders pay for:

  • $20 goes to the City of Cleveland's Indigent Defense Support Fund
  • $9 goes to the State of Ohio Victim of Crime Fund
  • $5 goes to the Cuyahoga County regional Information System

Drivers we met can't quite understand how things that have nothing to do with traffic are being funded by traffic offenders.

"That is ridiculous, it doesn't make any sense," said driver Dorothy Williams. "How does the indigent defense fund have anything to do with speeding?"

"I don't understand how you still have to pay the court fees if you waive your court appearance," said Warrio Bernard.

"City council, a couple decades ago, passed a law that said the city can collect this money from you, whether or not you waive your court appearance," Shelton said.

The $55 fine goes to the city, if a city police officer pulled you over. It goes to the State of Ohio if a Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper nabbed you.

Traffic cameras are exempt from these kinds of court costs because they are considered civil infractions, not criminal.

In Cleveland, they typically come with a flat $100 fine.


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