The Cop Column
January, 2004
Sgt. Rick Hord
Public Information Officer

Who Gets the Money From Traffic Fines?

What happens to the money from traffic fines?

The answer is not simple.

State law specifies the distribution of every penny of your speeding ticket or other traffic fine.

Suppose you pay the fine for driving 53 miles per hour in a 35 zone. Here's what happens to that 155 dollars of your hard-earned money:

The 155 dollars includes court costs of 30 dollars. Of those 30 dollars, three dollars is set aside for a special trust fund, 92 percent of which is for Florida's Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission Trust Fund. The next 6.3 percent is for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Criminal Justice Grant Program. That leaves one-point-seven percent for the Department of Children and Family Services Domestic Violence Trust Fund.

Another two dollars of the court cost portion helps fund local law enforcement training programs, and another three dollars funds the Teen Court program.

After the court costs, one dollar is set aside for the Child Welfare Training Trust Fund, and one dollar for the Juvenile Justice Training Trust Fund.

Of the 125-dollars left on that ticket after court costs, 20.6-percent goes to the state's General Revenue Fund. Another 7.2-percent is designated for the Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund, and 5.1-percent gets cycled into the same trust fund with the first three dollars of the court costs (remember, the fund that goes 92-percent for the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission). That's $25.75, $9.00, and $6.375 out of that $155 ticket.

We're not done yet; 8.2-percent is earmarked for the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Trust Fund, two percent goes to the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Clerk of Courts who must handle all the paperwork gets one half of one percent . There goes another $10.25, $2.50, and 62-and-a-half cents.

We've now spent $84.50 of that $155 fine. The last $70.50, or 56.4-percent of the fine (after the court costs) is part of the Fine and Forfeiture revenue stream for the city or county in which the violation occurred. If a county Deputy or state Trooper stops a speeder within the city limits, that 56.4 percent of the fine goes to the city, not the county or state.

The Driver Improvement School option does not eliminate the fine, but it does reduce the fine by 18-percent. The 30 dollar court cost, however, remains unchanged.

The court costs may vary somewhat from one county to another, but the base amount of fines is set by state law: $15 for bicycle/pedestrian violations; $30 for non-moving violations; $60 for moving violations; $100 for failing to stop for a school bus, failure to pay a toll, or handicapped parking violations; and a graduated scale of $25. $100, $125, $150, or $250 for speeding. Those speeding fines (but not the court costs) are doubled in school zones and construction zones.