Study Finds There May Be More to Traffic Tickets Than Breaking the Law

Police officer pulling someone over for a traffic violation.
  • Dec 9 2019

Have you ever felt as though you were targeted for a ticket based upon how you look? If so, you may just be right. According to a study published in the March 2019 SAGE journal, it was determined that cities with a larger black population depend upon fines for revenue, fining residents more on a per capita basis. According to the study, which examined race, representation, and revenue, a one percent increase among the black population equated to a five percent increase in per capita revenue from fines, as well as a one percent increase in the share of total revenue. 

The study examined how these fines varied on the amount of crime and the level of public safety, budgetary stress, and racial composition of both the law enforcement agency and the population. Looking at a sample of 93 cities in California from 2009 to 2014, it was found that cities that appeared to rely the most on fines for revenue had among the highest number of black residents and a law enforcement presence whiter than its community. In fact, black drivers are 20 percent more likely to be ticketed when pulled over for speeding than white drivers.


One of the reasons for these findings has to do with traffic tickets and civil asset forfeiture, as these impact law enforcement behavior. In much of the same manner, government agencies that better represent the gender and racial makeup of their communities proved a decrease in the number of undesirable outcomes. 

Unfortunately, it is of little surprise that many studies have found minority residents and communities of color more regularly receive punishment for their actions than their white counterparts. Additionally, cities with a black population of at least 10 percent that were served by a disproportionately whiter law enforcement presence rely 60 percent more on fines as a source of revenue. 

Policing for Profit

One option for decreasing these negative findings is to eliminate the incentives currently in existence for law enforcement to bring in ticketing revenue. This situation, commonly referred to as “policing for profit,” takes the money made from these tickets and puts it back into the budget of law enforcement. Additionally, other things that can be considered to help the situation include taking state money and redistributing it locally, or electing more people of color and more ethnic minorities into important positions. 

It is extremely important to clarify that this does not mean that all law enforcement is racist. This is certainly not the case. However, what it does mean is that the data proves a correlation between race and traffic ticketing. 

The Cheap Traffic Attorneys Help Those in California Who Have Been Issued a Traffic Ticket

The Cheap Traffic Attorneys’ skilled Traffic Ticket Attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help individuals dealing with a criminal traffic violation. If you believe that you have been issued a ticket on the basis of race or another protected class, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced traffic ticket attorney. The California traffic ticket attorneys at Cheap Traffic Attorneys can help. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

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