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6 Reader traffic fine questions answered by experts

2017-07-18 09:20

BETTER POLICING NEEDED: Effective traffic policing is key to curbing road deaths in SA. Image: iStock

Cape Town – Earlier in June 2017, Wheels24 published an article detailing types of traffic fines issued in SA.

Since then we’ve received many emails from readers requesting advice.

From court summons to contesting traffic fines, lawyers from legal firm Law For All, respond to our reader queries.

1 Reader: Contesting a fine in Cape Town 

"I would like to contest a fine that I received in Philippi, Cape Town. As I was about to approach the stop street, an officer pulled over the car in front of me, and I proceeded to drive past the car. Before I got to the stop street, another officer signalled that I should pull over." 

"I yielded at the stop and drove slowly. Without thinking, I didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop street - the traffic officer was only a metre away from the turn. He gave me a fine of R1500 for not stopping at the stop street. I explained that I didn’t stop because he signalled me to pull over. There were no other cars at the stop. I wouldn’t deliberately break the rules. I feel that it was unfair and a misunderstanding."

LawForAll: "Getting pulled over by a traffic officer can be a nerve-racking experience and being unreasonably fined increases stress and frustration. 

"While the law states that not obeying a traffic sign is illegal, signals by a traffic officer take precedence over any other traffic signal. 

"It sounds like you might have grounds to contest the fine as outlined in 'But I never speed – Understanding traffic fines in SA."

2 Reader: Fined for a vehicle I don’t own
"I keep getting fines for a vehicle I don’t own and have never owned. And I don’t know how it is linked to me. What do I do?"

LawForAll: "This is a somewhat of a tricky situation but our advice should steer you in the right direction.  Firstly, double check that the fines were sent to the correct address. 

"If it is specifically addressed to you, your first port of call would be to contact your local licensing authority to check if the vehicle in question is incorrectly registered in your name.  

"If so, you will need to prepare via an affidavit (a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence in court) that states that you are not the owner and never have been. Keep a copy for your records, and get the licensing authority to acknowledge receipt. This will be your proof should you ever be summoned to appear in court. 

"You can also use this evidence to contest any fines you receive. While you are your local licensing authority, ask if there is anything else they need from your side to rectify the situation. Hopefully, you will stop receiving fines soon."

Understanding traffic fines in SA.

Have you contested a traffic in fine in SA? Share your story with us here. 

3 Reader: Never received a court summons

"My husband received a notice to pay a fine of R300 for being in contempt of court. He forgot to pay a speeding fine and apparently a summons was sent. We have lived in the same house for 26 years, but we never received anything. 

"According to the Traffic Department’s records, he was served a summons, and that is what they are working with. He paid the fine and the additional R300, but I would like to find out how he can prove that he never received the summons in the first place."

LawForAll: "Sorry to hear that you had to fork out more money than you were hoping. You should know that there are different types of traffic fines in South Africa (eg the type you receive in the mail after being caught by a speed camera). 

"If you don’t pay the fine, a summons, stipulating a court date, will be served to you  at home or work. Then there’s the type of traffic fine you receive from a traffic officer who has pulled you over. 

"Unlike the first fine mentioned, there is no summons issued, and the ticket already indicates a trial date. If you don’t pay by the deadline, you will have to appear in court or be in contempt. Have a close look at what the original fine says.

"Keep in mind that if the summons were indeed served to your husband, a return of service would have been completed and forwarded to the court. There should be record of this and your husband has the right to request this. The return of service will indicate when, how and where the summons was served. 

"Hope that shines a bit of light on the situation for you and that you can get it resolved."

                                                                     Image: iStock

4 Reader: Transfer traffic fines

“Can I transfer traffic fines that I received while driving a car that is not registered in my name? Please help, I want to pay these fines as soon as possible.”

LawForAll: "Good on you! Paying fines that you are liable for, as early as possible, is the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, you cannot transfer fines to your name as they are made out to the registered owner of that particular vehicle. The best solution here is for you to pay the fines on the owner’s behalf.  

"Should you be the new owner, you need to transfer ownership from the vehicle title holder to yourself so that the car can be registered in your name, thus all fines incurred for the vehicle will be directed to you as the owner.”

5 Reader: ‘I didn’t receive notice of these fine’

"On Saturday morning, I went to the post office to pay a traffic fine that I incurred for speeding. I paid the ‘discount’ price of R500.

"I was handed the receipt of payment attached to the actual fine notice.  I was then presented with another receipt that stated ‘List of Outstanding Traffic Fines’ and contained four fines I received this year. I didn’t receive notice of these fines. Do I contest or just pay them?” 

LawForAll: "You sound like a responsible citizen, so we can understand that this is weighing on your mind. The fact that you didn’t receive notification of the fines could be due to mere circumstance; the ticket blowing off your window or getting delayed/ lost in the mail.  

"Ask the traffic department for more info about the fines and, if necessary, to see photographs, etc. Of course, you can choose to pay these outstanding fines, or you can challenge the fines if you feel you they were unfairly issued. For more on challenging fines, read: “But I never speed – Understanding traffic fines in SA."

6 Reader: Warrant of arrest

"We tried to renew our car license and was told that there was a warrant for arrest against my husband; therefore, no licence can be issued. We went to the traffic department and were told to pay almost R1000. 

"What bugs me is that we never received or signed for any warrant. How do we prove this was never sent? Can I request to see proof of receipt?"

LawForAll: "Unfortunately, there is no way to renew a licence disk while there is a warrant for your arrest. 

"We’re not sure what type of traffic offence was committed nor the circumstances, but by the sound of things, you were supposed to appear in court but didn’t. This failure would be seen as being in contempt of court and the Magistrate requires that you appear in court to answer to the contempt of court charge as well as the merits of the fine. 

"Head to the traffic department and ask to see the original fine and warrant that was issued. Visit the court that issued the order and speak to the Prosecutor who deals with traffic fines. You can explain that you didn’t receive notice to appear in court. Trust us. This happens a lot. You will probably have to pay the fine to get the warrant cancelled.

"Please resolve the issue as quickly as possible. If you get pulled over, you run the risk of being arrested for having a warrant against your name. If this happens, please demand to see the warrant as the police can only arrest you if they can supply the original or a copy of the warrant. If they can’t produce it, then the arrest would be illegal. 

"The Traffic Department and Prosecutor will be able to answer any questions that might pop up."

Read more on:    law for all  |  traffic fines

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