Have you received a notice that you have traffic fines to pay? Do you plan to pay it or contest it in court? Doing nothing is not an option once the fine has been delivered, though you can claim non-delivery of a fine notice sent through the post. If you've got traffic fines, then you're going to have to do something, and we're here to tell you exactly what. So if you're worried about those traffic fines, read on!
Postal vs. Officer Issued Traffic Fines
Section 341 notices to pay fines are sent through the post because these are issued automatically (usually because a speeding camera caught you) rather than by a police officer handing the driver a notice. There is no proof of delivery because these notices are just sent out by ordinary post. You can pretend the fine never arrives, but you do need to be prepared to be arrested when your case comes up in court and you are not there to argue your case because an arrest warrant is automatically issued in these circumstances.
Section 56 notices are given to the driver for moving traffic offences, so saying you never received the notice is not an option. A policeman actually hands you the ticket, so there's no getting out of it at all!
Obviously, you don't want to get arrested, so once you've received your traffic fine, then what do you need to do next?
Checking Traffic Fines
Your first step should be checking up on those traffic fines. You can check traffic fines you’re liable for on the AARTO website, and it's a good idea to do this regularly in case any postal fine notices really have been lost. Checking every few weeks will help you to avoid the unpleasantness of being arrested, handcuffed and taken in the back of a police car like a common criminal!
If you have a Section 341 speeding fine you can check the photo that will be used as evidence of your alleged speeding offence in court. If you have a deep pocket for legal fees you can contest any fine when your court hearing comes up, but morally, if you have broken the law, perhaps you should just pay up and learn your lesson. Paying up is certainly the lower stress option for most of us!
You might not be able to remember the occasion of the speeding offence, but if you have been caught on camera that is going to be pretty conclusive to the court. If you weren’t driving the vehicle at the time and you have been issued with a fine as the owner then just say who was driving it and your troubles will hopefully disappear.
Paying Traffic Fines
You can either pay the fine using one of the methods below, or you can contest the fine in court, but ignoring the notice is always unwise. Most fines (approximately 80%) are not paid, even though the government has put many alternative payment arrangements into place and you no longer need to queue up at your local traffic department. However, the possible consequences of not paying traffic fines are tough enough that you really should pay up.
Your available payment options include:
Pay fines online through your internet banking interface, if you have a First National Bank (FNB) or Associated Banks of South Africa (ABSA) online banking account. Select ‘Pay Fines’, enter the 16 digit code on the fine notice, select the account you are paying with and confirm;
You can also pay at an ATM or over the counter at any FNB or ABSA bank. You will need the original fine notice in order to do this;
Pay over the counter at any South African Post Office (SAPO). Just hand over the fine notice and your cash;
Pick ‘n’ Pay Stores, Shopright Checkers, Lewis, Boxer, Spar, Engen Quickshops and some Woolworth’s stores all allow you to pay in cash if you have the original notice of a fine with you;
Pay traffic fines online at the AARTO website, paying through your bank account;
At your local traffic department with cash and your fine notification, but be prepared to wait in a queue.
Problems Paying Traffic Fines
You may have problems with peculiar error messages, especially on the AARTO site, if you are trying to pay more than one fine in quick succession. If this is the case, try again, but if the AARTO website is down (which it often is) using another payment method will probably be faster.
Paying Traffic Fines in Conclusion
The easiest way to not pay traffic fines is simply to drive more carefully. Watch your speed, because you never know when there'll be a policeman around the next corner, or a speed camera. In the event that you do get traffic fines, don't ignore the notice that you receive. If you feel that the fine is unfair, you can contest traffic fines. But in the long run, particularly if the fine is a small one, it's usually cheaper and faster just to pay up.
Main Subject: traffic fines
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