Pay your traffic fines or face contempt charges
With the start of the Easter weekend looming there is little doubt the traffic authorities will be out in force to try and curtail the number of road fatalities. During these traffic blitzes thousands of traffic fines are issued and no doubt a few locals will be on the receiving end of a speeding ticket or failing to stop at a stop street. St Francis Today has received a few letters over over the past month or so from locals complaining or commenting on the brush with law for not paying tickets and being marched off to the nearest ATM to make good on their responsibility.
St Francis Today decided to follow this up and made contact with the Traffic Inspectorate to clarify the matter. It really is quite simple, if you receive a ticket for a moving violation and are issued a ticket, that ticket will have a fine amount with a date by which the fine must be paid as well as a date for a court appearance, if you decide not to pay the fine. So the choice is yours, pay the fine or go to court.
But, and here is the important part, if you do not pay and you do not appear in court to defend the action, the court will issue a warrant of arrest. Now don’t go blaming or besmirching the traffic officers or the SA Police if they catch up with you for all they are doing is carrying out an order of the court – a warrant for your arrest. In fact be thankful that they accompany you to an ATM to draw the money to pay for your indiscretion for they are quite entitled to march you off to the nearest jail cell for you are after all, in contempt.
This action only applies to tickets which are handed to you in person as you are deemed to have been ‘served’. In cases where you receive a parking ticket or speeding tickets captured on speed cameras, these are not usually served on you but rather you would receive these in the post and not been served on you in person and would require a summons to be raised in the matter. In this case the summons has to be served on you in person. Once you receive that summons it again will have a fine amount with a ‘pay by date’ or an alternative date to appear in court should you wish to contest the fine. Ignore this and the result will be the same and you are likely be arrested for contempt of court.
To avoid the embarrassment and indignity of being accompanied to the ATM by a couple of uniformed policemen as well as having an extra R200 added to your fine for contempt of court rather pay the fine or make sure you appear in court on the date specified. Peace officers are there in your best interests so rather respect the law and don’t curse the officers for simply doing their job. We are all equal in the eyes of tha law ……. well most of us!