Question posted in the General Law category relating to Western Cape
We were pulled over last night on our way home just after 9 pm which means we were outside of the curfew times. We explained that we are running late and on our way home which is only 5 minutes away.
My wife received and written notice to appear in court (Section 56) with an admission of guilt of R1500.
Do we pay? Do we wait for the court date? We explained that we are running late and was under the impression that we have an grace to get home.
I have also noticed that the notice does not have any time written on it as to when the offence took place. Only a date.
What are our next steps?
Information Requested by Lawyer
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Answer to the Question
Hi again Dwayne,
Okay, so the easiest way to make this all go away is to pay the admission of guilt fine. You would be pleading guilty to the offence, but you would not need to appear in court. You would also be pleading guilty to breaking a regulation, which is very different to pleading guilty to a criminal offence like murder.
If fingerprints were not taken from you, and if there was no docket opened, then this wouldn't appear on your official SAPS criminal record.
Pleading guilty to this is much the same as pleading guilty to speeding. It essentially has the same effect.
However, if you wanted to challenge the notice, you could do so, but you would need to wait for the summons to arrive (with the court date) and you would then need to appear in court, and then fight the matter in court. Given that the notice doesn't contain the TIME that you were pulled over, I think that there are good grounds to argue that the notice is either defective, or that you could have been pulled over at 20h59, and the officer's watch was running 5 minutes fast - so you actually were not breaking the regulations.
Remember, the state needs to prove the case against you beyond all reasonable doubt, so if there is no time written on it, there is surely reasonable doubt as to what time you were pulled over?
But that means a fight in court, with all of the normal delays and postponements associated with a court fight.
It really does come down to what you have an appetite for. If you admit that you were caught outside during the curfew, and you want it to go away, then pay. Otherwise fight!
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Information provided by client
They only give us the fine with the court date on it and a R1000 fine amount that we could by before the court date.
I am worried that if we pay the fine we admit guilt and then have a criminal record. They did not take fingerprints
Are you saying we will not have the risk of criminal record?
Answer to the Question
"I am worried that if we pay the fine we admit guilt and then have a criminal record. They did not take fingerprints" --> I understand why this is a concern, but it is not a reality. Especially since fingerprints were not taken.
Q: Are you saying we will not have the risk of criminal record? --> I can't guarantee that you won't have a criminal record, but in my experience, and from what I've heard from other attorneys, you won't get a criminal record because fingerprints were not taken.