Foreign Speeding and Parking Fines

Paying Speeding and Parking Fines from Abroad

As more countries fall prey to the scourge of the speed camera, and local authorities realise that unsuspecting visitors are a great source of income, more and more travellers are incurring fines for minor traffic offences whilst driving abroad.

This is demonstrated by the large number of comments and questions at the foot of the page. In fact, and please accept my apologies for this, I’ve had to close comments on the page. I was receiving literally hundreds of questions a day on a huge range of topics, and I’m not a lawyer, so was struggling to give accurate advice.  Hopefully the detail below, gathered from a variety of sources will help you decide how to deal with your traffic related charge.

‘On the spot’ fines handed out by police officers are one problem (see my advice on dealing with the police abroad), but a fine received either by post or via your car rental company when you return home is becoming more common. The chances of your holiday transgression following you home depend largely on where the offence was committed, and the vehicle you were driving.

Traveller’s forums on the internet are awash with contradictory anecdotes on what happens if you incur a fine but don’t pay. The following advice is based on anecdotal evidence from a variety of sources and some personal contacts, rather than my own experience, and therefore should be treated as guidance rather than being 100% accurate. The wide range of questions asked (see foot of page) shows the amount of confusion on this subject. I’m not a legal expert so can only guess at likely outcomes. My advice is to do your own research on sites such as this before making a decision on whether to pay a fine. All that is certain on this subject is that there are huge disparities between countries, and even states within countries on policy and this seems to be constantly changing.

Also, this info covers minor traffic offences such as speeding fines or parking tickets. For more serious offences, certainly any involving death, injury or serious damage, its likely you would be pursued with the full weight of the law to the point of extradition.

Key points from many hours research –
•    The approach to pursuing fines incurred by foreigners varies by country.
•    If you were in a rental car, they will pass on your details to the authorities.
•    The rental company may get hit with the charge and MAY be able to pass it onto you and potentially even charge your credit card. I’ve also now seen evidence that rental companies are applying a handling charge of up to $50 /40 Euros for any fines passed to them.
•    Rental company terms /policy vary by company and country.
•    I have seen no definite evidence that unpaid traffic offences are visible to immigration officials in any country. I have been unable to find any link between driving licence and passport so unless your passport details were recorded at the time of the offence, or by the rental company, its unlikely any country would have the capability or resource to link the two.
•    Police officers may have visibility of outstanding fines previously incurred in their country, and most definitely will in their own specific state/region.

More detail per Region-

Europe
Some European countries seem to have an evangelistic hatred of speeding. For instance,  Norway applies fine of up to 10% of annual income and possibly jail and Iceland has fines up to $2700 . Italian Cities are also notorious for complex disc systems in City Centres which tourists are unaware of, until they return home to a ticket.

The law is also catching up with European drivers who routinely evade fines incurred abroad. In 2011 the EU passed a bill stating that EU Member States will have to provide details of the driver or holder of the vehicle registration certificate to the authorities of the country where the offence took place. This will enable them to send the offender a registered letter informing him/her of the offence committed as well as any punishment due, appeal procedures and legal consequences. Any fine and payment method will be based on the law of the state where the offence occurred.

The law is backed by a body called Eucaris (European Car and Driving Licence Information System) which has been operational since 1994. The Eucaris system is used as an information sharing service, developed by and for the vehicle licencing authorities with the authorities acting as the point of contact in each country to streamline communications, instead of a mass of connections between different European registration authorities, police, customs etc. Therefore , any offence committed in an EU state will result in the owner of the vehicle receiving the fine, though obviously in many cases that will be the car rental company (see below).

USA
There are a whole load of urban myths surrounding unpaid traffic fines and entry to the USA, such as visitors being refused entry at immigration. Its difficult to separate absolute truth from fiction, and obviously the authorities won’t publicise their policy in case it causes people to evade payment.

However, my understanding is –
•    For minor traffic offences, there is no link to the immigration process. It’s unlikely an officer who stops you for speeding will record your passport number and without this link to your licence, it would be impossible for US immigration to identify you as the non- fine payer. Rental companies often photocopy passports but in spite of persistent internet rumours, I’ve seen no definite evidence of a rental company providing passport details to the authorities which later impact a visitors future immigration status.
•    The  main chance of a prior offence coming back to haunt you is if you don’t pay a fine, then get stopped again in the same US State you committed the offence in. In that case, you will be likely to have to pay the fine in cash on the spot. If you fail to do so, a night in the County jail could well be on the cards…
•    If stopped for another offence in a different state, it’s possible, but unlikely, that your previous offence may show up to the officer. Most states share data on offences with other states via the Driver License Compact (DLC), signed by 45 states plus the District of Columbia. (Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin are not DLC members. However, receiving a ticket in one of these states does not guarantee that it will not be reported to other  states. ) The officer would have to carry out a national check of the full database to identify an offence committed in another state.
•     As in Europe, if you don’t pay, the fine may well land with the car rental company who would then try and pass it on to you. If they fail to do so, you may find that you are blacklisted when you try to rent from them again. Again there are unqualified reports of rental companies sharing data with each other though I have yet to see this proved.
•    Canadians committing offences in the USA and vice versa are more likely to be pulled up on re-entry using the same vehicle, especially in border states such as New York. Canada is particularly strict on serious traffic offences and may refuse you entry if you have serious convictions such as DUI.
•    Also, the Driver License Agreement, combines the Driver License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact and includes Canada and Mexico meaning residents of those countries can be prosecuted and banned in their own nations for offences committed in USA.

Australia
As in USA, most States share information and pass on fines and charges. Therefore unpaid fines from Australian drivers incurred in other states will be passed on and will result in further action if unpaid. For unpaid fines issued to foreign drivers, a local decision will be taken on what further action to take. In many cases, this will be nothing, though I have heard of (unconfirmed) reports of a UK debt collection agency being engaged to recover an Australian fine.
When an offence is recorded, an infringement notice will be issued in the full name (as recorded on the drivers licence) and date of birth of the driver.This is later entered into the Police Central Names Index (CNI) and  the National Names Index (NNI). Your main problem in future, if you fail to pay, is if you get stopped for another offence when back in Australia. If in the same State and the officer checks the CNI, then your name will appear. If you’re unlucky and in a different state, and he checks the NNI, then your details will appear with an outstanding fine which you will be likely to have to pay in cash on the spot.

Reciprocal Agreements
Some countries have reciprocal agreements where points and endorsements incurred abroad or in neighbouring states carry over to the home nation –

Australia The Australian States and Territories have all passed legislation regarding the recognition of demerit points and licence suspensions in other states/territories.

Canada Canadian Driver License Compact which is similar to the US Driver License Compact. Also The Driver License Agreement covers Mexico, Canada and Mexico and means that any offence committed in those countries can be prosecuted in the offender’s home nation.

European Union Information is shared as stated above but at present the EU is still developing conventions for the mutual recognition and enforcement of penalties for road traffic offences and driver disqualifications by the jurisdictions of member countries.

France France has an agreement with Switzerland for recognition of licence points and suspension and is working on agreements with other countries, especially the UK.

UK A single driver registration system applies to both England and Wales and Scotland; driving disqualifications and penalty points apply immediately in both jurisdictions. There is mutual recognition of driving disqualifications with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Mexico  The Driver License Agreement covers Mexico, Canada and Mexico and means that any offence committed in those countries can be prosecuted in the offender’s home nation.

Northern Ireland The driver registration system of Northern Ireland has mutual recognition of driving disqualifications with the system in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

Republic of Ireland The Republic of Ireland has mutual recognition of driving disqualifications with Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

USA Driver License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact cover out of state offences. The Driver License Agreement, a new compact combines the Driver License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact and includes Canada and Mexico.

Fines incurred in Rental Cars
How Rental companies deal with offences committed in their vehicles varies by company and country and is affected by that country’s law and whether they will end up being liable for the fine. In some countries, the driver of a vehicle is liable for ‘moving offences’ so the rental company can just pass on your details and not incur the fine themselves. However, it may be that the owner of the vehicle is liable for parking offences so they will always be landed with the fine. The rules vary by country –what is clear is that the company won’t want to be left holding the bill!

The policy per company and country should be stated somewhere in the terms and conditions when you make the reservation. (It may be hidden though- some companies only make their policy available on request)

This clause from Europcar is an example of the terms and conditions which cover this-
You must take care of the Vehicle, keep it in good repair and condition, pay any fines for which you may be liable, reimburse Europcar for any damage to the Vehicle, and refund Europcar for any costs it incurs. You are liable for all fees, taxes, fines and penalties incurred in connection with the use of the Vehicle and for which Europcar is charged, unless they have arisen through the fault of Europcar.
You will be liable for any offence committed during the rental period which relates in any way to your use of the Vehicle, as if you were the owner of the Vehicle. Upon the request of the Police or any official body Europcar may have to transfer your personal data. Such transfer will be done in accordance with the data protection Laws of the country of rental.

If you ignore a fine issued to you, and the authorities pass it on to the rental company, its unlikely they could charge your credit card after the event with the amount, unless their terms specifically state this. It’s more likely that they will continually harass you, until you pay, and if you don’t you will most certainly be blacklisted by that company. There are rumours of a shared blacklist amongst rental companies though I have seen no evidence of this. What is certain is that if the rental company incurs a charge and has to chase you, they will certainly impose an admin fee on top of the fine.

If you rented from a small company in the developing world, they too will try and pass on your details to the authorities. In many countries though, the police will lack the resources to chase payment beyond international boundaries and will simply fine the rental company. These rental companies will also probably bombard you with emails and phone calls chasing their money, but unless you intend to return to their country and use their services again, the ‘blacklist’ threat obviously has less impact. Bear in mind though that what may be a small amount to you could have a sizeable impact on a small rental company in the developing world. Better in my opinion to pay the fine than have that on your conscience.

Challenging Fines
Most countries have specific rules under which tickets can be issued, and most have a time limit which you may find has elapsed due to delays in responses from the rental company etc. It’s well worth a google search for details of the specific rules for the country you have received the fine from, to see if you can find any grounds to challenge it.

Also, you could try and make use of legislation. For example the EU has numerous rules around the rights of foreigners charged with offences abroad .Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees everyone who has been charged with a criminal offence the following minimum rights:

Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

If you believe you’ve identified a loophole, you may want to try replying to the fine challenging on that point. For instance it could be argued that a speeding ticket, which reaches you 6 months after the offence and is written in a foreign language, breaches point A.

You could ask for details on how to apply for Legal aid, or how you contact the interpretor before you attend court.

Another tactic I’ve heard of is to contact the authority who issued the fine , say you wish to appeal against it and intend to appear in court. However, you want written confirmation that if you’re found not guilty, the court will cover your travel costs.

Obviously these are all stalling tactics, but will test the resolve of the authority to prosecute you. It could be that they have a policy of not pursuing, or waiving, any cases which look like it may end up taking up more resource, cost and time than the fine warrants.

What happens if you don’t pay?
That’s the million dollar question, to which there is no definite answer.
The likelihood of the non payment coming back to haunt you increases with each of the following factors –
•    You were in a developed nation, especially one with reciprocal links to yours
•    You were in a rental car from one of the big international companies
•    The fine was significant
•    You intend to revisit that country, especially the same State /area
•    You intend to rent a car again from the same company

Some countries have a more stringent approach than others. I’ve heard a number of stories of New Zealand authorities employing debt collection agencies abroad to pursue fines for instance. I’ve also heard of some European countries ,especially in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe checking the licences of drivers in foreign registered cars crossing their borders for outstanding fines.

If you believe that none of the above factors apply, it’s probably safe to assume that the consequences of non payment will be no more than a few postal demands for the cash. (Bear in mind thought that if the fine is left with a small local company, it may inflict more damage on them than it would on you) .

You will also always have a nagging doubt hanging over you about future consequences if you had to return to that country. Therefore if the fine is for a manageable amount, my advice would be to pay the fine, and put the ticket on your notice board to remind you not to get caught breaking the law next time you drive abroad!.

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81 comments


  1. alfredo

    Hello,I m living in Italy at the moment,Sicily, and I d like to know if I will get back in the Uk 2 parking fines.
    Please let me know asap.

    Thanks

    Alfredo

  2. Jpx

    Hi, I got a speeding ticket on a friends car in the uk. I myself am living in the Republic of Ireland. He’s received the letter to which he has replied with with my irish address, so I’m expecting the fine soon. What would happen if it’s ignored?
    Thanks

    • Driver Abroad

      I’m assuming you have an Irish licence? There is mutual recognition of driving disqualifications between UK and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, meaning bans in one of those countries apply to the others. Also Mutual recognition of penalty points between the UK, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man already exists, though my understanding of that is that if you hold both a UK and Irish licence, the points could ‘tot up’ across both. There seems to be a lot of contradictory evidence on travel forums on this but the consensus seems to be that there is no way of transferring a UK fine or points at present if you only have an Irish licence. If you apply for a UK Licence though it may be that your details are held on record and you are then given the points (though I find that hard to believe personally). I’d be interested to hear what happens if you don’t pay the fine…

  3. Smith Mark

    Hello, I was visiting the UK from the US and got a speed ticket, i was driving a friends car without been insured on the car, the car was for my friend and i drove his car without his consent. and now they sent him a speed ticket. what do you advice of this?

    • Driver Abroad

      The defence that the owner of the vehicle didnt know who was driving it at the time of the offence is a well used one (Ex soccer boss Alex Ferguson once used this defence and tried to get points put on a minor club employee). The response from the authorities varies as stated on this site http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/speeding-defences-2/. They offer some good ideas of how your friend should respond.

      However, given that there is no chance of the points or fine being transferred to you, if I was him, I’d just provide your details in the USA. The worst that will happen, if you don’t pay is that you may get arrested if you get stopped by the police next time you’re in the UK. (As stated above, no border controls are likely to pull you as you enter the country for unpaid traffic fines).

      Let me know how you get on..

  4. Amendine

    Hello,
    I have recieved a huge fine in Australia for a seatbelt not fasten 6 months ago. It seems that the offence has not gone (yet?) to the renting company however the austalien governement is now sending an intention to enforce (licence suspension) letter in my home country, Switzerland. I have a swiss licence and an international one. What are my risks if I do not pay?
    Many thanks for your advices

    • Driver Abroad

      Hi Amendine- do you mean a suspension of licence in Australia? I’ve heard of the Australian authorities pursuing fines via local debt collection agencies but I’ve never heard of them (or any other country) trying to enforce a driving ban on a foreign national in their own nation. I very much doubt that would be possible given different laws in countries etc. I think if you don’t pay the risks are largely if you intend to travel to Australia again. I’ve never seen evidence of border controls being able to access any database relating to traffic offences, but if you were stopped by the police they would realise you had outstanding fines and would probably arrest you on the spot and you’d have to pay up before being released. If you never intend to go to Australia again,I doubt they could legally pursue you to the point of seizing goods etc if you don’t pay. I’d also be surprised if they could impose a fine on the car rental company as it was a seat belt offence which should relate to the person rather than the vehicle.

      As you can see from other posts, its never certain what will happen in these cases, but I’d be surprised if they could take legal action against you in Switzerland.

      Matthew

  5. Ashley

    Hi,
    I’ve been living in the UK for 18 months but still have an Australian licence. My car is registered to me at my UK address. I have been flashed a couple of times – once a 14 months ago and the other time three months ago – how do I find out if I have incurred a fine? Would they send it to my Australian licence address or the car-registered-under-my-name address?
    Looking forward to your expertise!

  6. M

    Hi, I was on vacation in the UK over Christmas and somehow managed to venture in to the congestion zone of London twice in a rental car. The rental company passed my Canadian address to the authorities and they have issued me two separate fines.

    Firstly, what is likely to happen if I don’t pay the fine? Would they sell the debt on to a Canadian debt collection company? Am I likely to experience problems when I return to the UK this Christmas?

    Thanks!

    • Driver Abroad

      As regards to passing the debt to a collection company in your country – I have heard of that happening, particularly for fines incurred in Australia and New Zealand so it is possible but probably unlikely -i’ve never heard of the UK authorities doing that. Your main problem in returning to UK is if you get stopped by the police again -if you have unpaid fines that may show against your name and you could be arrested. Also if renting a car the previous rental company may have shared your info if they are landed with the unpaid fine. If you return to UK regularly I’d pay the fines to avoid future worry.

  7. Ross

    Hi ,

    I was caught speeding in the Republic of Ireland yesterday, resident in NI with uk license. It was a speed camera van and the man took a picture of my car as I drove by, 85kmh in 60kmh zone.

    I hear that as of 1/1/15 the points system will interlink north and south of the border, am I safe to say I won’t get points on my license?

    If I get a letter then should I pay the fine or will that be admitting the offence? I’ll happily pay as long as i don’t get the points!

    • Driver Abroad

      As far as I’m aware there isnt a system at present to impose fines across the Irish border though there is a reciprocal agreement on disqualifications. As you say, there is a plan to introduce this in 2015 though. If you drive in Ireland regularly and don’t pay the fine and get stopped again,a police check may show the outstanding fine and you could be arrested and made to pay the fine in cash or even held until a court appearance if you have multiple offonces.

  8. Michal

    Hi,

    I drive a car with czech number plate in UK and got parking charge notice yesterday. What happens if ignored?

    Cheers

    • Driver Abroad

      As the car is registered in the Czech Republic, the UK authorities are unlikely to be able to trace you. News reports recently in the Daily Telegraph confirm this –

      A foreign driver is let off a speeding ticket every six minutes in Britain because speed camera bosses can’t be bothered to chase them up, shocking new figures have revealed.

      Tens of thousands of foreign drivers dodged a total of nearly £5 million in speeding tickets last year.

      Police and the speed camera authorities are turning a blind eye to the overseas ‘rogue’ drivers and throwing their speeding tickets ‘in the bin’, they admit.

      Its worth noting that if you move to UK, by law you have to register your vehicle here within 6 months and get UK plates, to prevent this happening.

  9. placebo

    Hello,
    I am currently living in Norway as a foreign student. I’ve been here with my car for less than a week, but plan to use it a lot in the coming 6 months or so. The car is on EU-member plates. 2 days ago I received a 800 NOK parking ticket for parking overnight in what was apparently a reserved spot, despite the whole street being completely empty. The ticket has my car’s registration number, but I’m fairly certain the nationality on it is wrong, as it is the same as the international abbreviation for another country (not the one the car is registered in).
    What would be the risks of not paying the fine and do the Norwegian authorities have access to EU vehicle registration information?

    Just a heads up to non Scandinavian registered cars in Norway: the road toll system in Norway is automatic, the locals have a tracking device fitted to their cars and are billed automatically. If no such device is fitted to a car, a picture is taken and the owner eventually receives a bill. Apparently in countries not using the same automatic pay-as-you-go system, the bill is hardly ever delivered as there is too much work for the authorities. The Norwegians offer a “visitors pass” for foreign registered cars which I have already signed up for, but apparently if you’re not going to be using the Norwegian toll roads much and do not have a car registered in Scandinavia, there’s a way around paying the admittedly high tolls.

    • Driver Abroad

      I’m not sure about Norway specifically but the situation in most countries is that foreign registered vehicles are generally ignored for minor offences. It simply isnt worth the authorities going to the trouble of trying to trace the registered address when they have no real ability to penalise the drive if the fine isnt paid.

  10. Bea

    Sorry, I had a message here but it has disappeared so I will write again, although this may be more condensed.
    I got a ticket for driving uninsured in Canada on a Dutch license in a car registered in my name. I left the country without paying as I sold the car and have no intention of living or driving in Canada again.
    I have now received a fine to my address in the Netherlands. Would there be any consequences to traveling to Canada or legal ramifications to continuing to not pay this fine?
    Thank you.

    • Driver Abroad

      Never certain Bea, but if you’re not travelling to Canada again its highly unlikely the Canadian government could pursue the fine in Netherlands. If you are travelling to Canada again and were stopped by the police you would probably be arrested and held until the fine was paid.

  11. Seb

    Hi about 3 months ago I was travelling in New Zealand and was caiught without my seatbelt on. About 2 months ago a find was sent to my home address here in England I decided to ignore it with not planning to return to NZ in the near future. I have just recieved a notice of court fine with threats of bailiffs or suspension of my licence. Just wondering if they would actually follow any of these through with me being in the uk and having a English licence. Also at the time of the offence I wasn’t even the one driving do surely my licence has nothing to do with it.
    Cheers

    • Driver Abroad

      I’ve heard that before Seb ie NZ authorities engaging a UK based debt collection agency to puruse a fine.I’m pretty sure they have no juristiction over your UK licence and can’t enforce any penalties on that but if the debt has been passed to a UK agency they may be able to follow it up in civil courts. If I were you, I’d reply, challenging the fine and see if the hassle factor causes them to give up on it.

  12. Shank

    HI, I am from India. I have been travelling for businesses (week to 2 weeks) to UK on a valid work permit between Jun 2012 to May 201313 last year. During this time, I never lived in UK to be called a foreign resident.
    In May 2013, I came to Uk and started living as a foreign resident till now. I have not got a UK driving license yet. I will be applying for one now. I have now got a speeding ticket.
    My question is
    1)From when is the 12 month period within which you need to apply for a driving license commence from – June 2012 or May 2013?
    2) If its June 2012, what are the implications now
    3) If its May 2013, what impact does the speeding ticket have on the license that I am about to apply?

    Eagerly wait for your expertise and reply.

    • Driver Abroad

      Shank – my understanding is you can drive on your own licence for 12 months from your last entry into UK, therefore 12 months from June 12.Therefore if your offence was after June 12, it could be that you’re charged with driving without an appropriate licence. This would become apparent if you’re asked to send your licence away to have points added and don’t have a UK licence. However, I’m not sure how the authorities would know when your last entry into the UK was. I’m really not sure of the answer on this I’m afraid and would probably recommend getting some legal advice.

      • Sarah

        Hi good page, here is my experience from driving abroad, I am actually a careful driver, drive a small car in the UK and don’t intentionally speed as want to get home to the family, though I have picked up quite a few fines over the years, here’s what I have done, not paid most of them as well its a tax for things that don’t matter.

        Belgium 8 years ago, had 3 parking fines in my UK registered car, were only 15euro each, I was there a few months with work and never paid them and went home no problems and been back to Belgium no problems.

        Spain 7 years ago, had a hire car and got 4 parking fines in 1 week outside the hostel we staying in, were 80 euros each, didn’t pay them, went home and been back to Spain no problems.

        UK, 6 years ago, parked in one of those privately owned car parks, I was being sensible, left my car there and got the train home as was at a work party and had a few drinks, police called the next day saying it would be towed in the next hour, so I went and picked it up, have a £60 fine, I was beside the space of my companies car park so just missed my company car park by about 4 feet, I called them up but only had a pay over the phone line, no appeal number though I wrote a letter and didn’t put my address on it and left my phone number, never heard back and sold the car.

        Qatar, rented a car and got a speeding fine 3 months later, my credit card was charged so I cancelled it with the credit card company as didn’t get any details of the speed etc. Didn’t like Qatar so wont go back anyway.

        Australia, 7 years ago, had a parking fine for being parked the wrong way at midnight during a storm in a remote town, that rule doesn’t exist in the UK. Also got a few speeding fines, were like 5km over the speed, 105kph in a 100kph zone; I am sure I wasn’t speeding, they were very expensive something like £120 each so I just ignored them, I know I got an infringement warrant issued against me but entered and left Australia a few times, it was in a rental car so not heard back. They expire after 5 years due to statue of limitations, they fine for anything there, puts me off going back. I got one when I entered the first time as I had fruit so had to pay that on entry was like £80 and it was a mistake. They make up gov. budget deficits with 1bn in fines in each state, mental. If I was rich I would probably pay them but I cant afford to and they were all silly fines, always a few km over.

        That’s my experience, I don’t own a car and cycle everywhere now easier, cheaper and healthier!

  13. Hey, I am a foreign student in Norway and received a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt a few weeks ago. It was a huge fine and they gave me the paper ticket on the spot. However, they spelled my name wrong on the ticket. I have not gotten a second bill in the mail either. What are the chances that I can get away with not paying this at all?

    • Driver Abroad

      If you’re a resident in Norway Alex and they have your address, I think its pretty likely they’ll keep chasing you up for the fine. As you can see from other posts, people often get away with not paying if they’re only visiting the country they get fined in but as you live there, I think you have less chance unfortunately!

  14. Michail

    Hello,
    i am living in Athens Greece and last August i rent a car from Avis at Milan airport, in Italy. A few days ago i received a letter from Avis informing me that they had received a request for my personal data from Aosta Polizia Municipale for a parking violation. Avis has also charged me 42,70 Euros that doesnt relate to the payment of the fine.

    As i can recall, i had a 20 – 30 minutes stop in Aosta, on my way to the french Alpes. I parked the car in a parking area with a paying machine. I payed and i put the ticket in the car. All the instructions was ONLY in Italian language, so i am not sure if i did everything right.

    I think it is not a fair fine (you have to respect tourists, at least write the instructions in English also) and i would like to know the consequences if i wont pay the fine.

    P.S. The fine from Aosta Polizia Municipale hasnt delivered to me, only the fine from Avis.

    Thanks in advance

    • Driver Abroad

      Michail -I think the biggest problem you have is if the police pass the fine onto Avis. If that happens, they can probably charge your credit card (if thats not what they’ve done already). Other than that, as you can see from other posts on here, its never certain but most countries don’t chase up fines across international borders.If you really wanted to avoid Avis charging you I guess you could cancel the card they have the details of, but if they can’t get their money back, they would probably blacklist you and the big companies often share data so you may start to have problems renting cars in future.

  15. JosephV

    Excellent site and good advice. A question which I hope you can help me with. A friend just told me that in Canada there is a system where your credit card is somehow automatically charged for traffic violations. I am almost certain he has got the wrong end of the stick, and that it is like here in the UK where there are fixed penalties which CAN easily be paid by credit/debit card. And how can this technically be done anyway, automatically? After all, what if you wish to contest the matter? His rather lame argument was that no-one ever contests them! I certainly know that this did not happen to me in Vancouver when I was stopped a few years ago.

    • Driver Abroad

      I’ve never heard of that Joseph, though in many countries you do register a credit card linked to a chip in your vehicle that pays road tolls etc- perhaps some states have a similar system to that?

  16. Liverochi

    Hi I got a Red light fine in NSW but I wasn’t in the country when the fine was given. I’m thinking of returning to Australia in the next few months. Can they track me? I got another enforcement notice sent to my previous address in Sydney, I was using “car next door” at the time and I wanted to find out what happens if I don’t pay. As it’s a hefty fine,

    • Driver Abroad

      As you can see from a lot of the posts above- its only likely you’ll have to pay if you get stopped again by the police in Australia. If that happens, you’re likely to get arrested, taken to court and made to pay cash before they let you go. If your fine was against your foreign licence and you’re now at a different address, they may not link it, particularly if you have a common name!

  17. Danabri

    Great Forum.

    I’m a US citizen and was in Italy in the Summer of 2012 and rented a car from Hertz. I was driving in a zone that was apparently off limits in the center of Rome (was very lost). If I show them that I was trying to get to my hotel, I was told they would waive the ticket. Any truth to this?

    Have you heard of any connection with immigration for Italy?

    Thanks!

    • Driver Abroad

      If your hotel was in the restricted zone, they should have given you a disc beforehand or told you where to park I would have thought. Its unlikely they’ll waive the fine if you just say ‘I was lost’. Its likely it will land with Hertz, in which case I would pay it. Otherwise you may find yourself on a blacklist across all the big rental companies.

  18. Jack

    Hi,
    I am currently living in the United Kingdom and had some Traffic Fines on my Australian License. I received them when i had left australian and I haven’t paid them as of yet. Can I still get my australian license converted into a Uk one or will i face problems!!

    • Driver Abroad

      I very much doubt the UK authorities would be made aware of minor Australian traffic fines outstanding. If your Aus licence was revoked though there is a possibility they may share that information, again, I doubt it though.

  19. kcoote87

    hi i got a fine whilst in Sardinia Italy it came through the post at home 6 months later. It was in a rented car and there was 2 drivers driving depending on the day. we cannot remember who was driving on the day the fine noted. it was for entering a pedestrian or non traffic area without correct authorisation? very odd what do you think we should do?

    • Driver Abroad

      If in a rental car, the biggest problem will be if you don’t pay and they pass the fine onto the rental company. They may charge your credit card, and if you prevent that, they may blacklist you and that could extend across all the big companies. If it were me, I would probably wait and see if they pass the fine to the rental company -its unlikely (though not unheard of) that they would pursue you themselves across international borders.

  20. stan

    Hi,

    Do you have any info for offences in Switzerland??? I am from the UK and have been working in Switzerland for the past few months, i have a swiss work permit. My vehicle has UK plates and i have not registered the vehicle here..in Switzerland there seems to be speed cameras everywhere, i dont drive fast but quite often the speed limit can change serveral times on a stretch of road. unfortunatley this has caught me out serveral times!
    The other day i found a note on my car to say i have a speeding ticket and i should go to the police (in french). I presume they dont know my uk or swiss address and are hoping i will go to the station so they can give me a fine…where do i stand if i don’t go to the police..? can they trace my details back to the UK with the DVLA or something?

    many thanks

    Stan

    • Driver Abroad

      Potentially they could Stan but if they do, they would still have to send the fine to the UK address and if you don’t pay theres probably not much they can do. If you’re working in Switzerland and living there though, the biggest danger is probably that they issue a warrant for your arrest if they can’t locate you to send the speeding ticket. That could mean you get arrested by a traffic cop which could be inconvenient to say the least!

  21. Anon

    Hi I got caught speeding in France more than 50kph over the speed limit, I have a court case in May, can they apply points to my English licence? Can you shed some light please

  22. Frank Huang

    Hi,
    I visited Iceland from USA in April and was caught by a speed camera when I was driving 108km/hr in a 90km/hr zone. My car rental company (Sixt) has provided my personal info to Iceland police (Sixt charged 30 Euro on my credit card for that) and now I got the mail from Iceland police for USD $280 (if I pay before 5/3/2014, it would be USD $207).
    I have no plan to visit Iceland in the future, if I don’t pay the fine, will Iceland police involves a collect agent in USA or land the fine to car rental company to force the company charge the amount on my card?
    If I don’t pay, will it cause trouble when I visit other European countries in the future?
    Thank you very much.

    Frank

    • Driver Abroad

      They could pass the debt to a recovery agent in USA (I’ve heard that happen for fines incurred in Australia). If thats the case you will have to pay. Outstanding fines will only be a problem if you visit Iceland again, not other countries, though if Sixt are somehow landed with the fine, they may blacklist you and they will share info with the other big car rental companies.

  23. Anon

    Hello,

    I do not wish to give my name but was curious on a recent infraction in France!! I have been here about a month and a few days I was pulled over because apparently I would not let a cop pass me as I was going from a 50 to a 90 zone. Anyways the germandine (or whatever they are) pulled me over and had asked me to take a breathalyzer so I did and after admitting I had been drinking told him where I was going and what I had done that night. I blew a .4% legal limit here is .5% so I was under. They made me pay a 90 Euro fine gave me my license back and passport cause it was only thing I had on me at the time (I’m on a work visa but said I didn’t have a copy with me) and was told I could go pick up my car that afternoon.
    My question(s) are
    1. Will this fine show up on my Drivers Abstract in Canada
    2. Will this affect any travel in the future as I will be back and forth from Canada to France a lot over the next year or 2.

    Thanks,
    No Name

    • Driver Abroad

      No they won’t share the info with Canadian authorities. I also doubt very much that it would affect anything like visa applications etc.

      • Anon

        Thank you!
        I didn’t think that it would affect me in any way simply because I was not arrested and was not charged due to being under the legal limit. But always nice to get some feedback as well.

        Thanks again!!

  24. CGR

    Rented from Avis in Spain in 2010. after 6 mos. got a speeding ticket in mail and I didn’t pay it because the rental reservation was in my name but car was actually rented and driven by my brother. Also we moved address, so the speeding ticket was actually just handed to me by the people who moved into our old residence.
    We then rented again in Italy from Hertz, no problems whatsoever.
    Question is, we are resturning to Spain again this summer. Will immigrations or the rental company flag me even if I never drove the car? I didn’t know how I got the speeding ticket in the first place since we follow speed limits strictly.

    • Driver Abroad

      So basically you have an outstanding ticket which you didn’t pay? I’ve never heard of border control in any country being able to link an outstanding ticket to a passport. If you try and rent from Avis again, if they were landed with the fine you may find you’re on a blacklist, but doeant sound that they’ve done that and shared with other companies if you’ve since used Hertz. If I were you I’d just avoid Hertz when you visit again.

  25. Peter

    Hi,
    I have received a Traffic Fine Handling Fee debit from a South African car hire. I thought at the time I may have been flashed by a fixed camera, but was never sure. So I believe this fine is genuine. (It was on a dual carriage way 80 zone that dropped to a 60 zone for no reason, except for the camera, then back to an 80 zone just outside Paarl – very cheeky). I was travelling on an Australian and International driver’s licence. Do you have any advice with infringements from this country. I believe they can be very slow in processing, but this may mask further unpaid fine infringements.

    I had a similar experience with a hire car in Sydney when they were setting up tolls using multiple companies. I paid the wrong company. I subsequently went travelling abroad and the rental company had forwarded the infringement notice on five times, each time at a cost of $30+ infringement handling fee.

    Regards Peter

    • Driver Abroad

      Thats interesting Peter -never heard of them charging extra for a handling fee. Are you saying they’ve also passed the fine on or just the handling fee?

      • Peter

        Yes, just the administration fee for redirecting.
        I’ve been in contact with the car hire company in South Africa, and they are unsure but say the authorities will probably not pursue the infringement as it is too hard. They said they would get back to me and haven’t yet heard back. So this too is a handling (administrative) fee.

  26. confused driver

    Hi,
    I hope you can help. I recently got a fine for over £100 for not complying with sign which directed me to pass to the left side of the sign. It was a bit confusing but I can see from the photos they sent that there are arrows that indicate to go around an island which actually looks like a speed ramp. I feel annoyed at such a large fine for something so unclear. Anyway, I have a UK car but an Irish licence (moved here recently). I wondered would this make any difference or is it just based on where my car is registered rather than my licence? Thanks for your help.

  27. A

    Got a DUI in Iceland. Paid part of my fine, can I return or would I face jail time? Or who would I contact to pay the fine?

    • Driver Abroad

      Did they send you the fine by post? if so, that should tell you who to pay and how. If you return, its unlikely you’d get stopped at the border control but if you were stopped by the police again for a traffic (or maybe other) offence its likely you would be arrested and not released until you paid the fine.

  28. Simona

    Hi.
    I got an italian plates car and i just got a parking ticket,i live in the UK and drive the car daily.Was wondering what will happend if i dont pay it,will they send the fine to the address where my car is registered in Italy? Thanks

    • Driver Abroad

      They may do that, though its likely they may not follow it up abroad. If however, they know where you live in UK (via your car insurance maybe?) they will pursue you for the fine. Also, if you regularly incur fines in the same area, they may take steps to find out where you live in UK and send the fines there.

  29. coolshades

    I am a UK citizen who returned 2 weeks back from a 2 week holiday in the USA.

    i rented a car and drove from L.A to Grand Canyon for a 3 day trip and then another time drove from LA to Las Vegas.

    my trip was safe, incident free and i drove carefully.

    my question is, if i have committed any traffic violations unknowingly, how will i know about it?

    i will be going back to the US on business in a few weeks and do not want to be stopped at immigration.. this will be a business trip and i will not be alone.

    thks in advance.

    • Driver Abroad

      You won’t be stopped at immigration. I’ve never heard of a country being able to link your passport details to your driving licence, and, as you weren’t stopped by the police, the only way they could attempt to fine you is via the rental company. If they had tried to do that, the rental company would have made you aware by now.

  30. Balkan driver

    Hi everyone,
    I hold a polish driving license. Last year I was passing through Bosnia and Herzegovina and I know a speed camera caught me, the limit was 70 km/h I might’ve been doing 80-83 km/h. Until now, nothing came at home ( in Poland ) from them. I’m planning to travel to Montenegro this year and I’m wondering if I’ll have to pay it and how much is it going to be ?
    Please help me.

    • Driver Abroad

      Hello- its unlikely they’ll stop you at the border, but if stopped by the police while driving the same car, the outstanding fine may show up. I’d carry enough cash in case that happens and they make you pay up on the spot.

      • Balkan driver

        Ouch :(, outstanding ? Does anybody know how much might that be ? 100 € ,1000€, more ??
        P.S I need to make a correction: the speed limit was 60 and I was doing 70-73 km/h( I don’t think it makes any difference anyway 😀 ).

  31. cassie

    Hi my other half works in the UK. He was caught speeding in a company van and got a letter he said a 100 pound fine and 3 points, he said he had to send them a copy of his licence. He doesn’t have a uk licence just an irish one. Do they add the points onto his irish licence? he has paid the fine

  32. john

    Hello,

    I have a speeding ticket from Switzerland from more than 1 year ago. It was a 100€ fine, that now is up to 350 with fees and all. I decided not to pay then, and I will certainly not pay now and face any possible consequences.

    Facts:

    1- I was in a rental car from a big company from Germany.
    2 – They contacted the rental company and got my name and address; they later contacted me by mail.
    3 – I don’t think about going back to Switzerland.

    Questions:

    How can they get me if I set foot in Switzerland and don’t drive? They apparently don’t have my ID or DL’s number, as confirmed with the rental company. Just a name and address and that’s not enough, I think. My only concern is possible connection flights.

    Is there a expiration for these fines? Is it 3 years as i read in some places?

    Thanks in advance for your answer.

    • Driver Abroad

      Not sure on expiration timescale John. I very much doubt that they can track you at border controlunless they have your passport details linked to the fine. It sounds like Switzerland is a country where the driver of a vehicle is liable for the fine rather than the owner of the vehicle. If it was the owner, the rental company would have been landed with the fine and would no doubt have passed it on to you.More countries are now passing on fines to debt collection companies in the drivers own country so, if they really want to pursue it, I would guess that will be there next course of action.

  33. Cam

    Thanks for this fantastic site and resource! Quick question if you don’t mind?

    I was in the US visiting from the UK in December and picked up 2 parking tickets whilst in LA. I used a rental car from EZ rent-a-car and only gave my driver licence details and not my passport (I think). The 2 parking fines were really minor (parked the wrong way, parked when the cleaning van was coming).

    I received 1 letter from EZ a few months back and more recently a letter from the LA traffic authority people. I realise from the above posts that there’s not likely to be a link between immigration and driver licences, but what do you think the likelihood is that they get an international debt collection agency over 2 parking tickets?? Any anecdotal evidence?

    Much appreciated!

    • Driver Abroad

      Thats the million dollar question Cam! It seems to vary depending on country and even City with a country. What I would say is that I’m seeing more evidence that countries are prepared to pass debts to foreign debt collection agencies. It sounds like EZ rent a car havent been landed with the fines though, which is good as they would no doubt have charged your credit card if they had.

  34. stephen coulter

    s4dppvz6Oeuc
    hi
    i have just come back from portugal and was travelling back to the airport in the back of a taxi with my partner and we got pulled over at a check point and we both got a 120 euro fine for no seat belts i did not pay the fine there and then but got a ticket written in portuguese they also took the passport no and put it on the ticket.
    should i pay it now im back in the uk and if so how and also if i dont could it flash up when i go through immigration to another country in europe or usa.

    also will the fine increase if i ever was pulled up and had to pay it before being allowed into a country.

    thanks

    • Driver Abroad

      Never heard of that before Stephen. The fact that they took your passport number sounds like it could be a problem. That potentially could show up if you revisit the country. As they have that info, if it were me I think I’d pay if I were you to avoid future issues.

  35. Melanie

    I am Canadian and made my first trip to the USA alone to pick up a parcel that couldn’t be mailed to Canada. I was in NY state and I wasn’t familiar with the area and got lost. Then out of the blue, 2 cops pulled me over and gave me a ticket for failing to stop at a stop sign. I’m not even sure there was one. I never saw one where they pulled me over and the only intersection further back had one and I remember stopping at the stop sign. I really worried about what till happened. The car I’m driving is under my dad’s name although it’s suppose to be my car. I’m also under my parent’s insurance so I am allowed to drive the car. I’m also 32 years old but I haven’t been driving for very long. I have a G2 license from the Ontario, Canada. Anyway, I mailed in the ticket and pleading not guilty. I will probably get a court date and when I go back to fight this ticket, I plan to go back to the same street and take pictures with my iPhone. I’m hoping that maybe there was no stop sign and I got a ticket falsely. My other problem is that I am unemployed and can’t afford to pay the ticket nor can I afford to hire a lawyer. Can you offer any advice on what I can do? Can I ignore this? Can I lose demerit points or can my parents points? And is it possible their insurance will go up, which they can’t afford? I wish this would just go away. I am a careful driver and either there was no stop sign or I simply made a mistake because I was lost.

    • Driver Abroad

      I’m not aware of any system of transferring points between US and Canada. However, it sounds like you will probably be driving in NY State at some point in the future. Therefore, if the fine is manageable I think I’d pay it if I were you, to avoid any problems in the future.You could contest it but in terms of time to do that etc, you have to ask if its worth the effort?

  36. steve b

    dX5ANIEAaS8L
    Hi, while on holiday in Sicily around 6 or seven years ago i received a parking ticket. Six months later i got an italian fine posted to my uk address, and again a few months later. Since then we have moved house and haven’t received another. My question is, we are planning a cruise which departs from Venice and i am concerned about being stopped at the airport when we arrive by passport control. Any advice would be very welcome, thank you.

    • Driver Abroad

      Steve – Unless the authorities somehow had access to your passport number when you incurred the fine, it wouldnt be possible for them to link it to you when you revisit the country. I’ve certainly never seen evidence of that in any country. Some Italian Cities are now passing fines to debt collection companies in the visitor’s own country, but obviously that wasn’t happening 6 years ago, so I would guess your outstanding fine will have been long forgotten.

      • steve b

        Hi, thank you for your response, it has settled my mind some what, but do the rental companies take your passport number when you hire? I cant remember over the time.Thanks again, Steve

  37. Dmitri

    Fines are large part of local budget, certainly in USA, that is why they would chase you to your grave over 50 dollars . If you don’t pay parking fine, let alone speeding ticket the local court will send you a notice. If you don’t pay or fail to show up in court to dispute the ticket you will be charged with ‘Contempt of court’- this is standard way in USA to harass small fine non-payers. With that court order you will automatically be put into the computer system with arrest warrant for you. If you get stopped again in USA you will be arrested on the spot and 24hours in jail is guaranteed. Not sure if this information is shared with passport control at the Airports , but if I have to guess I would say yes it is shared. Welcome to USA and enjoy.

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