If you got a ticket in error, you’ll want to avoid getting points on your license or paying the hefty fines, which increase over time.
This is especially the case if: like these foreign tourists – receives dozens of fines after being a victim of identity scams.
If you are driving a car registered abroad, you can now be caught by French speed cameras thanks to an EU-wide agreement on data sharing, although the UK membership in this is being renegotiated since Brexit.
You can appeal a speeding ticket by mail or online.
The appeals process used to be lengthy and consisted of sending a series of documents to the French prosecution officer, or fiscal, based in Rennes.
You can still choose this option: send your appeal and supporting documents to the address in the upper left corner of your ticket.
However, since 2015 it has also been possible to appeal online, and this process is much easier.
The French government has created the appeals website in English, Italian, German and Spanish to help you overcome the dreaded bureaucracy. You can find the site in this Link.
To file an appeal on the English site, select the blue button labeled “Appoint or Appeal Online.”
From there, you have four easy steps:
- Enter the ticket number, at the top left of your ticket. In French, this is labeled as the “numéro de l’avis de contravention” on your ticket.
- Write your last name
- Add the date of the ticket
- Insert your license plate number
You will then be asked to select the reasons for your appeal.
At this point, you can add attachments or additional documents to your appeal that will help your cause; for example, if your car has been stolen, you must attach the gendarme’s report.
There should be an attach button or paperclip icon, which you can use to attach your supporting documents.
You will also be asked which situation best reflects the reason for your appeal.
If the named vehicle is not owned by you or had been stolen at the time of the violation, check box 1.
If it was your car but you were not driving, please check box 2 and provide details of the person who was driving at the time.
If you are contesting that the speeding occurred, check box 3 – this is the broadest category you would use if, for example, your car was 200km away at the time of the ticket and you think the ticket has been sent penalty fee. In error.
You will also be asked to pay a deposit. This deposit costs the same as the speeding ticket, but will be refunded if the Prosecutor acquits it.
How long do I have to appeal a fine?
The time limit for filing an appeal depends on the type of ticket you have.
Fines come in the form of a notice of violation, a notice of infringement, or a notice of an increased fixed fine, a notice of a lump sum fine increase.
You have 45 days to appeal the violation notice or three months to appeal the increased fixed fine notice. If the notice has been sent to an address outside of France, you will have an additional month to pay.
What happens next?
If you are acquitted, you will receive a letter from the Prosecutor and your fines will be dismissed.
To get your deposit back, send a letter to the Comptable du Trésor Public, attaching proof of acquittal and your bank account details. Fortunately, registry services will provide you with a pre-filled form when you receive the acquittal, making this easier.
Registrar services will also send you a pre-filled form that you can submit to the Tax Collector’s Office, or Accountant of the Public Treasury. The address will be on the form.
Be careful: if you are unsuccessful, you may have to pay a penalty that is 10 percent higher. The deposit will be deducted from that total, but you will still have to pay the outstanding fee.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism