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How do I legally defend myself against a traffic fine?

Do you ever drive faster than the speed limit? Do the police stop you from time to time and deal with you for a traffic offense? Of course, our basic advice is: obey the traffic laws and, if you break them, take the appropriate punishment. But what if you don’t agree with the charge of a traffic offense or the penalty is clearly disproportionate? We can advise you on how to defend yourself.

muž řeší platbu pokuty za dopravní přestupek
7 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article 

Don’t sign anything from the police 

If the police stop you while you are driving and want to give you a penalty, do not agree to the penalty and do not sign anything. The police will no doubt persuade you that the administrative procedure will cost you more and indeed, if you are only facing a few hundred in fines and you are aware that the needle on the speedometer was more to the right than it should have been, it is worth not dragging the matter out and simply paying. But if you’re not sure, ask the officer for a photo from the radar.

Allow for a +/- 3 km/h tolerance, which is what speed cameras are approved for in the Czech Republic. In practice, if you are traveling at 50 km/hr, the officer can only fine you if the speed is 54 km/hr and above. If the deviation was not observed and properly read, and you were fined in the block procedure, you have violated the law.

Proceedings before the administrative authority

If you know you have been wrongly accused of an offense, administrative proceedings are the way to defend yourself. Proceedings before an administrative authority or even criminal proceedings deserve the advice of a lawyer. Here, the administrative authority is based on the facts of the case and the questioning of the police officers itself serves as evidence.

However, such evidence is not always sufficiently convincing. Every detail can play a role. How the police acted, whether they correctly conducted and evaluated all the evidence, and whether their actions are not open to challenge.

Tip: We have discussed the decision-making process in administrative proceedings and how to defend a decision you disagree with in detail in our article.

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When someone else was driving

If you find a blue-striped envelope in your mailbox with a notice to pay a fine for, for example, speeding or parking, and you know you were not driving your car at the time, just tell the administrative authority the identity of the driver involved. However, if the police do not find the driver, they will still deal with you.

You can then recover the amount from the driver through civil proceedings. The authorities are no longer interested in the excuse that a person close to you was driving. The owner of the vehicle has to ensure that the vehicle is used properly.

What do we do most often?

What are the common offenses and what are the penalties for committing them?

  • Driving without a vignette – we have had a relatively short system of electronic vignettes in the Czech Republic. Many drivers purchased a voucher in January 2021 when their previous vignette expired. Now comes the period when it could expire. Remember that a police check can fine you up to 5,000 CZK and in administrative proceedings it can go up to 20,000 CZK.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol – if you have a breath alcohol concentration of more than 0.3 per mille, you could face a fine of up to 20,000 CZK in administrative proceedings, as well as a driving ban of up to one year. Another critical limit is 1 promile of alcohol. If you exceed it, you commit a criminal offense, which is dealt with in court. The court can fine you 25-50,000 CZK, ban you from driving for 1-2 years, and also imprisonment for up to 1 year. You will also have 7 penalty points added to your driving record.
  • Running a red light – if you do not stop the car before the traffic light and drive through it when the light turns red, then you can face a block fine of up to 2,500 CZK, or a fine in administrative proceedings of 2,500 to 5,000 CZK (4,000 to 7,500 CZK in the case of a repeat offense), 5 penalty points and, in the case of a repeat offense, a driving ban for 1 to 6 months.
  • Cycling under the influence of alcohol – having a few beers on a bike is a bit of a Czech hobby. However, a drunk cyclist poses a serious risk in road traffic and is liable to a fine. If he or she has up to 1 promile, the fine can reach 25,000 CZK, and above one per mille, the fine can be up to 50,000 CZK. On the other hand, even if the cyclist has a driving license, they cannot lose it, nor can they receive penalty points.
  • Driving with defective tires – from the beginning of November until the end of March, you are obliged to give your car winter tires, provided that the road is covered with a continuous layer of snow, ice or frost. You should also assess the overall condition of your tires, which should have the required tread depth (greater than four millimeters). Various cracks and excessive wear are also a problem. Driving on run-flat or summer tires in winter can result in a 2,000 CZK block fine, which can increase to CZK 2,500 in administrative proceedings. If you commit such an offense, you will at least get off without points.
  • Cracked windshield – your car should be roadworthy and not endanger traffic safety. However, a damaged windshield in the so-called “wiping area” does not meet this condition and you can be fined up to 10,000 CZK and receive 5 penalty points. If the damage to the windshield covers more than 50% of its surface, you can also have your small technical certificate (STK) confiscated.
  • Driving without a license – this is a moderate offense, which is not dealt with by an on-the-spot fine, but always proceeds to an administrative procedure, which carries a penalty of 25,000 – 50,000 CZK. Driving without a license can also result in four points and a ban on driving for up to 2 years.
  • Speeding – if you get carried away on the road with the prospect of the upcoming weekend and go a bit faster than the speed limit, you can expect to be fined depending on how much you exceeded the speed limit. If you drive faster than 40 km/h in the village or more than 50 km/h outside the village, this is a serious offense, which is generally dealt with in administrative proceedings. The risk is a fine of 5,000 – 10,000 CZK, the addition of 5 penalty points, and the possibility of a driving ban (prohibition of operating motor vehicles) for a period of six months to one year.
    If you exceed the speed limit in the village by more than 20 km/h or outside the village by 30 km/h or more, you can receive a block fine of 2,500 CZK. In administrative proceedings, you can get up to 5,000 CZK. You can also be given 3 points and banned from driving for 1 – 6 months if you re-offend.
    The lower level is then medium speeding, i.e. in the village by 6 – 19 km/h or outside the village by 11 – 29 km/h. In this case, you can expect two points and a fine on the spot of up to 1,000 CZK, and up to 2,500 CZK in administrative proceedings. For small speeding offenses (in the village up to 5 km/h or outside the village up to 10 km/h), expect the same financial penalty, but no points.
  • Expired driving license – Have you checked your driver’s license since you received it and has it been kept in your documents without being taken out? You might want to do this occasionally and check its expiry date. You could save yourself a few thousand in fines for driving with an expired license. Specifically, you could face a 2,000 CZK block fine or 2,500 CZK in administrative proceedings.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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