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Caught speeding in France


What to do when you receive a fine after being caught overspeeding in France? Should a french fine ever get into your mailbox, there are a three options open for you: throw it away (especially recommended if your car is not registered in the EU, but then you are not likely to receive the fine anyway, and recommanded even if your car is registered in the EU until further news of European car registrations harmonization...), pay it, or contest it.

Up to now, only french registered cars (obviously) and car registered in Luxembourg will bring you trouble. Indeed since january 24th, 2005, improved cooperation between the law agencies of those two countries means that people from Luxembourg need to take extra care (same treatment as the french). Until such cooperation exists beween other countries such as the UK or else, you are ok. But be advised that the french lobby hard for such cooperation, partly because a third of the speed infractions picked up by the radars are made with cars not registered in France (not because foreigners drive much faster; just because they don't bother slowing down in the vicinity of a radar, unlike the french). The result : a loss of money, and a feeling of inequality. So our advice is: remain informed of what is going on, and don't look for trouble, ie, don't overspeed too much if around a speed camera, because overspeed of 50km/h or more is considered a big offence and might get you into trouble anyway (a law from june 12th 2004 allows the possibility to pursue the owner of the car, even if foreign registered).

Now, if you feel like paying... read this:

Should you decide to pay, be advised that the sooner the better. Indeed, the fine is lowered if paid in the first 15 days. As a foreigner however you will be granted another 30 additionnal days to pay the fine, but this may or may not be at the low price (first 15 days price). You can pay by buying in France a number of "timbre amende" (stamp purchased to certify payment of a fine) and stick them to the fine which has to be sent back, or you can pay by check payable to the french treasury (trésor public) , by phone (0820 11 10 10 - 0.12 euros TTC per minute) or via internet on www.amendes.gouv.fr.

If you want to contest, you will have to fill in the form joined with the fine. You may also have to pay a deposit, depending on your request.


      contestation form

Contestation without deposit

- The vehicle has been stolen or destroyed before the speeding event. You just have to prove it (police report, etc).
- Another person was driving. You can denounce that person by giving his/her complete identity. Don't lie, it'll make things way worse!

Contestation with deposit

Any other reason (or the above reasons should you be unable to produce the proof) will require you to pay a deposit of 135 euros. The deposit, the form and the reasons of the contestation (letter) all have to be sent together (address will be indicated on the form).

Paying the deposit doens't mean the money is lost. However contesting for the sake of contesting may result in a higher fine. You have been advised! The deposit will be refunded should you ask for it and only if :
- The infraction is dismissed by the police, or
- The police doens't dismiss the case, but afterwards a judge discharge you.

Vehicle stolen or destroyed

It the vehicle has been stolen or destroyed prior to the speeding event you won't have to pay the 135 euros deposit. You will have to fill in the form and join to it :
- Police report of the theft.
- In case of destruction, any paper tending to prove your vehicle has been taken under another person's responsability with orders to destroy it.

Send the whole to the address on the form (4th cadre).

Vehicle lended (or rented)

You won't have to pay the 135 euros deposit. Just fill in the form with the information of the real driver. If in doubt over who was driving, you can ask for the picture of the infraction.

If the form is not properly filled in, the car owner will be considered as the driver.

Send the whole to the address on the form (4th cadre).

Payment of the deposit

To pay the deposit, you have 45 days after the date when the fine has been sent (not received). Being a foreigner, you may be granted another month. You can pay using :
- Stamps (timbre fiscal) that can be bought in France newstands and some pubs. Stick them to the form and send the whole to the address on the form;
- Check payable to the trésor public (treasury), to be sent to the address on the form.
- Credit card by calling 0820 11 10 10 (0,12 euros TTC per minute). You can ask to receive an invoice;
- Credit card by connecting to www.amendes.gouv.fr. You will be able to print an invoice.

Asking for your picture

Send a letter asking for the picture of the infraction to the address on the form. Add to that letter :
- a copy of the vehicle registration papers
- a copy of your ID (or passport)
- a copy of the fine or of the form sent to you
- a stamped envelope with your direction.

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