It’s only a mere consolation, but some fines in France can now be paid in instalments.
The government agency responsible for collecting fines, Antai, is running a two-month experiment to see if the change helps recover more money.
The test has been in place since the beginning of March, but for now, they only affect amendes forfaitaires délictuelles (AFD) or fixed fines.
Introduced in 2016, AFD fines currently apply mostly to driving offences (driving without a licence or insurance, or driving recklessly), but can also apply to drug offences and illegal occupation of common-use parts of buildings.
AFDs allow for those convicted to be sent a fine automatically without having to go through the court process, reducing the strain on the justice system. Paying the fine is an acknowledgement of the misdemeanour and thus avoids a trial.
More fines for offences are set to fall under the jurisdiction of fixed fines in the coming months, says the Agence nationale de traitement automatisé des infractions (Antai).
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The issue, however, is that the fines can be prohibitively expensive – fines for drug use are around €150 – 200. But driving infractions can be up to €800.
This means that many people issued with a fine cannot pay it, dragging out the procedure.
Of the 225,000 fines issued in 2021 - twice as many as in 2020 - only around 35% were paid without further action, according to the Radars-auto.com site.
In light of this, the new system allows offenders to pay in multiple instalments.
Fines can be paid online (via Amendes.gouv.fr), through the official Amendes.gouv app, or via telephone (0806 20 30 40), and the payments can be split over 60 days (or 30 days for a reduced fine).
But paying the first instalment is the same as admitting your guilt and you will no longer be able to contest the fine after this date.
If you wish to contest the fine, the payment must be in one instalment.
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