Dear Lifehacker, A few weeks ago I received a call from a police officer as another driver reported my car as having bumped their car (which I do not believe I did and there is no evidence of any collision.) I was told to visit my local police station and make a report – and obviously my report was very different from the other person’s!
About a week later I got a $180 fine in the mail for “negligent driving” issued by the officer who had called me to ask me to go and make the report. I don’t understand how I can be issued a fine by an officer I have never met based on the report of a person I have never met. I appealed the fine but was given the reply that the officer felt it was appropriate. My only other option is to go to court which I can’t afford to. What should I do? Thanks, Lee
If there truly was no collision, you should absolutely contest this in court. The police cannot have evidence of an event that didn’t take place – so it’s basically your word against the other driver.
Lodging an appeal in court is not expensive if you forgo the services of a solicitor. (This is the norm when contesting things like traffic fines.) You’re basically looking at an application fee of around $50.
With that said, it seems exceedingly odd that the police would issue a penalty if there wasn’t a shred of proof. And why did the other motorist identify your licence plate in the first place? Are you sure there was no collision?
If the police have CRT or mobile phone footage of the incident, this will be presented in court. You may end up facing additional fines in addition to the negligent driving charge.
In short, if you’re certain of your innocence, it’s worth taking the matter to court: the fine will almost certainly be dismissed and the points restored to your licence. If you may have done the deed (or are sneakily trying to get out of it), contesting isn’t worth the risk: just accept the punishment and move on.
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