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Speeding ticket from Switzerland
sg2015
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:14
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I was caught speeding in Switzerland in July, had a form asking for the drivers details to my name & address (registered keeper) come through in November. I filled this in and a fine has been produced, arriving 27th Dec (happy Christmas!). The first letter had German and English, but the second letter only has German, so I've no idea what it says! Apart from the fine is fairly obvious (has a big TOTAL mark)

It's for 136kph in an 80kph, which is then reduced to 130kph due to adjustments. Fine is 2700CHF, approx £2050. No salary was given etc.

What are my options? TIA
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IanJohnsonWS14
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:33
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Google Translate normally does a pretty good job. Make sure you type in any accents/punctuation.


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Speeding tickets, like lottery tickets, are a voluntary tax. You don't have to get them.
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mazzer
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:57
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Your options are pay it or don't pay it.

If you don't pay it and go to Switzerland again, bear in mind they have very long memories there and will treat an unpaid fine very seriously if they catch you.

They do not have any way of collecting the fine from you in the UK if you don't pay, but they will threaten you will all sorts of scary-sounding stuff.
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superSmiffy
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 17:47
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QUOTE (mazzer @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:57) *
Your options are pay it or don't pay it.

If you don't pay it and go to Switzerland again, bear in mind they have very long memories there and will treat an unpaid fine very seriously if they catch you.

They do not have any way of collecting the fine from you in the UK if you don't pay, but they will threaten you will all sorts of scary-sounding stuff.

There is also no obligation to reply to their request for driver detail, too late now.
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cp8759
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 17:51
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QUOTE (sg2015 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:14) *
I was caught speeding in Switzerland in July, had a form asking for the drivers details to my name & address (registered keeper) come through in November. I filled this in and a fine has been produced, arriving 27th Dec (happy Christmas!). The first letter had German and English, but the second letter only has German, so I've no idea what it says! Apart from the fine is fairly obvious (has a big TOTAL mark)

It's for 136kph in an 80kph, which is then reduced to 130kph due to adjustments. Fine is 2700CHF, approx £2050. No salary was given etc.

What are my options? TIA

I would take the view that you are well within your rights not to pay. Article 6 of the ECHR provides that, amongst other things:

"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.....
Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights: (a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;..."

Did the first letter inform you in detail of the accusation? It may be worthwhile for you to post a copy on here, with your personal details redacted.

Even if the first letter discharged the "detailed accusation" requirement, the second letter may or may not specify how the penalty is calculated, and it may or may not explain how you can challenge it, we have no idea. If you have not been informed in a language you understand how you may seek a public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law , it is arguable that the prosecuting authority has breached your article 6 rights. There is no burden on the accused to go and use Google Translate or any other translation service (and given the precision of language that is required for legal proceedings, this is plainly not going to be an acceptable solution in any event). I believe Italy had quite a few problems with their fines being invalid because they would only send the letter in Italian, eventually they fixed that, but for once it looks like the Swiss are yet to catch up.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
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superSmiffy
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:01
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 17:51) *
QUOTE (sg2015 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:14) *
I was caught speeding in Switzerland in July, had a form asking for the drivers details to my name & address (registered keeper) come through in November. I filled this in and a fine has been produced, arriving 27th Dec (happy Christmas!). The first letter had German and English, but the second letter only has German, so I've no idea what it says! Apart from the fine is fairly obvious (has a big TOTAL mark)

It's for 136kph in an 80kph, which is then reduced to 130kph due to adjustments. Fine is 2700CHF, approx £2050. No salary was given etc.

What are my options? TIA

I would take the view that you are well within your rights not to pay. Article 6 of the ECHR provides that, amongst other things:

"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.....
Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights: (a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;..."

Did the first letter inform you in detail of the accusation? It may be worthwhile for you to post a copy on here, with your personal details redacted.

Even if the first letter discharged the "detailed accusation" requirement, the second letter may or may not specify how the penalty is calculated, and it may or may not explain how you can challenge it, we have no idea. If you have not been informed in a language you understand how you may seek a public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law , it is arguable that the prosecuting authority has breached your article 6 rights. There is no burden on the accused to go and use Google Translate or any other translation service (and given the precision of language that is required for legal proceedings, this is plainly not going to be an acceptable solution in any event). I believe Italy had quite a few problems with their fines being invalid because they would only send the letter in Italian, eventually they fixed that, but for once it looks like the Swiss are yet to catch up.

I doubt a case at the ECHR would stand up when the OP says “I could have translated the letter...but didn’t bother my arse to do that...here I am”

The OP can either comply, ask for a court trial or file the document in the bin with a risk of challenge at Swiss immigration. I doubt the Swiss will be scanning passports for unpaid fines. Then again you never know.
This leaves comply with the fine or risk a small chance of refusal of entry to the non-member EU state of perforated cheese by filing it in the bin.

This post has been edited by superSmiffy: Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:03
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Churchmouse
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:30
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 17:51) *
QUOTE (sg2015 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:14) *
I was caught speeding in Switzerland in July, had a form asking for the drivers details to my name & address (registered keeper) come through in November. I filled this in and a fine has been produced, arriving 27th Dec (happy Christmas!). The first letter had German and English, but the second letter only has German, so I've no idea what it says! Apart from the fine is fairly obvious (has a big TOTAL mark)

It's for 136kph in an 80kph, which is then reduced to 130kph due to adjustments. Fine is 2700CHF, approx £2050. No salary was given etc.

What are my options? TIA

I would take the view that you are well within your rights not to pay. Article 6 of the ECHR provides that, amongst other things:

"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.....
Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights: (a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;..."

Did the first letter inform you in detail of the accusation? It may be worthwhile for you to post a copy on here, with your personal details redacted.

Even if the first letter discharged the "detailed accusation" requirement, the second letter may or may not specify how the penalty is calculated, and it may or may not explain how you can challenge it, we have no idea. If you have not been informed in a language you understand how you may seek a public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law , it is arguable that the prosecuting authority has breached your article 6 rights. There is no burden on the accused to go and use Google Translate or any other translation service (and given the precision of language that is required for legal proceedings, this is plainly not going to be an acceptable solution in any event). I believe Italy had quite a few problems with their fines being invalid because they would only send the letter in Italian, eventually they fixed that, but for once it looks like the Swiss are yet to catch up.

There may have been some options prior to the identification of the driver, but after that point there are fewer...

Is speeding a criminal offence in Switzerland? The specific Article 6 requirements only appear to apply to criminal offences, though the "fair and public hearing" part would still apply.

I know Swiss speeding fines are eye-watering, but unless I was certain that I wasn't guilty I might consider paying it. On the other paw, an excuse to avoid Switzerland could be considered beneficial?

--Churchmouse
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PASTMYBEST
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:53
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QUOTE (Churchmouse @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:30) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 17:51) *
QUOTE (sg2015 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:14) *
I was caught speeding in Switzerland in July, had a form asking for the drivers details to my name & address (registered keeper) come through in November. I filled this in and a fine has been produced, arriving 27th Dec (happy Christmas!). The first letter had German and English, but the second letter only has German, so I've no idea what it says! Apart from the fine is fairly obvious (has a big TOTAL mark)

It's for 136kph in an 80kph, which is then reduced to 130kph due to adjustments. Fine is 2700CHF, approx £2050. No salary was given etc.

What are my options? TIA

I would take the view that you are well within your rights not to pay. Article 6 of the ECHR provides that, amongst other things:

"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.....
Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights: (a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;..."

Did the first letter inform you in detail of the accusation? It may be worthwhile for you to post a copy on here, with your personal details redacted.

Even if the first letter discharged the "detailed accusation" requirement, the second letter may or may not specify how the penalty is calculated, and it may or may not explain how you can challenge it, we have no idea. If you have not been informed in a language you understand how you may seek a public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law , it is arguable that the prosecuting authority has breached your article 6 rights. There is no burden on the accused to go and use Google Translate or any other translation service (and given the precision of language that is required for legal proceedings, this is plainly not going to be an acceptable solution in any event). I believe Italy had quite a few problems with their fines being invalid because they would only send the letter in Italian, eventually they fixed that, but for once it looks like the Swiss are yet to catch up.

There may have been some options prior to the identification of the driver, but after that point there are fewer...

Is speeding a criminal offence in Switzerland? The specific Article 6 requirements only appear to apply to criminal offences, though the "fair and public hearing" part would still apply.

I know Swiss speeding fines are eye-watering, but unless I was certain that I wasn't guilty I might consider paying it. On the other paw, an excuse to avoid Switzerland could be considered beneficial?

--Churchmouse


Article 6 can apply also to civil penalties if the reason for the penalty is punitive it is covered. Turnibng up at a hearing and saying my rights have been breached would most likely not meet with a response of well you could have translated as that is not what the convention says
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mazzer
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 19:52
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QUOTE (Churchmouse @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:30) *
Is speeding a criminal offence in Switzerland?


Yes, but let's not forget they are not in the EU either, so there's little they can do other than threaten as long as they don't catch you in their territory.

Article 6 often comes up when these situations are discussed. Show us a case.

This post has been edited by mazzer: Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 19:53
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NewJudge
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 21:06
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QUOTE (mazzer @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 19:52) *
Yes, but let's not forget they are not in the EU either,...


True. But they are signatories to the ECHR.
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Richard_Z
post Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 22:49
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QUOTE (sg2015 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:14) *
I was caught speeding in Switzerland in July, had a form asking for the drivers details to my name & address (registered keeper) come through in November. I filled this in and a fine has been produced, arriving 27th Dec (happy Christmas!). The first letter had German and English, but the second letter only has German, so I've no idea what it says! Apart from the fine is fairly obvious (has a big TOTAL mark)

It's for 136kph in an 80kph, which is then reduced to 130kph due to adjustments. Fine is 2700CHF, approx £2050. No salary was given etc.

What are my options? TIA


As matter of curiosity, have you been flashed driving a GB registered vehicle or a local hire vehicle?
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Churchmouse
post Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 09:42
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QUOTE (PASTMYBEST @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:53) *
Article 6 can apply also to civil penalties if the reason for the penalty is punitive it is covered. Turnibng up at a hearing and saying my rights have been breached would most likely not meet with a response of well you could have translated as that is not what the convention says

"Criminal offence" is pretty clear under English law. Are there ECHR cases applying the protections outlined in Article 6 to non-criminal penalties (e.g., LEZ penalties and congestion charges)?

--Churchmouse
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sg2015
post Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 11:23
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It's a GB registered car, this is the original letter, I will photograph the latest one tonight.

(click for bigger image, then click again to enlarge on thumbsnaps site)





This post has been edited by sg2015: Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 11:25
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cp8759
post Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 14:27
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QUOTE (Churchmouse @ Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 09:42) *
QUOTE (PASTMYBEST @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:53) *
Article 6 can apply also to civil penalties if the reason for the penalty is punitive it is covered. Turnibng up at a hearing and saying my rights have been breached would most likely not meet with a response of well you could have translated as that is not what the convention says

"Criminal offence" is pretty clear under English law. Are there ECHR cases applying the protections outlined in Article 6 to non-criminal penalties (e.g., LEZ penalties and congestion charges)?

--Churchmouse

Yes, see http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Guide_Ar...riminal_ENG.pdf

"A. General principles
1. The concept of a “criminal charge” has an “autonomous” meaning, independent of the
categorisations employed by the national legal systems of the member States (Adolf v. Austria, § 30).
2. The concept of “charge” has to be understood within the meaning of the Convention. It may thus
be defined as “the official notification given to an individual by the competent authority of an
allegation that he has committed a criminal offence”, a definition that also corresponds to the test
whether “the situation of the [suspect] has been substantially affected” (Deweer v. Belgium, §§ 42
and 46; Eckle v. Germany, § 73). The Court has also held that a person in police custody who was
required to swear an oath before being questioned as a witness was already the subject of a
“criminal charge” and had the right to remain silent (Brusco v. France, §§ 46-50).
3. As regards the autonomous notion of “criminal”, the Convention is not opposed to the moves
towards “decriminalisation” among the Contracting States. However, offences classified as
“regulatory” following decriminalisation may come under the autonomous notion of a “criminal”
offence. Leaving States the discretion to exclude these offences might lead to results incompatible
with the object and purpose of the Convention (Öztürk v. Germany, § 49).
...
2. Administrative, tax, customs, financial and competition-law proceedings
15. The following administrative offences may fall within the ambit of the criminal head of Article 6:
 road-traffic offences punishable by fines or driving restrictions, such as penalty points or
disqualifications (Lutz v. Germany, § 182; Schmautzer v. Austria; Malige v. France);
"

Regardless of the classification under Swiss law, the amount demanded of the OP is plainly penal in nature (The Swiss letter even says as much) so as to engage the criminal limb of article 6.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
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mazzer
post Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 14:32
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We can debate whether technically the Swiss can collect a fine from a UK resident or not, but unless there has been an actual case I am very sceptical it would ever happen.
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cp8759
post Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 14:37
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QUOTE (superSmiffy @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 18:01) *
The OP can either comply, ask for a court trial or file the document in the bin with a risk of challenge at Swiss immigration. I doubt the Swiss will be scanning passports for unpaid fines. Then again you never know.
This leaves comply with the fine or risk a small chance of refusal of entry to the non-member EU state of perforated cheese by filing it in the bin.

It's worth pointing out that, as a member of the Schengen area, there are no border controls when driving into Switzerland, you just drive in.

QUOTE (mazzer @ Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 14:32) *
We can debate whether technically the Swiss can collect a fine from a UK resident or not, but unless there has been an actual case I am very sceptical it would ever happen.

There seems to be broad agreement on here that there is no mechanism, not even a hypothetical one, that could be employed to collect such a fine. The issue is more down to whether the OP plans on returning to Switzerland, and if so what the risk is of him just happening to come to the attention of law enforcement. Although there are no border controls, if he were ever to be pulled over for whatever reason by the Swiss police, for example for a routine document check, the unpaid fine might come up.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
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mazzer
post Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 14:50
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Indeed and I should add I have been in the same position as the OP, for a potentially greater penalty, and chose to ignore all correspondence.

The difference in my case is that I was in a rental car and I did not reply any of the letters. >3 years after the alleged offence and having received a few threatening letters, they seem to have given up.

I have no reason to visit Switzerland again any time soon but if I had to, as long as I didn't come to the attention of the Police and entered the country via France etc. I think I'd be OK.

In the OP's position I'd give it much more thought and would most probably pay as once you've admitted guilt I suspect they'll be like a dog with a bone. You'd get letters telling you to expect 5 years in prison etc. etc.

It's quite a nice place, apart from all that.
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nigelbb
post Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 18:03
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How have the Swiss authorities traced the OP? Do the DVLA sell vehicle Registered Keeper details to foreign states?


--------------------
British Parking Association Ltd Code of Practice(Appendix C contains Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 ) & can be found here http://www.britishparking.co.uk/Code-of-Pr...ance-monitoring
DfT Guidance on Section 56 and Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/syste...ing-charges.pdf
Damning OFT advice on levels of parking charges that was ignored by the BPA Ltd Reference Request Number: IAT/FOIA/135010 – 12 October 2012
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cp8759
post Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 18:12
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QUOTE (nigelbb @ Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 18:03) *
How have the Swiss authorities traced the OP? Do the DVLA sell vehicle Registered Keeper details to foreign states?

The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 provide under regulation 27 that

The Secretary of State may make any particulars contained in the register available for use—
...
(e)by any person who can show to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State that he has reasonable cause for wanting the particulars to be made available to him.


It's not a big stretch to see that pursuing an alleged speeding offence is "reasonable cause", on that basis the DVLA have made registered keeper details available to foreign prosecutors for years, this is nothing new.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
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Churchmouse
post Thu, 4 Jan 2018 - 09:31
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Wed, 3 Jan 2018 - 14:27) *
Yes, see http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Guide_Ar...riminal_ENG.pdf

"A. General principles
1. The concept of a “criminal charge” has an “autonomous” meaning, independent of the
categorisations employed by the national legal systems of the member States (Adolf v. Austria, § 30).
2. The concept of “charge” has to be understood within the meaning of the Convention. It may thus
be defined as “the official notification given to an individual by the competent authority of an
allegation that he has committed a criminal offence”, a definition that also corresponds to the test
whether “the situation of the [suspect] has been substantially affected” (Deweer v. Belgium, §§ 42
and 46; Eckle v. Germany, § 73). The Court has also held that a person in police custody who was
required to swear an oath before being questioned as a witness was already the subject of a
“criminal charge” and had the right to remain silent (Brusco v. France, §§ 46-50).
3. As regards the autonomous notion of “criminal”, the Convention is not opposed to the moves
towards “decriminalisation” among the Contracting States. However, offences classified as
“regulatory” following decriminalisation may come under the autonomous notion of a “criminal”
offence. Leaving States the discretion to exclude these offences might lead to results incompatible
with the object and purpose of the Convention (Öztürk v. Germany, § 49).
...
2. Administrative, tax, customs, financial and competition-law proceedings
15. The following administrative offences may fall within the ambit of the criminal head of Article 6:
 road-traffic offences punishable by fines or driving restrictions, such as penalty points or
disqualifications (Lutz v. Germany, § 182; Schmautzer v. Austria; Malige v. France);
"

Regardless of the classification under Swiss law, the amount demanded of the OP is plainly penal in nature (The Swiss letter even says as much) so as to engage the criminal limb of article 6.

I would have to agree. Thank you for providing that.

And thanks to the OP for providing the letters. Not so helpful at this point, but I couldn't help but notice that the initial letter sought only the identification of the driver of the vehicle (similar to a s.172 request), but omitted to mention any legal requirement for the recipient to supply that information. The ideal time to decide whether to respond (and in what way) would have been prior to responding to it...

Now that you've put your hand up, your choices are limited to paying it, ignoring it or fighting it. Paying it is always an option, and ignoring it is discussed above. However, you would be within your rights (guaranteed by the ECHR) to demand a "fair trial" meeting all of the requirements of Article 6 thereof. But because it would be somewhat insane for a UK driver to actually go through with a full, in-person hearing in Switzerland regarding a speeding ticket, the Swiss authorities are probably not prepared to facilitate it. If you chose to have your day in court, you would have to carefully examine what the speeding ticket appeals process in Switzerland ordinarily involves, with view to determining if that process (as applied to you, a non-German speaking foreign resident driver) was (a) being fully complied with and (b) in full compliance with Article 6. Unfortunately, only a Swiss lawyer (or a Swiss PePiPoo) could properly do this, but as I mentioned above, given the relative lack of importance of actually prosecuting such an offence against a foreign driver, the Swiss may not bother to even attempt full compliance. If it becomes clear that this is their decision, you would be under no moral or legal obligation to proceed. Practically, however, you would be in the same position vis-a-vis visiting Switzerland (for an as-yet-undetermined period) as you would be if you chose to ignore it.

I'm assuming it was a tunnel speed limit on a motorway? They always seem to be 80kmh, and there are a lot of tunnels in Switzerland...

--Churchmouse

This post has been edited by Churchmouse: Thu, 4 Jan 2018 - 10:12
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