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Pjim
Hi I have a situation which I can't find an answer to.

I was pulled over for allegedly not wearing a seatbelt. It was one officer driving the other way past me and span round to follow. He said he saw me without belt on and I put it on as he followed.

For starters there is no possible way he could have seen me put it on as I have a panel van and no back windows.

I was actually wearing the belt under my arm as I've never seen anything to suggest this is illegal (I have read some articles now but nothing conclusive).

Officer said he was issuing fpn for £100 but I said I refuse to accept it. He said you can't refuse it, to which I said yes I can and I am.

He continued to write it out and attempt to give me it but I said no again. He then left with all 3 parts of the ticket unsigned and me with none of it.

I've now received a letter from the court called a collection order for an unpaid fpn.

My question is, how can it be unpaid when I never received it?
I know it says on fpn tickets that you can request a court hearing but why should I request anything? I'm not obliged to accept anything from anyone and as it's an 'offer' I thought it was right to turn it down.

Does verbally refusing it mean I've still received it? Is the officer wrong to lodge it in the court as unpaid?

Also regards to wearing under arm, all I can find in road traffic act is that a belt needs to be fixed in 3 points to the vehicle which it is whether worn over or under arm.

Any help would be much appreciated
Redivi
The correct procedure was to take the FPN and then inform the police that you're rejecting it and want the matter to go to court

I'm not sure if there is any procedure to reset an FPN that's been reported as unpaid and recorded as a fine, even if it was never given


Jlc
Unfortunately, you have to request a court hearing should you want to challenge it.

That time has passed and there is no normal 'appeal'. There is potential to go to prison if you do not pay it.

The facts of the case are irrelevant to the unpaid charge which will have automatically gone up 50%.
Pjim
Thanks. Yes it has gone up 50%. Is this classed as a conviction?
The lady in the court seems to think it's just registered as a fine and not a conviction. Can I still be prosecuted for the alleged offence if I pay the fine?
Jlc
Your presence can be requested at court to demand payment. Refusal to pay could result in a short stay at Her Majesty's pleasure.

The matter would be simply around the unpaid fine - and not at all the circumstances around it. (Which a previous poster found out when they tried to argue their case and refused to pay)
Pjim
Yes I completely understand what will happen regarding not paying a court fine. My question is, can I still be prosecuted for the seatbelt offence if I DO pay the fine?
Redivi
You can't be prosecuted because you've already been convicted and fined

There's no IF about paying it
If you don't, you will have a short stay at Her Majesty's Pleasure

You might have grounds for a complaint to the Chief Constable afterward but I can't see any other options
cp8759
QUOTE (Pjim @ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 - 17:15) *
Yes I completely understand what will happen regarding not paying a court fine. My question is, can I still be prosecuted for the seatbelt offence if I DO pay the fine?

How could you be prosecuted for something you've already been fined for? If nothing else it would be double jeopardy. As an aside, I believe it is illegal to wear your seatbelt under your arm, for fairly obvious reasons (the legislation requires seat-belts to be worn correctly, or else everybody could just sit on their seatbelt and this would frustrate the purpose of the legislation).

I'm not sure if there are any authorities on the matter, but section 55 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, which allows the fixed penalty to be registered at court and increased by one half, only applies if "a fixed penalty notice relating to an offence has been given...", you could argue that you were not given a fixed penalty notice and therefore registration of the fine is unlawful. However if the six months time limit has not yet expired, this would then leave you open to prosecution for the original offence, so it might be in your best interests to simply pay the fine.

In a certain sense the officer did you a favour, as the correct course of action would have been to simply report you for prosecution in the first place.
Pjim
Agreed he probably should have reported for prosecution but as he didn't, has he not submitted false evidence to the court by submitting the fpn?
southpaw82
QUOTE (Pjim @ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 - 18:39) *
Agreed he probably should have reported for prosecution but as he didn't, has he not submitted false evidence to the court by submitting the fpn?

Without knowing what has been submitted (and it's unlikely the officer submitted anything to the court himself) that question is impossible to answer. You were incorrect in your assertion that you could refuse to accept the FPN, I think - there is no provision in the Act to do so, just to challenge it once it has been issued. As stated, normally an indication that the FPN will not be complied with will result in being reported for summons but this is not a rule of law. Unless you want to enter into protracted, potentially expensive and doubtful legal proceedings you may just want to pay the fine.

cp8759
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 - 18:53) *
QUOTE (Pjim @ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 - 18:39) *
Agreed he probably should have reported for prosecution but as he didn't, has he not submitted false evidence to the court by submitting the fpn?

Without knowing what has been submitted (and it's unlikely the officer submitted anything to the court himself) that question is impossible to answer. You were incorrect in your assertion that you could refuse to accept the FPN, I think - there is no provision in the Act to do so, just to challenge it once it has been issued.

But section 55 RTOA says:

55 Effect of fixed penalty notice given under section 54.

(1) This section applies where a fixed penalty notice relating to an offence has been given to any person under section 54 of this Act, and references in this section to the recipient are to the person to whom the notice was given.

(2) No proceedings shall be brought against the recipient for the offence to which the fixed penalty notice relates unless before the end of the suspended enforcement period he has given notice requesting a hearing in respect of that offence in the manner specified in the fixed penalty notice.

(3) Where—

(a) the recipient has not given notice requesting a hearing in respect of the offence to which the fixed penalty notice relates in the manner so specified, and
(b) the fixed penalty has not been paid in accordance with this Part of this Act before the end of the suspended enforcement period,a sum equal to the fixed penalty plus one–half of the amount of that penalty may be registered under section 71 of this Act for enforcement against the recipient as a fine.


If the FPN has not been given to the person, section 55 does not apply. Hence prosecution is permitted but the fixed penalty cannot be registered at court or increased.

Pjim, how long ago were you pulled over?
southpaw82
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 - 20:22) *
But section 55 RTOA says:

55 Effect of fixed penalty notice given under section 54.

(1) This section applies where a fixed penalty notice relating to an offence has been given to any person under section 54 of this Act, and references in this section to the recipient are to the person to whom the notice was given.

(2) No proceedings shall be brought against the recipient for the offence to which the fixed penalty notice relates unless before the end of the suspended enforcement period he has given notice requesting a hearing in respect of that offence in the manner specified in the fixed penalty notice.

(3) Where—

(a) the recipient has not given notice requesting a hearing in respect of the offence to which the fixed penalty notice relates in the manner so specified, and
(b) the fixed penalty has not been paid in accordance with this Part of this Act before the end of the suspended enforcement period,a sum equal to the fixed penalty plus one–half of the amount of that penalty may be registered under section 71 of this Act for enforcement against the recipient as a fine.


If the FPN has not been given to the person, section 55 does not apply. Hence prosecution is permitted but the fixed penalty cannot be registered at court or increased.

Pjim, how long ago were you pulled over?

That may well be the case and it may be that an application to the magistrates court (perhaps under s 85 Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980) would sort it all out. However, I’m not hopeful. I suspect it would require prolonged argument and perhaps proceedings that, ultimately, may not be worth it.
cp8759
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 13 Dec 2018 - 20:34) *
That may well be the case and it may be that an application to the magistrates court (perhaps under s 85 Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980) would sort it all out. However, I’m not hopeful. I suspect it would require prolonged argument and perhaps proceedings that, ultimately, may not be worth it.

I agree it's unlikely to be worth the hassle.
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