Could you please assist me as to where I stand legally with regard to traffic fines and what does the law say about the time factor between the time the offense was committed and the time that the summons was delivered to me.
In my case, I received a speeding fine (camera) on the 9th October 2016 but was only issued the summons on the 6th October 2017 with no notification of such a fine ever being issued in between that year period….do fines have a lifespan…..what does the law say?
Except in the case of the AARTO Act, the law is silent regarding the timeframe within which what are colloquially referred to as “traffic fines” must follow certain processes. This does not however mean that the National Prosecuting Authority is similarly silent on the issue, when it comes to the Criminal Procedure Act and the TCSP guidelines merely prescribe that a notice in terms of Section 341 of the Criminal Procedure Act must be issued within 30 days of the alleged offence and posted to the alleged offender.
Previously, there was a directive from the Director of Public Prosecutions for each province directing that all notices issued in terms of Section 341 must be escalated to a summons in terms of Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Act within varying timeframes from the date of the alleged offence, failing which they must be withdrawn. There is now a nationally applicable directive which was issued by the Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions which was issued in August 2017 and which sets that timeframe to eighteen months from the date of the alleged offence.
In your case, since the period was exactly twelve months, the summons is valid and must be acted upon by you.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)