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Traffic Tickets

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There is one recent piece of legislation which will affect you drivers out there and so it is necessary for you to become familiar with it so that you would not commit any offence. It is the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, No 19 of 2006 which amends the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, Chapter 355 of the laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Its main aim is to deal with offences quickly by means of a ticketing system which essentially affords offenders the chance to pay the fine for an offence without having to go to court. It also introduces a clamping system which would immobilize your car until you pay the fine. {{more}}

As with the principal act, police officers are given the duty of implementing the amended act and unlike in the old times when police officers wrote you up in their note books they would now issue a ticket to you or leave it on your vehicle and you would be liable for the offence.

If the officer has reasonable cause to suspect that you are committing or have committed an offence he could issue a ticket. The ticket that he issues will have a fixed penalty. It will specify the offence alleged, the amount of the fixed penalty and the place where the money is to be paid.

Tickets may be issued to persons for a wide range of offences. There are about seventy six offences listed in the Fourth Schedule. These range from failure to carry proper identification marks to driving and parking violations

It you have committed an offence under the act; you must go to the magistrate court named on the ticket and pay within twenty one days. If you do not do this then proceedings would be instituted in court against you. The ticket will substitute as a complaint and the magistrate could use his power under the Criminal Procedure to compel you to appear in court. If you have paid the fine given on your ticket to the magistrate Court you must make sure that you get your receipt and keep it safely because this is evidence that you have paid your fine.

Removal of tickets from vehicles

You are advised not to remove a ticket from a vehicle unless you are the owner or a person given authority by the owner to do so. If you are found guilty of removing such ticket without the consent of the owner you would be liable to pay a fine of two hundred dollars.

The Clamp

The clamp is a device that is fixed to the vehicle to prevent its removal by the offender. According to the law it is released “by or under the authority of the Licensing Authority when the fine is paid. A ticket is also placed on the vehicle to provide information about how the clamp is to be released. According to the law any person who tries to remove damage or destroy it “shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of four thousand dollars”.

• Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.

E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com

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