Defendants (criminal proceedings)


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How are minor road traffic offences dealt with?

There are two categories of breaches of the law provided for by the Highway Code/Rules of the Road: offences and administrative breaches.

For offences like drunken driving the assessment and the imposing of the penalty follows the same rules as a criminal case.

For minor offences (like speeding, or parking offences) there is an administrative procedure which will be explained in this factsheet.

Who deals with such offences?

The Road Patrol, the State Police, the “Carabinieri”, the “Guardia di Finanza” [Fiscal Police] and the “Polizia Municipale” [Municipal Police] deal with road traffic offences. In certain cases, the “ausiliari del traffico” [road traffic volunteers] may also fine you.

What is the procedure?

If it is possible, the Charge Sheet is immediately drafted and handed to you personally.

If not, the report will be sent to you within 150 days from the identification of the offender or the individual who is responsible for the payment of the fine (usually the owner).

What are the penalties?

You are usually expected to pay a fine.

There can also be other administrative sanctions, for example, you may be disqualified from driving or banned from driving for a certain period of time.

I come from another Member State. Are there any particular rules?

If you are driving a car with foreign plates you can pay a reduced fine immediately (minimum sanction) if allowed. In such cases you cannot appeal.

Another possibility is that you may pay a “cauzione” [a deposit] equal to the amount of the minimum sanction if the vehicle was registered in one of the EU Member States, or equal to half the amount of the maximum sanction in any other case. You can appeal even if you have paid the “cauzione”.

Your vehicle will be provisionally seized if you don’t pay the “cauzione” . If that happens, you need to pay for the impounding of the vehicle and are not allowed to use it until you have paid one of the sums above.

If the vehicle is not seized, the notification of the report to people living abroad is made within 360 days of the report being written.

What is a “verbale” [traffic police report]?

A “verbale” is a public report where facts are reported and penalties are established.

This is positive evidence of the facts reported by the police officer.

You can refuse to sign it or to collect it. Your refusal has to be reported but doesn’t change the validity of the report.

Can I appeal?

The person whose name is on the report may appeal, whether they are the offender or the owner of the vehicle.

You can appeal to the Prefect or to the Justice of the Peace.

The appeal to the Prefect has to be presented personally or by means of a certified letter with a return receipt within 60 days to the Prefect’s office in the place where the offence took place or to the assessing authority.

The appeal to the Justice of the Peace has to be presented personally or by means of a certified letter with delivery receipt by return, within 60 days from notification of the act to the office of the Justice of the Peace in the place where the offence took place. You will have to be present at court either personally or through your counsel or else the proceedings will be void.

Will these offences appear on my criminal record?

As these are administrative offences, they do not appear on your criminal record.

Last update: 18/01/2022

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