Does Paying a Fine Result in a Criminal Record?

People are often advised to pay admission of guilt fines after they had been arrested for some offence.

What people do not understand of course is that once their fingerprints have been taken by the local police station and they have appeared in Court should they then decide to pay an admission of guilt fine, they would, of course, get a criminal record against their names.

These criminal records will, of course, remain against your name for a period of at least 10 years or until such time as an application to expunge same is made.

The Western Cape High Court in State v Parsons 2013 (1) SACR 38 considered the issue of a person who had paid an admission of guilt fine and who was unaware of the implications of doing so.

The Court granted the application by the accused and set aside the admission of guilt on the basis that the person had not been properly advised that should he pay the admission of guilt he would obtain a criminal record.

That, of course, does not mean that the person is now scot-free.

What that means is that the person would now have to appear in Court afresh on the charges and would now have to contest the charges brought against him by the prosecution.

Marius du Toit

Marius du Toit has 27 years experience in law and specialises in criminal law, road accident fund claims, unlawful arrests, personal injury law, and family law.

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