Like death and taxes, receiving a police fine at some point in your life is (almost) inevitable, even if you’re generally a good driver and law-abiding citizen.

Sometimes, it can be due to a genuine mistake – like not realising your licence disc expired or your brake light wasn’t functioning – and sometimes it just comes down to being a bit careless or distracted – like if you park in a no-parking zone or go above the speed limit.

No worries, we don’t judge.

Getting served a fine isn’t always cut and paste. You might catch the police officer on a good day and get off with a warning or a reduced fine – so we’re here to help you turn a bad day into a potentially good one!

Before we start, it’s important to note what you shouldn’t do (and you probably already know the answer). Don’t try to bribe the police.

Not only is it illegal, so you risk much harsher punishment than what your fine would have gotten you in the first place, but you’d also be actively contributing to police corruption in SA.

Here are 4 (totally legal) ways you can get yourself out of a fine:

1. Don’t play dumb

It might seem like the easiest route to feign ignorance and pretend you had no idea your taillight was out or that you parked in a no-parking zone, but the police have already heard every excuse in the book.

You’ll have a better chance of getting your fine reduced or revoked if you take responsibility for your actions – and don’t lie. If you’re caught speeding, don’t say that you were on your way to an emergency if you weren’t.

If you say what you think the police officer wants to hear, there’s a good chance that they’ll see right through you and possibly even take offence if you try to sell them an outlandish story about your best-friend’s-brother’s-wife who’s currently giving birth in hospital.

2. Be nice

As the saying goes, “Kill them with kindness.”

Even if you’re irate when you’re given a fine, you wouldn’t be the first person who’s upset or angry when they’re pulled over.

In this situation, the police officer who pulled you over has the upper hand, and it’s up to them whether to hand you a fine – so there’s no point in being angry or snotty.

Henry DeVries from Forbes recommends using the following phrase word-for-word, “Officer, if you could let me off with a warning, I would appreciate it; and if you can’t, I certainly understand.”

Look at it this way: if being polite doesn’t get you out of a ticket, being disrespectful and rude certainly wouldn’t have worked either.

You might as well be nice.

3. Sweet talk them afterwards

So, neither of the above methods worked, and you were still fined – but did you know you can appeal it with AARTO (The Administrative Adjudication of Road Offences) so that it’s reduced or even revoked?

Here are some of the scenarios where the traffic department might let you off the hook:

  • You’re no longer the car owner, so the fine should go to the current owner.
  • Special circumstances, such as an emergency. You may be asked to provide proof, so don’t make up a story.
  • You’re unemployed.
  • You’re a student.
  • There were inaccuracies on your fine. Any inaccuracies may render it unenforceable, so carefully double-check the date, your number plate, your name, and the nature of the fine.

You can visit the AARTO website or fill in this form and deliver it by hand or post to appeal a fine.

4. We’ll do it for you

Did you know that all comprehensive car insurance policies come standard with our Fines Protect benefit? If you’re fined, here’s what we’ll do to make your life easy-breezy:

  • Alert you to new fines: If your fine is due to being caught by a speeding camera, we’ll notify you of the fine so you don’t get a surprise the next time you’re pulled over.
  • Facilitate seamless payment: We’ll help you ensure your fine is paid on time – no extra admin for you!
  • Negotiate reductions: We’ll liaise with AARTO on your behalf to negotiate a reduction or revocation, so you don’t have to.

*T&Cs apply.

Get a FREE 5-minute car insurance quote 100% online with Along with Fines Protect, our car insurance plan comes with Road Protect, Licence Protect, Accident Protect, and a whole range of other benefits – all at a price you choose with Name Your Price™*.