“Traffic Summons”. Why must the authorities summon us?

Fines and summons have their duty to play. It is meant to maintain a driver’s good behavior. Another is to prevent the occurrence of road accidents.

Drivers who commit traffic offenses can be fined or charged by the Police authorities, the J.P.J. or the Majlis Perbandaran. Minor accidents or traffic offenses like parking for instance can be dealt with by the Police. Summons can be issued to guilty drivers.

In serious accidents, summons are mostly made out by the J.P.J. authorities. The Majlis Perbandaran normally deals with the non payment or late payment of parking meters around town.

Non parking offenses are also the domain of Majlis Perbandaran. Can you just imagine what the condition of the town area would be if Majlis Perbandaran does not play its role in looking after the town’s traffic woes?

Summons which are issued by J.P.J. authorities along our nation’s highways, to buses and lorries for offenses such as non-inspection of vehicles, speeding along the “lebuhraya” and non-possession of driving licenses are mostly chargeable in courts.

Caught “speeding”, a driver can be fined up to RM1000 or imprisoned 6 months or even both charges could be applied simultaneously. Remember, offenses which deals with licenses are “chargeable” in the courts.

This means a driver will have to appear in courts to face a magistrate or “hakim” for the offenses committed.

Simple or “minor” offenses issued by the Police are known as “compound” cases. Normally, one month is given to the offender to pay up the fines imposed. Most of the fines can easily be paid at the nearest Police Traffic Department.

Traffic offense (like parking) or non-payment of parking dues are under the Majlis Perbandaran’s domain. Its fines can be settled at the Majlis Perbandaran office itself.

Paying or setting “summons” is not the end of everything. There is something called computer “online” system. When a person settles a fine or “summons” there is a system of tabulation, under the “Demerit System” at the Transport Headquarters at Putrajaya, which tabulates demerit points which will be awarded to drivers. It’s advisable you read an earlier blog post on this subject.

Briefly, the “Demerit System” is meant only for “P” (P.D.L.) or Probationary Driver’s License holders and C.D.L. (Competent Driver’s License) drivers. A (P.D.L.) license holder will have his P License suspended should he obtain more than 10 points within a year’s period. A C.D.L. holders will have action taken against him should he obtain 15 demerit points in a 2 year period.

It should be informed that L.D.L. (Learners Driver’s License) or “L” license holders are not involved in the system. “L” holders are temporary license holders.

Next, we arrive at the question of what do we do when we receive a “summon”? Be it a Police, J.P.J. or Majlis Perbandaran summons, we have little choice but settle or pay off the fine.

Summons by the Police could be settled at the nearest Traffic Police Department. You could either go personally or ask a friend to make the payment for you.

If you wish to appeal for a lower rate or payment, you will first have to meet a Police official who holds the rank of at least a Police Inspector, who then has the authority to decide whether to lower the amount charged or otherwise.

J.P.J. summons come under the category of “compound” or “appear in court” cases. Here the problem is simple. “Compound” cases can be paid off at J.P.J. offices. For “court” cases, you have no alternative- “come to court” to face the magistrate, as explained.

In chargeable offenses (court cases), remember the offender has to appear in court as scheduled. What happens if one fails to appear on the date scheduled for the hearing? Simple, judgment will be made against you. Meaning: You have lost the case! I shall not go into the technicalities of court procedures at this stage.

What happens to parking offenses and non payment / late payment of parking meters? This is a parking offense under the Majlis Perbandaran authority. As of now, these offenses are not “one line” with J.P.J. or the Police or the Courts.

A driver will have to go to the office of these authorities to settle the dues. If you insist to be “stubborn” and refuse to settle your dues, then it’s up to the authorities concerned to initiate legal proceedings against you.

What do we do after settling our fines and summons? Be it at J.P.J., Majlis Perbandaran or Police cases, the advice is “Keep Your Receipts” well. File them properly. In future you might be asked to prove payment.

You may have sold off your car umpteen years ago, but believe it or not, one fine day, the Police, J.P.J. or even the Insurance company might send you a letter claiming you are the owner of the said vehicle concerned.

This happened to my friend, a Mr. Ong, who though sold off his jalopy 18 years ago, came to me for help recently. As you might have guessed it, some authorities, in 2009, are hounding him for “ownership”.

As this article is getting too long, I choose not to proceed to make it any longer, but before signing off, permit me to give a little not of advice.

Section 13(1) of the A.P.J. ’87 reads: “Failure to make changes with regards to ownership of a vehicle is an offense”. So do not make the same mistake my friend did. Well, you know what to do.