What is AARTO?
What is AARTO?
The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Acts is an administrative process that ensures motorists adhere to traffic rules. It applies only in the jurisdictions that fall under the Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department.
The Criminal Procedure Act, which is more punitive in nature, governs other areas of South Africa. While you will be stopped and fined if found with an AARTO infringement, you cannot be arrested for the same. At least this is what the Act prescribes. As you will read later in this article, there are rogue police officers who threaten motorists with arrest for infringements.
AARTO infringement notice
When found in breach of traffic regulations within the JMPD and TMPD jurisdictions, an AARTO infringement notice will be issued. This notice will require you to pay a fine depending on the traffic law you have broken. However, you will not have to answer criminal charges in court in most cases.
When an AARTO infringement results in criminal charges
Some infringements result in court cases for which you will face jail time if convicted. Once convicted you will have a criminal record appearing permanently against your name and you will have your driving license suspended.
Finding out about AARTO infringements and paying
Infringement notices arrive by registered mail, according to the Act itself. If for some reason you don’t get your notice in your mailbox, you have the option of query the official AARTO website. You should be aware, though, that not all AARTO infringements appear here; notices issued by the JMPD between June 1st 2010 and December 2012. The same information on the AARTO site is at paycity.co.za.
If you have ever received an infringement notice, you will quickly note that there is no information on how to settle your fine. There is a page on aarto.co.za that takes visitors through the payment step by step.
When you should not pay for AARTO infringements
Those who enforce the AARTO have at times been guilty of not doing so, or doing so in a dishonest manner for their personal gain. A number of drivers with foreign driving licenses have had to pay many times the amount for traffic offences than the Act prescribes.
JMPD officers have also been found setting up illegal roadblocks at which they force people to pay for infringements, threatening them with arrest. Some of these infringement notices are not even legally served. Motorists should know that there is no provision for their arrest for outstanding AARTO or Criminal Procedures Act fines.
These abuses of the AARTO specifically by the JMPD have resulted in massive loss of confidence in the Act by both government bodies and the general public.
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