We all get fines from time to time, even the most careful drivers. Most people leave the submission of a notice of objection to it, because they dread ‘all that hassle’ and think the objection has no chance in advance. According to mr. Ben Polman of the legal support platform easybezwaar.nl, this is a major misconception. According to him, tens of millions of hard-earned euros are wrongly transferred to Leeuwarden every year.
There are more reasons than you think why a fine can and even should be quashed. Ben Polman: “23,000 traffic fines per day are issued in our country. Every automated system has a certain error rate, which is shockingly high in the case of traffic fines. The number of fines imposed incorrectly is 33 percent. This is mainly because many fines are initially imposed on the license plate holder. But in the case of lease or car rental companies, the license plate holder is not the culprit. “
Pay an unjustified fine anyway
Yet, if we subtract this group from the error rate, according to the figures of the Ministry of Justice itself (!), There is still a messy 25 percent left. The big point is that only 5 percent of all citizens object. By the way, there are still four hundred thousand a year. However, due to the high workload, the government does not look so thoroughly at the first objections submitted. With one quick stroke of the pen, an objection is rejected and you will receive a standard letter at home.
“Then you have to persevere and appeal, because the fight against the government apparatus is a long-term one. Unfortunately, the rest of the administrators pay the unjustified fine,” says Ben. “In our view, those people should lodge an objection and if they find that a hassle, we will do it for them. Lawyers are usually better at this than citizens. The same workload at the government makes a well and properly drawn up notice of objection also promising. even get the idea that the objection makes sense, he is more likely to quash the fine. Follow-up proceedings or going to court will only cost the government time and money. “
Which cases should you consider when it comes to promising objections? Much more than you think, says Ben Polman. “Just to name a few: a speed camera that records a speeding rider must be inspected and calibrated every so often. That does not always happen. The equipment must be completely reliable by law. We request that data to be checked. But there are countless situations that justify an objection, such as an unclear situation where traffic signs contradict each other. You see that a lot during detours. Or a prohibition sign that has become completely overgrown and therefore not perceptible. And then there is the official report. “
Through red? Or was it still orange?
“What we also check at easybezwaar.nl is whether reporting officers have adhered to the rules”, continues Ben. “If they issue a ticket on the license plate while they had sufficient opportunity to stop the driver, the officers will, in principle, issue an unjustified fine. Many mistakes are also made in the preparation of the official report. who had been caught in an alcohol test by the magistrate and acquitted of drink-driving. Not because he was not supposed to have drunk, but because he had not been made aware of his right to a counter-investigation. ”
How can you prove that you have not been made aware of this? Those agents may claim they did. “Perhaps that is the case, but it must simply be stated in the official report. The equipment for the breath analysis must also meet a number of conditions and be inspected every so often, otherwise the result will be invalid. an incredible number of conditions that the procedure must meet, but of which the average citizen is hardly aware. ”
“” The error rate for traffic fines is alarmingly high. “”
But then you are talking about cases where the violation did happen, right? “Well, you don’t always know for sure. If you have been flashed somewhere, you often only find out later when the ticket falls on your doormat. Then everyone assumes that he must have driven too fast. But that does not necessarily have to be the case if the equipment is not good. Or the cop’s sighting. Suppose you were fined by a cop for allegedly driving through red, while you think it was just orange. Who says that the officer saw it right and you didn’t? ”
The Subdistrict Court. For he always makes the testimony of a sworn civil servant more important. “Indeed, and that is a thorn in the side of many lawyers. An observation of a police officer counts double in court. But you may have had passengers in your car who can all testify that you just passed orange. That changes the case in court. See, cops are only human. Take calling with a cell phone behind the wheel. This is only punishable if the car is moving, but not if the car is stationary. So if you are waiting in front of an open bridge, you can. Often officers don’t even know that. ”
Also challenge justified fines
Then you have circumstances that put the violation in a completely different light. Maybe you gave way to an ambulance behind you trying to cross the intersection. And that is why you have crossed the electronic sensors in the asphalt at walking pace and you have been flashed. Or you were driving too fast because you wanted to take a child with an arterial bleeding to the ER as quickly as possible. “I had one such case where a father was first fined for speeding and then for parking at the emergency room. In my opinion, that is really going too far. So even if the offense was actually committed, you have every right to to challenge them. Even if you don’t have any good excuses. Then you still have to check whether the government has fulfilled all its obligations. “
Isn’t that morally questionable to you? Surely it is not the intention that every offender can easily get away with irresponsible driving behavior? Ben Polman: “It is certainly not the case that a quashed judgment is a license to ignore the traffic rules from now on. See, most of the fines are rightly written. But the fines in our country are tough. These often make a substantial intrusion into the lives of citizens. That is why it is right that the government must adhere to strict rules in this regard. It is everyone’s right, perhaps a duty, to check whether the government has complied with it. Citizens must keep the government on their toes. There are no fewer than 5,700 fines per day that should not actually have been imposed. That is why we founded easybezwaar.nl. ”
Not a law firm
Well I read something strange on easybezwaar.nl. Help with submitting an objection after a parking or traffic fine costs five euros, but if the objection is honored, it is completely free. Does this mean that you are doing this for idealistic motives? “Certainly in terms of motivation, but not in terms of remuneration,” says Ben. “If the objection has proven to be justified, we will receive compensation from the government. There is a jar for lawyers who object on behalf of other people. Depending on the complexity of the objection, it varies from 65 euros to a few hundred euros. The 5 euros that we ask for an objection that has not been accepted is an expense allowance for requesting the file and a stamp. But we do not earn anything from it ”
“” The workload at the government makes a well-drafted notice of objection promising. “”
“It is important to know that we are not a law firm,” Ben continues. “Our lawyers only take over the citizen’s communication with the government. And we provide information on our website to those who want to do it themselves. What many people do not know, for example, is which offenses exactly result in a criminal record. A speeding offense of more than 30 km / h is often paid quickly, without people realizing that they also agree to receive a criminal record. Without disputing the fine, you can, however, very well avoid getting a criminal record. And that can be of vital importance for some professions. But the time to do so is much shorter than for traffic offenses, namely only two weeks. ”
What drives Ben Polman anyway? “The government has enormous amounts of knowledge, specialists, equipment and research capabilities, but the average citizen has nothing. And in an intimidated manner, he pays the fine, even if it is unjustified. That’s just not fair. ”
Men who love cars …
Bavo Galama wrote columns for Auto Review for ten years. Those columns, written between 2008 and 2018, turned out to be surprisingly topical when reread. The most beautiful fifty stories have therefore been bundled. Sometimes timeless, sometimes just as a nice sign of the times. The conclusion that Bavo draws after ten years: men who love cars are simply more fun. Mannen who love cars is 150 pages thick, costs 14.95 euros and can be ordered immediately.