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INSIDECOSTARICA.COM | COSTA RICA  NEWS |        Thursday 28 July 2011

102.000 Traffic Tickets Under Appeal

The count is now to 102.000 traffic tickets that are under appeal by drivers who either feel they were wrongly ticketed or as the head of the Consejo de Seguridad Vial (Cosevi), Silvia Bolaños says, have filed for sport.

The Cosevi is overwhelmed by the number of "impugnaciones" or appeals and is making a call to all drivers to please appeal if and only when they feel they were wrongly ticketed.

Bolaños said on Wednesday that Ticos (Costa Ricans) are using the appeal process as a "sport", appealing because they can and/or to delay having to pay up.

In Costa Rica, any traffic ticket can be appealed within 10 working days of being issued. To appeal, a driver has only to file notice with the Cosevi which then decides if there is merit to the appeal. Normally appeals take one or two months. But under the enormous weight of the number of filings, appeals are taking a year or more.

Added to the volume is the restrictions on processing certain appeals for pending cases before the Constitutional Court, such as the recent ruling with respect to seatbelts, where the Court sided with the appellant that the fine for not wearing a seatbelt was not reasonable.

Filing an appeal also stalls the process of collection and costs such as late charges and interest to an unpaid fine. A driver is ticketed and if the fine is not appealed within the 10 working days must pay up. Failure incurs late fees, penalties and interest that begins to accrue which is then attached to the Marchamo, annual circulation permit that is due and payable by December 31 of each year.

However, filing an appeal, the process (collection) is stalled and late fees, penalties and charges only apply from the date of the resolution if decided that the ticket had merits. The process can now take more than a year after the ticket was issued. In some cases tickets are in the appeal process for more than 18 months.

The Cosevi says that the amount of the fines of all the appeals are in the billions of colones, monies that are targeted to be used towards driver education and safety programs.

The rise in the amount of appeals is directly due to the high fines in the Ley de Tránsito that went into effect on March 1, 2010, when the maximum traffic fine went from ¢20.000 to more than 20 times that in extreme cases.




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