$100 bills and a gavel

Paid an admission of guilt fine? Reverse the conviction!

If you’ve paid an admission of guilt fine, and the consequences were not explained to you by the Police, you may have grounds to have the conviction set aside.

The payment of an admission of guilt fine will always result in a criminal record. A criminal record can have serious consequences for people who are pursuing employment, or who want to apply for a visa, amongst other things.

In the recent case of State v Matross 2019 (2) SACR 331 (WCC), the Western Cape High Court ruled to have the conviction of the applicant overturned. The applicant paid an admission of guilt fine of R100 for the possession of a small quantity of marijuana, after spending a night in the police’ cells. In her review application, the applicant alleged that she was not aware that, by paying the fine, this would stand as a previous conviction.

The Court held that the plain wording of s 56(1)(d) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, imposed a duty on the police officer to disclose to an accused the serious consequences of paying an admission-of-guilt fine. In the absence of such a warning the entry of the fine in the criminal record book by the clerk of the court had to be set aside and expunged.

At Witz Inc, we can assist with applications for expungement as well as review applications for admission of guilt fines.