Guest Writer

How to Beat an Unfair Traffic Ticket

By Lic. Hiro Yatabe, Attorney at Law & Public Notary

This article aims to provide information about what to do if you are given a transit fine that you think you do not deserve. Or, at least, which legal strategy you can follow to delay or avoid the payment.

NOTE: This procedure of “IMPUGNACION DE MULTA DE TRANSITO”, works mainly (or only) for fines where there is not a definite proof of your responsibility of committing the infringement. Your chances of winning are scarce, in cases of: getting caught with the radar driving at 120 km an hour, speeding in front of a school or driving under the influence of alcohol (and you are tested), among others.

After you are given the fine, you have 10 days to appeal it (IMPUGNACION DE MULTA DE TRANSITO).

Where do you have to go?

You have to go the COSEVI office of the Region where the fine was issued.

You can choose Puntarenas or San Isidro. I recommend San Isidro, since the road is in better condition than going to Puntarenas. When you get to San Isidro, ask for directions.

When you get to the COSEVI office, you ask for the “FORMULARIO DE IMPUGNACION”. Fill it out. Follow the instructions provided. If you need assistance ask the secretary of the office to help you.

NOTICE: Prior to heading to the COSEVI office, get your story straight in a believable fashion so it works in your favor before filling out the “FORMULARIO DE IMPUGNACION”. Essentially the idea is to create doubt in the mind of the judge, about whether you did what the Transit Police says in the fine or not. In principle, in case of doubt, the judge is forced to rule in your favor.

At COSEVI in San Isidro, you will present the following documentation along with the “FORMULARIO DE IMPUGNACION”:

  1. Original & copy of your ID – up to date (resident ID or passport).
  2. Original & copy of your Driver License – up to date (Costa Rican or US).
  3. Original & copy of the fine (BOLETA).
  4. Original & copy of RTV – up to date (Revision Tecnica Vehicular).
  5. Original & copy of your Road Tax – up to date (DERECHO DE CIRCULACION-MARCHAMO).
  6. Property Registry Certificate of Ownership of the Vehicle (CERTIFICADO DE PROPIEDAD DE VEHICULO DEL REGISTRO PUBLICO). You can get this certification at the Bank of Costa Rica-BCR in San Isidro or with your attorney.

NOTICE: Keep in mind that you cannot have fines pending on the vehicle. If you have any, you must pay them first. For all the requisites from 1 to 5 you have to present the originals at COSEVI for them to verify.

If you are not going to do this personally you need to give a “Special Power of Attorney” to the person who will assist you. I recommend do it personally, otherwise you must provide your personal documentation to who is going to help you.

Drive safely and comply with the transit regulations to avoid an expensive fine.

Contact  Hiro Yatabe at cell 8866-2999, [email protected].