Proposed bill to scrap lockdown fines from criminal record

CAPE TOWN- The Department of Justice and Correctional Services is considering a bill which would allow minor lockdown offences to be discarded from the offenders criminal record.

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery said in a parliamentary briefing on Monday that the proposed legislation would stop the ‘admission of guilt’ fines from attracting criminal records.

Earlier this month the South African Judiciary issued a list of offences and how much money citizens will have to pay if they are found breaking lockdown rules.

If caught or arrested offenders have the option to pay an ‘admission of guilt’ fine.

These fines allow for a person to admit guilt for a less serious offence without having to appear in court, which prevents an unnecessary overload of the court system.

If South Africans currently chose to pay the fine in accordance with the offence it could automatically add the offence to their criminal record.

According to a law firm based in Pietermaritzburg, Tatham Wilkes says that if a criminal record arises from paying an admission of guilt fine, it will be valid for 10 years.

Having a criminal record, even if only from breaking a lockdown rule will make it difficult for the offender to get a job or a visa to travel overseas, or apply for a firearm license.

 

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