Supposedly caught by speed radar when I was actually in hospital

I don't know if anyone else has had this problem but I was supposedly photographed doing 84 in a 70 limit a few months ago. Number 1. I may be weird but I never break the speed limit. 2. I pass the camera at least 3 times a day for the past 6 years and know it is there. 3. my gps pings when I reach a radar and 4. I was actually in hospital with my car in the car park when I was supposedly breaking the limit.

I filled in the form asking for a photograph as I have no intention of paying 45 euro when I did not commit the crime. The reply came one day before the fine was increased. The letter said that as I did not send my request by registered post then they were ignoring it. I was away at the time and when I came back I found that I had another letter from them saying that as I have not paid the fine of 45 euros then it is now increased to 180 euros.

After reading the original form again it said quite clearly that I should request a photo by normal mail and not registered mail. Each time I contact them by phone they tell me that they have made a mistake and then promptly cut me off.

Any ideas on what I can do next as I would rather go to court and fight this than pay a fine for something I did not do?

You buy a trailer Paul...of course....and its probably a specific type of trailer you need to buy (that may or may not have as its CEO a friend of someone important in the government????) just saying....

I like it!

Paul, regarding the GPS, you just have to update the software of the radar warning bit. Then, instead of telling you there's a radar/speed trap 300 metres ahead or that you're on a section where the police regularly set speed traps, it says "dangerous bit of road ahead"! Well at least that's what my Garmin says. It's another bit of nonsense as we all know that a dangerous bit of road means there's a speed trap somewhere.

mentioned this story to friends last night over of my friends said she knows a woman in the Bordeaux area who argued with a policeman who had caught her allegedly speeding one evening, which she denied....she argued the toss and was thrown in the clink for the night...with a small bottle of breakfast....before she was allowed to go next morning...she had to pay the fine.....hate to say it...but you are not in the UK now....all this nonsense about not reading letters if they are not sent by registered this a way of boosting the postal service? I have to many things here seem to be totally unfair...and its always impossible to win in these situations.....either that or by proving you are right you will spend loads of your time and be well out of pocket at the end....

Many thanks for the info from everyone. I am going to contest it and will quite happily go to court or even jail if the case arises as I know it was not me that broke the speed limit.

I have been told by the powers that be that I do indeed have to pay the fine and then contest it and if I am successful they will give me SOME of the money back. How unfair is that?

As to the GPS I find it amazing that a standard GPS is actually now classed as illegal just because it warns you that a radar may be coming up. I assumed that law was for specific radar warning system and not for a standard GPS. This must mean that just about every single GPS is actually illegal in France.

While I am on my bandwagon (blood boiling here) I have never ever driven after drinking alcohol but now have to have 2 breath testers in the car which will NEVER be used but have to be bought each time they are out of date. Also you have to have a fire extinguisher as well which is interesting as my wife has qualified as a fire official at her work and the fire experts who gave her the course told her you should never tackle any car fire with a car fire extinguisher. What the hell is going on? Also what constitutes a first aid kit which also you have to have in a car? Two sets of spare bulbs as well? I have to take my Smart to a dealer to change any bulbs so even if I have two packs then I cannot change them. Also if I could change a broken bulb then by having one complete pack and one incomplete pack I am effectively breaking the law. So does that mean I have to have three packs? On the same note if I have two alcohol testers and decide to use one and find I am not over the limit then if I am stopped I will get fined for having only one test kit. So I have to buy three. Where do all of these things go in my Smart. grrrrrr. From angry Paul.

You're far from unique, Paul. The TV regularly has reports of tractors caught doing 130 kph on the motorway or not paying to park in the centre of Paris when they've never left the farm. One guy was done for speeding on the motorway on a Mobylette and another for speeding in a car that couldn't actually move! Either they've misread the number plate or someone has put plates with your registration on his car, which is happening a lot. And it is extremely difficult to contest the fine. To start with you can only contest it after you've paid it. But by paying it you're tacitly admitting you're guilty... No-one seems to check that the number plate actually goes with the vehicle in the photo. It's a lot of nonsense but it's causing a lot of aggro for a lot of people. I know there is a campaign group out there somewhere but afraid I don't have details. Write with the evidence to whoever it is that deals with these things and copy the whole thing to everyone you can think of -- the prefet, your local deputé, the ministry of transport, motor magazines ... basically kick up a stink. All, as Brian says, by LRAR (Lettre Recommandée avec Accusé de Réception).

Hi Paul,

I absolutely agree with Brian and Carol's comments that this should be followed up with a complaint plus any evidence you have sent by registered post. It's nonsensical that they refused your first form, saying it had to be by RP - if they were capable of reading it then obviously they'd received the bloomin thing. It won't prove which car you were driving but do you still have any parking chitty issued by the hospital car park - it might specify times, as well as confirmation of your appointment by the hospital.

A little note on this subject in case you're not aware. GPS equipment which warns of speed cameras etc are now banned in France (since Jan 2012). It might be worth NOT mentioning your pinger if this applies to the system you have. A brief outline of the regulation can be found on

Hope you get this resolved without being made to jump through hoops.

hmmm....interesting that you are always cut off on the phone...Brian is right....carry on and fight it....too easy to give in and good to point out that the letter didnt need to be sent by registered post....and because it wasnt...doesnt mean they dont have to read it! drives me nuts that the only way any letter in France is considered is if its sent registered post... is the regular post here so totally rubbish that nothing but registered post is delivered? good luck...let us know how it goes...

I think you have to go to your Préfet with that. You'll need an attestation that you were in hospital and also some evidence that your car was not being used by somebody else. Send your complaint by registered post or you will find again that it will not be dealt with.