Italian Traffic Fines: A Complete Guide to Fight Your Ticket

Italian police driving a blue car

Are you trying to figure out what to do with your Italian fine? What would happen if you don’t pay for it? The truth is, nobody likes getting a traffic ticket. They are costly, time-consuming, and sometimes unfair. But how can you deal with them?

It may be a little confusing for you to understand Italian laws. However, you risk getting into trouble if you don’t make an effort to do so. You can’t turn a blind eye to something like this.

So, I inspire you to have some patience and read this article carefully. I did tons of research to help you solve your problem.

Table of Contents

What Types of Fines Can You Get in Italy?

You can get a traffic fine for many reasons in Italy. In most cases, it will be no more than an administrative sanction. But if the offense is too serious, you may suffer additional charges.

These are the most common types of tickets in Italy:

  • Speeding tickets
  • Entering ZTLs (Restricted Traffic Zones)
  • Parking bans
  • Driving in bus lanes
  • Unpaid tolls

If you are a tourist, the chances are that you got one of those fines. It is quite useless to complain about road traffic rules. Every country has its own laws, and you must learn them before driving.

Speeding Tickets

Italy has very strict speed limits laws. According to a police report, there were 657.804 speeding tickets in 2019. That’s about 1802 violations per day.

Speed limits depend on the type of road, vehicle, and environmental conditions. You can read all the rules in Art. 142 of the Italian Highway Code (CdS). Still, here are the limits in normal situations:

Classification Speed Limit
Urban Streets50 km/h
Secondary Suburban Roads90 km/h
Main Suburban Roads110 km/h
Highways130 km/h

How Much Is a Speeding Ticket in Italy?

If you exceed the speed limits, a device will take a photo of your vehicle’s plate. The most popular speeding machine is called Autovelox. But there is another known as Tutor, which determines your average speed in a track.

Charges for driving over the speed limit in Italy (Art. 142 CdS):

Speed RangeAdministrative Sanction
Up to 10 km/km€41 to €169
Between 10 km/h to 40 km/h€169 to €680
Between 40 km/h to 60 km/h€532 to €2,127
More than 60 km/h€829 to €3,316

All the machines automatically apply a 5% leeway. However, it must be at least 5 km/h. For example, you can drive up to 137 km/h if the limit is 130 km/h. And if the sign says 70 km/h, you won’t get fined as long as you don’t exceed 75 km/h. Use the rounding rule.

Entering ZTLs

ZTL stands for Zona Traffico Limitato in Italian. Basically, you can’t enter these zones if you don’t have a special permit. The government created them to reduce pollution in the city centers.

It is fairly easy to fall into a ZTL, especially if you are a tourist. These areas have cameras at the entrance of each gate. When an unauthorized vehicle enters, it takes a picture of the plate. Then authorities check the photos to determine the sanction.

According to Art. 7 CdS, a ZTL fine can range from €84 to €335. Also, you need to add around €14,20 for notification and assessment costs.

Can You Get Multiple ZTL Fines?

Imagine that you are driving near a ZTL in Florence. You get lost in the historic center, and you don’t know those areas even exist. So, you enter the same restricted passage multiple times. What does the law have to say about this?

The Art. 198 CdS has a specific procedure in case of multiple violations. Basically, you have the option to pay the most expensive fine increased by three. Infractions must not be made too far from each other.

However, this rule doesn’t apply to fines for restricted zones. In fact, each violation is considered a stand-alone conduct. The Supreme Court of Cassation said that drivers must pay all the penalties.

You still have a chance to get most of your fines canceled. If the time between each infraction is just a few minutes, the Judge might consider it a single behavior. You will only have to pay the regular price of one fine.

Can You Get Fined If You Stay in a Hotel?

Usually, you can enter a restricted zone if your hotel is located near it. The hotelier will have to communicate to the police your license plate number in advance. Then, your vehicle will appear in the database as authorized.

However, never assume that your hotel transferred your details to local authorities. Sometimes staff members forget to do it. If that happens, the cameras will detect your vehicle as unauthorized. You will receive the fine because you were not registered in their system.

In this case, it is possible to appeal to the Judge. You have to show proof of your booking and the commitment of the hotel. If the debate is rejected, you could complain to the hotel to claim damages.

You can’t park in restricted zones unless your hotel allows it. Generally, you will have permission to pick up and drop off your luggage. But then you must leave your car outside the ZTL or get a daily subscription. It is a good idea to notify your hotel before arriving.

Can Disabled People Enter a ZTL?

According to a 1996 Decret, you can drive and park in ZTLs if you are disabled. The only requirement is to display your badge. Whether the disabled person is the driver or a passenger, you shouldn’t get fined. You can access any restricted area as long as it is authorized for public transportation.

No law obliges you to notify the municipality in advance. But it is recommended to communicate your transit within the following 48 hours. If you don’t, the fine is still not valid, and you can ask for its cancelation.

Parking Tickets

Parking is one of the biggest issues that drivers have in Italy. It can be quite difficult to find a good lot in the city. If you want a free space, you may end up spending hours to get one. Another option is to just pay for paid parking.

Some types of parking tickets in Italy:

  • No-parking ban — €41
  • Parking in blue lines — €41
  • Parking in yellow lines — €84 to €335
  • Failure of displaying parking meter — €42 to €173
  • Parking above the sidewalks — €84 to €335

If you want to learn more about parking rules in Italy, make sure to check out this post. You will never receive a ticket again.

Should You Find a Ticket in Your Windshield?

When you are away from the car, the police leave you a paper. But don’t get confused; this is not the actual fine. It is just a warning to notify you in advance of the infraction and avoid extra costs. 

The police are not required to leave a ticket on the windshield of your car. Even if you don’t find it, the fine is still valid. No law enforces authorities to give a notice of payment before notification to the offender.

You can choose from these two options if you received the notice:

  1. Pay the notice immediately: If you pay the notice within 15 days, no additional charges will be added. You will get a discount if you make the payment within 5 days. Since notices are informal, you can’t dispute them. You need the official fine to do so.
  2. Wait for the original fine: If you don’t pay the notice or find it on your windshield, you will receive the real ticket at your address. In this case, you will have to pay for the shipping costs. You will have 5 days again to get the discount.

Driving in Bus Lanes

Bus lanes are called “corsie preferenziali” in Italy. Basically, they are reserved roads for public transportation. You will usually see a white road marking with a yellow text. Also, you will notice a vertical sign with a red circle.

You can’t get distracted when driving in a large city. With all the traffic, you may don’t see bus lane signs. The roads can turn into a reserved track all at once. According to Art. 7 CdS, you can get a fine from €80 to €323.

The same rules apply to bus lanes and restricted zones. Both have telematic doors to detect unauthorized vehicles. In 2018, the Cassation clarified that any device authorized for ZTLs could work in reserved lanes without prior consent.

Finally, you can ask to pay one fine if you make several infractions in the same lane within a few minutes. In this case, the Italian Penalty Code applies the principle of continuity. Disabled people can use bus lanes without any restrictions.

A short video about ZTLs and bus lanes

Unpaid Tolls

If you don’t pay a toll in Italy, you will receive a statement for non-payment. The printout allows you to continue your road trip and pay for the highway later. Most of the time, tourists confuse it with a payment receipt.

No further actions will be taken if you make the payment within 15 days. However, the police draw up the fine after 50 days from the date of transit. In the meantime, you will receive another letter asking you to pay.

The obligation to pay the toll expires after five years.

How Much Are Unpaid Toll Fines?

According to Art. 176 CdS, the fines start from €87 to €345 plus the cost of the toll. There is also a reduction of two driving license points. Any expense will be borne by the debtor (Art. 373 CdS). And if you put road safety at risk by not paying, you could get a fine up to €7953

Autostrade D’Italia may enforce the collection of the debt. Also, it could accuse you of

bankruptcy fraud if you decide not to pay it. The Italian agency that recovers unpaid toll credits is called EssediEsse. You will never be right in most cases.

If you want to learn how tolls work in Italy, make sure to read this post. You will find what to do in any situation, including ticket loss.

What Is The Notification of a Ticket?

When you break a traffic rule, authorities have to inform you about it. This process is known as “contestation” in the Italian Highway Code. Depending on the infraction, the notification can be immediate or deferred.

According to Art. 200 CdS, all violations must be contested immediately. Whenever possible, the police must stop you the instant you commit the offense. Then, they have to draw up the ticket and give you a copy. It is illegal to send fines when immediate contestation is required.

You can refuse to accept the ticket in case of immediate contestation. However, it will be notified to your home at your expense. The signature of the offender is not necessary.

The police may not contest some violations directly on the spot. If it is risky or impossible to do so, the notification will occur after the infraction. Authorities will send the fine to the actual offender or vehicle owner. As stated in Art. 201, deferred contestation can happen in these situations:

  • Inability to reach a vehicle that is traveling at excessive speed
  • Passage with the red light in an intersection 
  • Not respecting an overtaking ban
  • Violations detected with speeding machines (Autovelox, Tutor, etc.)
  • The driver was away from the vehicle
  • Unauthorized access to ZTLs, bus lanes, historical centers, and pedestrian areas
  • Violations detected with devices managed by the police

It must be specified why the violation was not notified on the spot. If the reasons are not detailed, the fine is unlawful. They must be precise and not just refer to traffic rules generically.

What Are The Notification Terms?

The Art. 201 CdS has specific terms for deferred notifications. From the date of ascertainment, authorities must notify the fine within 90 days. The ticket expires after this period. You have the right to file a complaint if the terms are not respected.

As for non-Italian residents, the limit to notify the infringement is 360 days. It is more difficult to locate a foreign address. So, authorities have more time to send the fine to tourists.

What If You Hire a Car Rental Company?

The notification will take longer if you get a fine with a rented car in Italy. Even if the vehicle is not yours, you are always liable for any infraction. But the legal owner must respond to traffic violations together with the offender. In this case, Art. 196 CdS applies the “solidarity principle.”

If the violation is not contested immediately, it is notified to the vehicle owner. Thus, the car rental company will be the first to receive the ticket. To avoid the fine, this must inform the infractor’s data to authorities within 60 days. Here’s how it works:

  1. Authorities have 90 days from the ascertainment date to notify the national vehicle owner.
  2. The car rental company has 60 days to communicate your details to the police.
  3. Authorities have 90 days again to notify the actual offender of the fine. For foreign drivers, the limit is 360 days.

Essentially, it can take up to 510 days to notify a fine in Italy. There is no way to anticipate Italian traffic tickets. You can only wait until it arrives at your home. If the violation is contested immediately, the owner is still notified within 100 days.

How Are Notification Terms Calculated?

It is a little bit tricky to understand the notification terms. If you don’t know how to calculate them, you may end up making an unfounded appeal. This will result in a waste of time, energy, and money.

What Does Ascertainment Date Mean?

Until a few years ago, the days for notifying a fine were not very clear. Every municipality interpreted the terms in their own way. But with the sentence n. 7066, the Cassation finally clarified them. 

The terms are counted from the date of the infringement. When the law says ascertainment, it relates to the day of the offense. It doesn’t matter when the officers examine the violation. They are only justified if it is too difficult to identify the vehicle owner.

To be specific, the time limit runs the day following the infraction. If the last day is a holiday, it is extended to the next working day.

If you’ve rented a car, you don’t have to count from the date of infringement anymore. Now the notification terms start from the day authorities know your details.

When Is The Notification Completed?

The notification is not calculated from the day you receive the fine. But from the moment authorities hand over the ticket to the post office for delivery. In fact, what matters is the shipping date of the envelope. The date of receipt is irrelevant.

If the ticket arrives after 360 days, don’t assume it is expired. The police may bring it for delivery on the last day without any problem. For example, if they sent the envelope on the 359th day but you received it two months later, it is still on the rule.

Also, the municipality is not responsible for any postal delays. If you get your fine late, it is the post office’s fault.


How to Check The Notification

You can check the postmark to know the notification date. Usually, the ticket will have a short report. Look for something like “consegnato in data DD/MM/YYYY all’ufficio postale di….”

If you can’t see any of the two, just visit the Poste Italiane website. Then, click on the search bar “cerca spedizioni” and put the registered mail number. You will find it under the barcode at the top of your ticket. The police may also have used a private postal agency.

What Should a Ticket Have?

For a fine to be legit, it must have some requirements and characteristics. You need to read your ticket carefully before making any decision. Here is what you should check on your Italian traffic fine:

  • Name and surname of the offender
  • Date of the infraction (year, month, day, and approximated hour)
  • Authority and office that issued the infringement (e.g: Polizia Municipale di…)
  • The reporting officer who detected the infraction
  • Signature of the agents who issued the fine
  • Place of the infringement (city and street)
  • Vehicle data (license plate number, model, type, etc.)
  • Type of infraction (article number or a short description)
  • Amount to be paid
  • Terms and methods of payment
  • Competent authorities to appeal

Make sure to check if the IBAN corresponds to an Italian municipality.

How Can You Access the Photo?

You have the right to request a photo of the exact moment you committed the offense. Without it, the fine would not be valid. So, make sure to always check the picture before making any decision. For privacy reasons, the police never send the photo along with the ticket.

Most of the time, you will see the instructions to view the photo in your fine. Firstly, you have to go to the website of the municipality. Next, enter the listed information of the ticket in each blank field. Some cities such as Rome and Milan may require registration to do it.

Here’s what municipalities often ask to enter:

  • Ticket Code: You will see the code of the ticket after “Verbale N.”
  • Serial Number: It can be the letter T (ZTL), R (red light), V (speeding), etc.
  • Protocol Number: You will find it before the year.
  • License Plate: We say “targa” in Italian.
  • Date: The format is usually DD/MM/YY.

If the municipality doesn’t offer that service, simply send an email to it. Usually, you will find a form on its website. You have to compile it with your data, request, and the details of the infraction. Also, you need to attach a valid form of identification.

How Many Days Do You Have to Pay Italian Fines?

You have 60 days from the notification to pay your ticket. However, the amount depends on the payment date. The longer you wait, the higher the fine will be. These are the terms required in Art. 202 CdS:

  • Payment made within 5 days: If you pay within five days from the notification, you will get a 30% discount for early payment. You will find the exact amount on your ticket.
  • Payment made within 60 days: You can still get a price reduction if you pay in the following 55 days. It is not necessary to calculate any cost.
  • Payment made after 60 days: If you don’t make the payment within 60 days, you will have to pay the full cost of the fine. The total amount will almost double. 

Also, your ticket is enforceable after 60 days. Every six months, the penalty increases by 10% for late payment interests. 

When Does The Time Limit Run?

According to Italian law, the municipality and the offender have separate terms. Essentially, the time for your response starts from the day you become aware of the fine. Whether you decide to pay or appeal, you have to count from the date of receipt. 

In the same way as notifications, the time limit starts the day after you receive the ticket. If it ends on a public holiday or Sunday, it is delayed to the next business day. The last day is the deadline.

If you are not at home at the delivery time, your local post office will hold the letter. The time limit starts from the date you retire it. But if you don’t do it within 10 days, the ticket is still considered notified. The terms will run automatically from day 11 of the deposit.

As for immediate notifications, the terms start the day after the violation. You could also pay a deposit if you don’t want to lose the chance of appealing.

How Can You Pay an Italian Traffic Fine?

Post-Office (PosteItaliane)

If the police issued the fine, you could pay it directly at PosteItaliane. However, you can’t make the payment unless you personally go to the office. Also, you need an active bank account if you want to use the website to pay online.

In case you are in Italy, you have to fill out a bollettino postale. Write down the following information:

  • Recipient’s postal account number (c/c)
  • Amount to pay in figures (€)
  • Amount to pay in letters
  • Name of the beneficiary
  • Causal (ticket code, date of detection, and license plate)
  • Personal information (your name, surname, address, etc.)

Usually, you will find a completed form attached to your ticket. If you do, you only need to add your details and the amount to pay. Remember to bring cash with you.

Example of a bollettino postale

Tabaccherie (Lottomatica/Sisal)

While in Italy, you could go to an authorized retailer of Lottomatica Italia Servizi (Lis). You just have to put a barcode of your ticket under an optical reader. It is a very straightforward process, and you can find a tabaccheria almost anywhere.

Another option is to type the details of the infringement into the machine. Here’s what you have to enter:

  • Amount to pay
  • License plate number
  • Date of the infraction
  • Date of notification
  • Identification number of the notice
  • ISTAT code of the municipality

There is a commission fee of €2,00 per transaction. Also, the maximum amount allowed is €1,500. Make sure to keep the receipt for at least 5 years. Sisal betting shops work similarly to Lottomatica.

Bank Transfer

The best way to pay for Italian traffic tickets online is by wire transfer. With the IBAN code included on your ticket, you can send money directly to the municipality’s bank account. Write the license plate of the vehicle, date of infraction, and ticket number in the reference. 

An international wire transfer can easily cost you between $30 to $50. If you add it to the fine, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars. But don’t worry, there is a better option to avoid spending all your savings.

If you want to stop hassling, consider using Transferwise. It is hands down the cheapest method to send money abroad. You will avoid paying huge fees and annoying waiting times at the bank. Make sure to click on this link now to register for free.

Credit Card

You can choose to pay traffic fines on the municipality website. However, the procedure may vary from city to city. You have to follow all the instructions given in the fine.

Most of the time, you don’t need to register to pay online. You will be fine using your email to proceed with the payment. Usually, you only have to enter the ticket code, license plate number, and infraction date.

Some municipalities also use a payment system called PagoPa. Basically, it allows you to make all kinds of payments to Italian Public Administrations. You have to put the unique code of your ticket or codice di avviso (IUV). Then, enter your basic demographics and choose your payment method. Make sure to type the right amount.

You can pay with Visa, MasterCard, and Paypal. However, any fee for international transactions is determined by your local bank. There may be an extra 2,5% commission fee on the total amount for online payments.

When Is The Payment Considered Made?

If you choose to pay with any online service, you need to count the terms differently. According to the Interior Minister, the payment is considered made when the funds appear in the police account. 

It is not enough to send the money within the terms if it doesn’t arrive on time. So, be sure to consider the timelines for international transfers. It usually takes from 3-5 business days for the funds to be credited.

Thankfully, you have 2 extra days when you pay online. If the money is credited within 7 days, you will still get the 30% discount. Also, the time limit will rise from 60 to 62 days. Remember that you have to count from the next day you received the ticket.

Make sure to keep the receipt for at least five years.

Will The Car Rental Company Pay Your Fine?

The car rental company is never responsible for any traffic fine. When you signed the contract, you agreed with its conditions. 

If you see a charge on your credit card, it’s not that the car rental company paid for you. This cost is a service for handling your traffic ticket. You are paying for its assistance to forward your details to the local authorities.

Administrative fees range between €20 to €90 (IVA not included). In some cases, they can be more expensive than the ticket itself. These charges are legitimate, and you can’t do anything about them. You authorized the car rental company to charge your credit card.

Also, the car rental supplier will notify you of the ticket in advance. But you need to wait for the original one in order to pay or appeal.

Can You Dispute an Italian Traffic Fine?

If you find a problem with your ticket, you can make an appeal to get it canceled. However, not all reasons are valid in the courts. You must know the legal procedures and what makes a fine illegal.

Is It Worth Appealing?

First of all, you need to consider whether it is worth appealing or not. Often it is more convenient to pay with the 30% discount. It may take a lot of time and money to dispute a fine, especially if you are a foreigner.

Most tickets are not very expensive if you pay them promptly. For example, you would pay €28.78 for a no parking ticket in the first five days. Plus, you won’t have to deal with Italian bureaucracy and complicate systems. 

There are many risks involved when disputing a fine. You will lose the opportunity to get the price reduction. And if your appeal is rejected, the amount you pay will increase without considering the other expenses. I’m not trying to intimidate you, but these are the facts.

Still, it is perfectly okay if you want to contest your ticket. Just realize that lodging an appeal is a very tedious process. If you know that you are right, don’t let anyone scare you and go for it. But if your reasons are debatable, there is no point to keep fighting.

When Is the Ticket Not Valid?

It is critical to know what makes a fine not valid. As a general rule, your reason must be founded in the Italian Highway Code. Judges don’t accept personal excuses such as “I thought that…” or “this was my first time driving in Italy.”

You can contest your ticket only for formal or substantial defects. The Italian Highway Code regulates the practices of public administrations. If they make a mistake, you can refer to it to get your ticket canceled.

What Are Formal Defects?

Formal defects are related to the procedure the fine was issued. Put simply; you can contest a ticket if authorities don’t fill it correctly. As stated before, the law requires some essential details for the fine to be valid. You can reread the section “What should a fine have.”

Examples of formal defects:

  • Wrong indication of driver data
  • Fine notified after the time limit
  • Incorrect license plate number and type of vehicle
  • Inaccurate date or time of the infringement (if it compromises the identification of the event)
  • Inaccurate location of the infringement
  • Methods for payment or appeal not indicated
  • Incorrect indication of the law infringed (if there isn’t any other description)
  • Insufficient information on the obligation to provide driver details

However, some formal defects don’t cancel the ticket. You can’t appeal if the issue is irrelevant or your rights are not being compromised. For example, if the fine indicates the wrong type of vehicle, but the license plate number is correct, you may lose the dispute.

What About Substantial Defects?

It is possible to dispute a fine for substantial defects. Essentially, they relate to how the violation occurred in the first place. If the municipality’s irregular practices led you to commit the offense, you could dispute it.

There are many substantial defects for every type of infraction, but these are the most common ones:

  • Electronic device not approved and homologated for more than a year
  • Sign not visible or unclear due to vegetation, vandalism, bad placement, or other.
  • Parking not appropriately defined
  • ZTL passage indicated with the electronic sign “Varco Non Attivo”
  • Signal placed more than 4 km away from the speeding machine
  • Picture of the infraction not provided
  • Vehicle plate not legible in the photo
  • Presence of other cars in the picture (when it is not clear to identify the real offender)
  • Fine issued by a parking attendant outside his role (e.g: an officer that stop you for speeding)

Also, you need to prove in front of the Judge the substantial defect. The Judge will decide whether you are guilty or not.

Can You Contest a Fine After Paying It?

It may seem like a good idea to pay before contesting. But if you do, the judges will no longer accept your appeal. You agree to be guilty of committing the violation if you pay.

The Art. 203 CdS states that you can only appeal if you haven’t paid the ticket. So, you have to choose between paying or continuing, not both. Even if you are right, you won’t be able to get the paid amount back.

In case the car rental company pays your fine, you don’t lose the right of defense. This only applies if the offender and the vehicle owner are different people.

How Can You Appeal a Fine in Italy?

You can choose between administrative and judicial appeal in Italy. However, each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages. These are the three ways to get the cancelation of a traffic fine:

  1. Self-protection
  2. Prefetto
  3. Giudice di Pace

You have to be careful about which method you choose. With some fines, it is better to appeal to the Prefect and others to the Judge. As stated in Art. 204 CdS, you can’t do both at the same time.

Self-protection (Autotutela)

Self-protection allows you to report an error directly to the municipality. It is only useful if you see an obvious defect in the fine. For example, the license plate number doesn’t correspond to the car you’ve used. The city hall will proceed to revoke the ticket.

To request an appeal in self-protection, you have to send a registered letter to the municipality. You must and specify why the ticket is not valid on plain paper. Also, you need to attach a copy of the fine, documents, form of ID, and evidence of the issue.

However, the municipality is not required to respond to you. Public administrations usually reply if there is a clear error to avoid charges. You can also request the cancelation of the paper you find on your windshield.

If you’ve already paid the fine, you still have the right to self-protection. In this case, you must also send a copy of the payment receipt.

Self-protection doesn’t suspend the terms to appeal. In the meantime, you will still be able to go to the Prefect or Giudice di Pace. Make sure to not spend too much time on it.

Prefect (Prefetto)

Another way to appeal is to go to the Prefect. In this case, you have 60 days from the date of receipt to contest the ticket. Authorities will check if you’ve respected the terms by looking at the shipping date of the envelope. 

Appeals made to the Prefect are rarely successful. It usually works in the interests of the public administration and not the driver. So, people only go to the Prefect when the problem is clear or to contest a formal defect.

Administrative appeals are faster than judicial ones. If you don’t wait to wait for lengthy procedures, the Prefect is a great choice. Also, you don’t have to pay for anything except the cost of the registered letter. There is no need to have a lawyer.

How Do You Present an Appeal to the Prefect?

To present an appeal, you have to send a registered letter. You must apply to the Prefect of the city where you committed the violation. Alternatively, you can send the letter to the command that issued the fine. It is possible to bring it to the prefecture’s office as well.

Your request must be written in Italian and on plain paper. If you choose to use one side only, you must cross the other with an oblique line. You can use more than one sheet as long as you staple them. The registered letter must be sent without an envelope.

How Do You Submit the Appeal?

You can use simple language without being too formal. However, you must clearly express your petition to get the fine canceled. You have to explain all the reasons that led you to contest the ticket.

Here’s what you need to include:

  • Your basic demographics (name, surname, and residence)
  • Original handwritten signature from the person who received the fine
  • Affixing of the date
  • Ticket details including the date of infraction and notification
  • Legal grounds for appeal
  • Request for cancelation of the ticket (if you don’t specify your request, the Prefect will reject the appeal)
  • Request for cancelation of any sanction
  • Petition to be heard by the Prefect if needed

Necessary documents you need to attach:

  • Any proof or document to sustain your reasons 
  • Copy of the ticket you want to contest
  • Copy of the envelope
  • Copy of the payment slip
  • A form of identification

Click here to get a template from Moduli (use a translator).

When Should You Get A Response?

The Prefect has 210 days to respond if you send the letter directly to his address. If it doesn’t respond, the appeal is considered accepted, and you will be free of debt. In case you send the letter to the authority that issued the ticket, it will have 180 days.

What Could Be The Prefect’s Decision?

If the ticket is not legit, the Prefect will archive your case within 120 days. It will ask the municipality to cancel your fine. Afterward, the police will inform you of the Prefect’s decision. Make sure to keep all the documents that prove the cancelation.

But if your appeal is rejected, the Prefect will notify an order for the payment within 150 days. You will have to pay at least double the amount of each sanction. Also, you will get a refund of all expenses. 

From the date of the decision, you have 30 days to make the payment. It is possible to contest the Prefect’s decision to the Judge. 

Justice of Peace (Giudice di Pace)

The Judge is great when it is difficult to prove the invalidity of the fine. In other words, you have more chances to contest a substantial defect. It is usually a good option if the amount of the fine is high. Unlike the Prefect, you can request the presence of witnesses with the Giudice di Pace.

These are the costs for submitting an appeal to the Judge:

Fine AmountCourt FeeStamp Duty
Up to €1033€43None
From €1033.01 to €1100€43€27
From €1100.01 to €5200€98€27
From €5200.01 to €26,000€237€27
Some travel expenses could be added if the Judge is not in town.

You do not need an attorney as long as the fine does not exceed €1,100. However, it is very risky to appeal without one. You can lose a dispute that you could have easily won.

How Do You Lodge An Appeal to the Judge?

Foreigners have 60 days from the notification to appeal to the Judge. As for Italian residents, the time limit is 30 days. You have to write almost the same information in the letter as the Prefect. It is not possible to add more reasons after you send the appeal.

The request must be made to the competent Justice of Peace. You have the option to send a registered letter to its address or personally go to the office. Also, you can submit your appeal online via the Italian Minister of Justice website.

Here’s what you need to send in the envelope:

  • Four photocopies of the appeal and one original
  • Four photocopies of the ticket and the original
  • Copies of the documents you need to attach
  • Copy of a valid form of identification
  • Court fee and stamp
  • Possible request for the temporary suspension of the fine (recommended)

If you choose to use the online service, you still have to send the registration by mail. In fact, it is simply a method to help you save some time.

In order to register online, you have to select the city of the Judge. Next, click on “opposizione a sanzione amministrativa” and enter your details. Then you have to indicate the subject of the appeal and its basis. You will receive all the updates by email.

What Happens If You Lose the Dispute?

You can get the total or partial cancelation of the fine with the Justice of Peace. But if your appeal is rejected, the Judge will establish the amount you have to pay. Contrary to the Prefect, it doesn’t have to be the double of the sanction. 

The amount can vary from the min to the max of the fine, depending on the violation. Also, you have to add the costs of the proceedings. You have 30 days from the decision to pay or go to court.

If you lose both appeals, the Judge can redetermine the Prefect’s decision. In this way, you will only have to pay the original amount and no longer double.

Also, you are required to attend a hearing unless you have a valid reason. If you do not give any notice of your absence, the fine will be validated. You would have to pay for the ticket even if it was not legit.

Can You Ignore A Traffic Ticket From Italy?

There are different opinions about Italian tickets. Some people say that you should pay the traffic fine, and others just ignore it. But it is all up to you to decide whether to escape or face the problem.

Ignoring a ticket is not the most responsible thing to do. Apart from the possible consequences, you may lose your peace of mind. Also, remember that “a man reaps what he sows.”

Contrary to popular belief, traffic fines are not aimed only at tourists in Italy. It’s easy to justify yourself by saying they are a scam. Obviously, you can assert your rights if you believe the fine is wrong. But if you ignore it, you will never know what it could have been.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying to pay with your eyes closed. Just see if the ticket is fair or not.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay a Fine in Italy?

If you don’t pay an Italian traffic fine within 60 days, it will become an enforcement order. Every semester, the ticket will rise by 10% due to interest. Also, the town hall may outsource a debt collection agency against you. You won’t be able to contest the ticket anymore.

Many towns use European Municipal Outsourcing (EMO) to collect debts from foreigners. However, it might be another agency in charge of your debt. Sometimes municipalities may even try to collect the debt by themselves. All expenses will be charged to your account.

The debt collector must notify the collection notice within 2 years. If it doesn’t, it will lose the right to recoup the funds. You will still owe the debt, but the ticket will no longer be enforceable. The time limit starts from the date the municipality outsources the agency.

Once the collection notice is notified, the debt collector can:

  • Seize your salary or pension, bank account, and other types of goods.
  • Prohibit the circulation of your vehicle.

If the fine is low, the municipality may decide not to collect the debt. Legal proceedings are slow and costly, especially if the offender is a foreigner. Small towns usually don’t turn debts over to a collection agency.

How Do Traffic Fines Affect Foreigners?

Traffic tickets are mutually recognized across the EU due to the Decision 2005/214/JHA. This means that if you get a fine in any European country, it will be valid in other states. So, you can’t ignore a traffic fine from Italy. The directive also allows the enforcement of foreign debts.

Some years ago, it was very easy to ignore a traffic fine from another country. So, the European Council implemented the directive 2015/413. It is a system to facilitate the cross-border exchange of information between each Member State.

If you commit a violation in Italy, the Italian government will ask your country for your details. Then, the police will send you a letter by ordinary or registered mail. This also happens when you drive a car registered abroad.

The debt collection agency may take you to court to validate the debt in your country. But if the fine does not exceed 70 euros, the government may not recognize it. Authorities may wait for your return to Italy if legal proceedings don’t take place.

As for non-EU residents, it depends on whether your country has legal agreements with Italy.

Will A Foreign Ticket Affect Your Driving Record?

A foreign fine will never affect your driving record. This is because each country has different point systems. For example, you would lose five points if you drive in Italy without a seat belt but three in Spain. Only administrative sanctions are mutually recognized in Europe.

If the violation is not contested on the spot, the police may ask for the driver’s details. They need to know who the real offender was in order to deduct the points.

According to Art. 126-bis CdS, you have 60 days to provide your driving license. If you don’t, you can get a second fine from €292 to €1168. The time limit runs from the notification date and doesn’t suspend the days to appeal.

According to Order N. 12/2017, it is legal not to communicate your details. If you want to keep your Italian license points, you can choose to stay anonymous and pay. The police can’t subtract them even if the car rental company communicates your details.

Since you are a foreigner, you don’t lose anything by providing your driving license. In this way, you will avoid paying the second fine.

Do Fines Have a Statute of Limitations in Italy?

Italian law sets a statute of limitations of five years for traffic fines. If you receive a collection notice after 60 months from the notification date, you don’t have to pay it. The municipality will no longer have the right to collect the fine.

However, each payment reminder renews the limitation period. You always have to count from the latest notification or enforcement order. If you receive a notice after four years of the violation, the ticket will be valid for another five years.

If you want to verify the notification, see the shipping date of the registered letter. You have 30 days to contest it to the Peace of Justice, or the debt will become final. You can only dispute the collection notice for formal defects. If your appeal is rejected, the statute of limitations will be ten years.

What If You Never Received The Ticket?

Before making any decision, you should check the notification of the ticket. Traffic fines may not reach the recipient due to bureaucratic errors. Or maybe you weren’t home at the time of delivery.

In these cases, you have to send a letter to the police asking for proof of notification. You will know whether they notified the ticket on time or not. If you don’t receive a reply, you could appeal to the Regional Administrative Court (Tar).

It is not enough to indicate only the failure to notify the original fine in your appeal. In fact, you must also present a formal or substantial defect. With the ordinance n. 26843, the Supreme Court of Cassation confirmed it.

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