Driving fines are issued for many different infractions and via several channels. We look at the common questions people ask when they fear they might receive one.
Fines are commonly referred to as PVs (short for procès-verbal), however the correct term is avis de contravention.
They are sent in the post, usually in the days and weeks following the offence.
How long does it take to receive a fine?
It varies depending on the nature of the offence and how it was detected:
- Fixed speed cameras: five to ten days.
- Traffic light cameras: seven to ten days.
- Mobile speed cameras: two weeks to one month.
- Issued by a policeman or gendarme: ten to 15 days.
In some cases it takes longer; authorities can issue a fine up to one year after an infraction.
How can I check if I have received a fine?
If you want to know if you have any outstanding fines you can contact your local Trésor Publique, which is responsible for collecting them.
You will need to provide them with:
- Your name, address and phone number
- The make and model of your car
- A copy of your carte grise and your identity papers (ID card, passport, carte de séjour)
They will provide you with a bordereau de situation, or status note. This will list any fines you owe, including any unpaid fines that have incurred penalties (majoration), together with information about the infractions.
Can I consult my fines online?
Yes. Once you have received the avis de contravention with the infraction number in the post you can see your fines on the website of the l’Agence nationale de traitement automatisé des infractions (ANTAI).
Once you have entered the information on the avis de contravention, the website will show you:
- The points deducted
- The fine
- The payment date
- Penalties for any late payment (majoration)
Can I use my car’s number plate to consult my fines?
No. You need to have the infraction number to see this information.
How far back can I be fined for speeding in France?
The maximum limit for the authorities to issue a fine is one year.
Can points be deducted for speeding?
Yes. However this is set to change on January 1, 2024.
At present, drivers incur a €135 fine plus a points deduction for driving up to 5km/h over the speed limit on roads limited at 50 km/h, or €68 plus a points deduction on roads with limits above 50 km/h.
The removal of the points deduction was announced in April 2023 and confirmed by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on October 17.
Where can I see how many points I have on my licence?
You can check how many points you have left by going to the Télépoints website, where you can use the France-Connect system to log in. This is the same system used on other state websites such as impôts.gouv and Ameli.
Otherwise you need:
- The NEPH number indicated on your driving licence (it is on the top left at the back of the credit card-style licences)
- The Télépoints code, which can be found on official letters notifying you that points are going to be deducted
France’s points system is the opposite to that of the UK: you start with 12 points and lose them for offences. You are disqualified if you lose them all.
New drivers begin with six points, gaining two per year up to the maximum 12.
Your points are restored to 12 if you do not commit any offences within three years following a points deduction.
Can the French authorities put points on a foreign licence?
No. However if you live in France and commit an infraction which would incur a points deduction, you are obliged to switch to a French licence.
If you are not a resident in France, you can still incur a fine, but the authorities cannot add or deduct points.
Does France use unmarked cars to issue fines?
Yes. As of December 31, 2022, there were 223 such vehicles in service, after they were first introduced in 2018. This is set to rise to 450 in the coming years.
These vehicles have cameras and other tools on board to track speed.
Some cars belong to private companies which have been authorised by the government to track vehicle speeds.
These tend to operate on roads with speed limits of 80-90km/h, although they can go anywhere.
Unmarked cars are currently operating in nine regions: Normandy, Brittany, Pays-de-la-Loire, Centre-Val-de-Loire, Grand-Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Hauts-de-France and Occitanie.
Where are most people caught speeding?
The busiest speed camera in France is in Cagnes-sur-Mer (Alpes-Maritimes). Between January and August this year it has caught 96,648 people speeding.