We’ve all been there before… coming home to a letter from the Traffic Police or finding that little white slip of paper on your windshield…
Traffic and parking fines are part and parcel of driving in Singapore, but this doesn’t make it feel any better!
So, what are you going to do when you find yourself in this situation?
The obvious step is to be a good citizen and simply pay for your fine. But we’d suggest you try your luck and submit an appeal to the authorities.
If your reasons are valid and honest, you’d never know, you might be able to get out of paying!
Not sure where to begin? Simply follow these 7 steps to get started on your appeal letter!
1. Who is the Appeal Letter for?
Before you get started on writing the appeal letter, you must first know who issued the fine. This is an important step because you’d need to know who to address the letter to.
Some common issuers of traffic and parking fines are:
- Land Transport Authority (LTA)
- Town Council
- Singapore Police Force (SPF)
For the case of writing an appeal letter for traffic offences, SPF does not accept appeals sent via email or fax anymore. Instead, offenders are required to submit their appeal through the Traffic e-Appeals site. For this, only medical emergencies are eligible for an appeal and you’d need to provide proof too.
2. Start with Your Details
It’s important to introduce yourself to the recipient. Otherwise, how is the Investigating Officer going to know who you are?
Here are the details you’ll need to provide:
- Your Full Name
- Your Car Model and Licence Plate No.
- Your Notice Number
- Location of Offence
- Time of Offence
3. Be Honest and Polite
Honesty is the best policy, and it’s not any different when writing an appeal letter.
You should start things off on a good note! So, acknowledge your offence and admit you made a mistake right from the start. This acknowledgement shows the Investigating Officer that you’re remorseful and would put you in their good books.
Please ensure that you’re polite throughout. So this means that you should get defensive or even rude, which is easy to forget when writing a letter!
To be safe, you might want to consider getting someone to read through your appeal before sending it out too.
4. Offer an Explanation
There’s always a reason or explanation behind every action, and it’s no different for traffic and parking offences!
Explanations offer the Investigating Officer an insight into why you did what you did. So this is a super important step to take. Otherwise, the officer would simply think that you’re just a road hazard.
If you were forced to break the rules – maybe your wife was in labour or it was a medical emergency for someone in the car – tell them.
If this was the case, and you have proof, it’ll be deemed as a legitimate reason and would almost certainly get you out of the fine.
5. Don’t Forget to Apologize
Similar to steps 3 and 4, you should own up to your mistakes and show the Investigating Officer that you know you’re in the wrong.
Self-awareness is super important and it shows that you’re genuine in your appeal. Doing so might pull the heartstrings of the reader and he or she might be more empathetic towards you and (hopefully) help you get out of a fine.
However, if you think that the fine you received was a mistake, then there’s no need to apologize. But don’t get defensive. Instead, keep things polite and cordial, and everything should go smoothly.
6. And to Thank Them!
This is a step that many tend to forget too. It’s basic courtesy to thank the Investigating Officer for taking the time to read your appeal letter. It shows that you’re polite, courteous and could potentially buy you some brownie points (or so I’d like to think)!
7. End the Appeal Letter With Your Details
Simply sign off your letter with a salutation and provide your details once again. Providing your details at the end of the letter simply makes it easier for the Investigating Officer to pull out records or references from their database, and is a matter of formality.
Once you’ve submitted your appeal letter, you’ll have to wait for an official reply from the authorities. Until then, you are not required to pay the fine until you find out the outcome of your appeal.
But do note that this entire process may take some time, anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks. So if you plan on submitting an appeal letter, please do so early and give the authorities ample time to follow up.
Sample Appeal Letter for Parking Offences
Attn: [Organization Name]
To: Chief Investigating Officer
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I would like to formally appeal against my notice of traffic violation which I received on [DATE OF OFFENCE] for [OFFENCE and NOTICE NO.] while driving my [YOUR CAR MODEL AND LICENCE NO.] along [LOCATION OF OFFENCE] at [TIME OF OFFENCE].
I fully understand the dangers of speeding and the importance of adhering to traffic rules, and deeply apologise for this lapse of judgement on my part. I made the mistake of misjudging how fast I was going, which resulted in me driving over the speed limit by 10km/h. Once I realised, I quickly adjusted my speed and made sure I adhered to the speed limit along Lornie Road.
I seek your kind understanding on this matter and hope you take into consideration my driving record as this is my second speeding offence over the last 20 years as I am usually a very careful driver. This is unlike me and I will do my best to ensure that such lapses of judgement do not happen again.
Thank you for taking the time to review my appeal. If you require any further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me at [YOUR CONTACT DETAILS].