I received a fine for expired tax on my motorcycle on Songkran Day (Apr 13) at a checkpoint in Wichit. At the time, an officer asked me to pay a fine of B2,500. As I did not have that amount of money on me, I was told to attend Wichit Police Station to pay the fine. Once the fine had been paid, I would receive my licence back.
I went to the station to pay the fine, which turned out to be only B500. However, when the duty officer tried to find my licence, it was not with all the other licences that the officer said were stored in order of the date they had been held, or with other bundles of other licences held.
A phone call was made and within minutes the officer who had originally requested the B2,500 fine from me turned up with my licence still in his possession.
First, can you please confirm what the actual fine should be for expired tax on a motorcycle, and also advise if it is normal procedure for an officer to personally hold an individuals driving licence.
– Matt, Wichit
If you were found operating vehicle with expired road tax, police are authorized to fine you up to B2,000 baht under the new penalties of the Motor Vehicles Act as approved by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Police officers have power granted by the Thai Royal Police and the NCPO to make a decision on how much fine a motorist is to pay if caught driving on public roads with expired road tax, but the fine is only up to B2,000. Any fines more than that must be levied by the provincial court.
The amount of the fine without going to court is usually negotiated between the officer and the motorist and depends on the situation or the charges. Factors such as time and duration that the tax has expired, the reason why it has not been renewed can be calculated to help the officer determine the amount of fine.
We try to be as reasonable and flexible as possible when issuing fines. If you have been driving with tax expired for several years, were involved in accident or worse – say, you were caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – you can expect pay a hefty fine.
Language barriers can be a problem for us, especially when we are dealing with tourists who do not speak or understand Thai. They often end up not paying the fine or paying late, which will cost them more.
Officers hold onto licenses or identification cards until the fine is paid and normally they bring all seized items to the police station where they work within eight hours. The officer should not hold onto seized items, but sometime officers do forget to turn them in on time but we will return your belongings after you pay the fine.
– Lt Col Pisit Chuenpet, Deputy Superintendent of the Wichit Police.