The latest installment in our Irish Criminal Law Update deals with the recent case of O'Byrne v DPP & Ors, Neville v DPP & Ors  IEHC 715, which related to the constitutionality of the 'fixed charge notice' system for road traffic offences.
An excerpt from this update reads:
'A fixed charge notice is posted to a motorist and this is known as the ‘initial’ fixed charge notice under s 35. It outlines within the notice that if the motorist pays a fine within a certain number of days they can avoid going to court. The motorist is offered an opportunity to may a particular fine within 28 days which then doubles if the motorist pays the fine between days 28-5. The motorist will also receive 3 penalty points. If the motorist does not pay anything under the Section 35 notice, the motorist will be issued two further documents after 56 days. Those documents comprise of a summons requiring him to attend court to answer a complaint that he committed the road traffic offence in question and also a second fixed charge notice with informs him that he can avoid going to court if he pays a fine at least seven days in advance of the court hearing, in which case the prosecution case will no longer continue. The fine will be higher than that of the original fixed charge notice. This second fixed charge notice can be referred to as s 44 fixed charge notice which again attracts 3 penalty points if paid. If the person does not pay the s 44 fixed charge notice within the required time, ie 7 days before the court appearance, the case will proceed to court and if that person is indeed convicted by the District Court, he will receive a fine and the mandatory 5 penalty points.'
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