What if I’m pulled over?

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What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in Italy?

Traffic tickets for safe drivers aren’t typically a problem in Italy and should not keep you from enjoying your vacation.

Fines in Italy normally relate to parking violations, speeding, or entering ZTLs (permit areas only). If a driver is stopped by the police, they will be given the option of paying the fine on the spot, forfeiting any right to an appeal in the process, or they can pay a deposit and request an appeal. Those drivers who refuse either option will most likely have their car impounded until the issue is resolved.

In most cases, however, violations are registered by electronic surveillance and the fine and/or appeal process is handled by mail. If a rental car is involved, the Italian authorities will fine the rental car company who will likely pay the fine and either charge your credit card or look to be reimbursed.

If you pay the fine, you will remain in good standing with the Italian driving authorities and the rental car companies as in the United States. If you choose not to pay, the record of non-payment will follow you around and create problems for you if you ever again visit Italy.

Also, depending on the sophistication of their systems, you may encounter problems in other countries and with other rental car companies as well. As such, if you feel that it is a legitimate violation, our recommendation would be to pay it. If you feel, however, that the violation could not possibly be legitimate, you will be provided with an appeals process to follow — although sometimes the process may be more trouble than it’s worth. Before paying it, be sure to verify the accuracy of the citation. The type of violation, date, etc. can be found on the citation or by contacting the rental company or issuing authority.

Send your questions regarding Italian law to cbortolani@aliantlaw.com and I’ll be glad to answer them.

The content provided in this Q&A column is intended solely for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. The information presented here is not tailored to any specific situation or transaction and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal counsel. Legal issues can vary widely based on individual circumstances and jurisdictional nuances. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a qualified legal professional regarding your specific case or concerns. Please be aware that no attorney-client relationship is established by accessing or interacting with the information provided in this column. The column’s author and publisher disclaim any liability for actions taken based on the information contained herein.


About Claudia Bortolani

Claudia is an attorney admitted to the bar in Italy in 1993 and in California in 1997. She is the managing partner of Legal Grounds, a Rome-based law firm that she founded in 2009, joining forces in 2019, with Aliant, a global law firm focused on cross-border transactions. Claudia concentrates mainly in real estate transactions in Italy. Aliant also assists foreign companies in setting up operations in Italy, including labor, immigration, tax and transfer price issues.

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