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How to Determine if a Traffic Fine in Spain is Genuine or Fake? Where to check traffic fines?

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Occasionally, we hear about numerous online scams, but individuals seeking to take advantage of others do not rely solely on the internet.

Lately, there have been instances of counterfeit penalty notices being placed on car windshields in the Carabanchel area of Madrid.

Many drivers may panic and rush to pay the fine to receive a 50% discount on the amount due. However, the City Council has cautioned drivers not to pay the fine or scan the QR code on the tickets.


The Council also reminded drivers that any penalty notices given by officials are typically delivered by registered mail or through the Electronic Road Address system.


The aforementioned scenario underscores the need to be mindful of such schemes. Knowing whether a traffic fine is legitimate or just a ruse to defraud you will equip you with the necessary knowledge to avoid being easily scammed.


To recognize a bogus penalty notice, here are some pointers:

  • A genuine traffic fine is never placed on your windscreen. You will always be notified through a registered letter or the official Electronic Road Address system.
  • Authorities never use QR codes.
  • Penalty notices will always include the vehicle identity of the offender.
  • If the driver is known, their identity will be included in the notice.
  • There will be a short description of the infringement, including the location, date, and time it occurred.
  • The name, address, and particulars of those who issued the penalty, including the identification number of the officer, will be included.
  • Keep in mind that fines can take various forms, depending on the offense and the department that issued it. For instance, an administrative or parking violation is not the same as a sanction issued by the DGT.
  • Despite these variations, the following information should be present in such fines:
  1. The penalty fine reference number that identifies the offense.
  2. Driver information, including the license plate and make and model of the vehicle.
  3. The location, date, and time of the violation.
  4. The amount to be paid.
  5. Details of the General Traffic Regulations article violated.
  6. Points deducted, if applicable.
  7. A photo of the vehicle taken by a speed camera, if available.


Where to check for any outstanding penalty notices

It is important to remember that fines are never left on your windscreen, regardless of whether they are issued by local authorities or the DGT traffic department. Instead, the most reliable way to check for any outstanding fines is to consult either TESTRA (DGT) or TEU (other fines issued by local authorities).


Additionally, registering with DEV will ensure that you receive notifications if a fine is issued. This is particularly crucial if you frequently change your address and forget to update your contact information with the DGT. For information on how to update your details with the DGT and other government agencies, visit our page on Simple Steps to Update Your Address with Spanish Government Agencies.


TESTRA (El Tablón de Edictales de Fines de Tráfico) is the DGT's electronic notice board, while TEU (Tablón Edictal Único del BOE) is the BOE's edictal board that is used by public administrations to notify citizens or companies of any administrative decisions that may affect them, such as traffic-related fines. DEV (Electronic Road Address System) is an electronic mailbox that sends notifications of any fines via email and/or text message. Please note that from November 1, 2022, companies and legal entities will be required to use the DEV system, as paper fines will no longer be sent by post. For further details on all of these services, please refer to the official DGT page.

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