Have you paid an Admission of Guilt fine in a criminal matter, mistakenly believing that the matter has been resolved without you needing to appear in Criminal Court and that you have avoided getting a criminal record?

Be aware that when you sign and pay an Admission of Guilt fine, you will have a criminal record!

An Admission of Guilt fine can be set aside if you mistakenly or erroneously sign and pay it.

In terms of Section 57(7) of the Criminal Procedure Act, Act 51 of 1977, an admission of guilt fine (“AOG”) may be set aside if there where irregularities during the administration thereof.

The most common irregularity is that the police official or prosecutor neglects to explain the procedure and aftermath of the paying of an AOG fine.

This then results in the Accused thinking that they were either released on bail, as it was in the case of S v Tong , or that the matter has been resolved as they have paid a fine.

In order to set aside the AOG, an Application must be filed with the Court within the jurisdiction of the offence. The Application must provide sufficient case law to substantiate why the AOG fine should be set aside and accompanied by the Accused’s affidavit detailing the events that led up to the arrest.

When determining whether the conviction should be set aside, the following guidelines and principles as set out in S v Cedras , must be taken into account:
1. Are there considerations of equity and fair dealing which compel the Court to intervene to prevent a probable failure of justice;
2. The Accused must show good cause for mistakenly or erroneously admitting guilt;
3. The Accused must show that were the charges to go to trial, he would have a good probable arguable defence.