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Penalty for driving on expired license in Poland?


Einstein 6 | 41
21 Aug 2019 #1
In Poland what happens if a foreigner is stopped while driving and the police notice that their non-EU driving license expired a few months ago? I read that the law allows a fine of up to 5,000 zł with a driving ban if it happens more than once. Is this true? What is the chance that the police would let them go with just a warning or take a 100 zł bribe rather than dealing with the paperwork of issuing the fine?

My experience of driving in Poland for 4 years is that the police never want to bother with giving a mandat to a foreigner. I have been stopped by the police 8 times for speeding or making an illegal turn. 5 times they let me go without paying anything, and 3 times they hinted that they would accept a bride and took 100zł. Not once did I have to pay a fine.
Dougpol1 33 | 3,247
21 Aug 2019 #2
My experience of driving in Poland for 4 years

Well "Einstein......"
The police are now fitted with cameras in cars and some police evn have body cameras - so you can forget about any bribing....
As to tolerance - that depends on the region:
1. In Tri-City the police are usually fairly "tolerant" but not when dealing with a banned driver I would have thought.
2. In Warsaw/Krakow/Katowice the police will happily nail you to the floor for far less.
Don't do it. If banned, take an Uber. Don't come crying here if you fail to take my advice. The days of anyone being "intrigued" by Johnny foreigner are long gone.
OP Einstein 6 | 41
21 Aug 2019 #3
I'm not asking about a banned driver, just someone driving with an expired license. What would happen if the police noticed, and weren't feeling particularly tolerant?

he police are now fitted with cameras in cars and some police evn have body cameras - so you can forget about any bribing....

Since when is this? In mid 2018 I was stopped by the police near Warsaw and they made it quite clear that they wouldn't mind letting me go for some cash.
Dougpol1 33 | 3,247
22 Aug 2019 #4
someone driving with an expired license

So why not renew your licence? I think you have answered your own question; are you prepared to risk driving on an expired licence? EU licences suck, as they only last for 10 years - this is simply a money making exercise, but if you do not have a valid licence then your insurance is void.

In some EU countries that will end in your vehicle being impounded, and probably crushed. Why risk it?
And I am no fan of traffic police, who are generally out to harass the public - at least in large swathes of Poland. Just trying to help
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #5
@Dougpol1
I cannot renew my old license because I am no longer a resident of the jurisdiction where it was issued. And I can't get a license in my new home because the Polish authorities are intent on imposing their own arbitrary rules even though I absolutely 100% meet the requirements for driving license issuance as specified by the law.
Dougpol1 33 | 3,247
22 Aug 2019 #6
I can't get a license in my new home

Yes, I see. Wouldn't a theory test be enough? You've proved your ability to drive, through obtaining a driving licence in your country of birth. The Poles boringly just want to take some money from you in the guise of traffic laws and sign understanding, so check to see if the theory test is enough.

Then you need to pay for a sworn translator, and book a theory test (warning - the theory test is long winded and designed so that people fail a couple of times (so maximising job creation - the "work" for examiners - who otherwise would be unemployable old boys)

Driving without a valid licence means that if you do hit someone, it's prison time. By all means go to prison for a while for white collar crime and successfully hiding a million zloty, but the driving offence would be a daft reason for such humiliation.
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #7
@Dougpol1
I already passed both the theory and practical tests here. After spending over 2,000 zł for the driving course.
cms neuf - | 1,021
22 Aug 2019 #8
Sooner or later you will meet someone who wont take a bribe - your rate of being stopped is quite high, I'm about once a year and I pay a legitimate fine all the time. Either you are driving too fast or you have an attention grabbing car.

As Doug says you need to take the steps to sort it out now. Getting papers is boring but I lived in a few countries and they all required some localization of my documents whether for work, residency, driving, health etc - if you are Einstein then do the sensible thing :)))
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #9
@cms neuf
I'm not trying to take any shortcuts; I have done everything I am supposed to do and they still won't give me the license.

1. I obtained my zameldowanie and PESEL
2. I passed my medical exam
3. I applied for a PKK number and received it
4. I passed the theory test
5. I completed my driving course
6. I passed the practical exam
7. I paid the driving license application fee
Wincig 2 | 185
22 Aug 2019 #10
EU licences suck, as they only last for 10 years

Not true, in France it is 15 years, and the renewal is a simple admin matter (no new driving test, mo medical check)
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #11
Actually in my experience the police can be quite understanding. I once went on a 2,600 kilometer trip through three countries without any license plates on my car (they were lost by the shipping company). The police stopped me five times but let me go without any consequences once I proved that it is my car.
mafketis 21 | 7,458
22 Aug 2019 #12
I'm not trying to take any shortcuts

do you have karta pobytu?
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #13
@mafketis

Not yet. But nowhere in the law is it written that a karta pobytu is required to get a driving license. It simply states that it is required to " stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland for at least 185 days in each calendar year", which I do.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,609
22 Aug 2019 #14
Maybe the karta pobytu should prove that? Which country are you a formal resident of? One of theEU?
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #15
@Ziemowit
I can prove that I stay in Poland 185+ days each year via the stamps in my passport, travel receipts, and rental agreement. As an American I am allowed to reside in Poland as long as I want, as long as I leave every 90 days to cross a border and come back. This is even written on the Straż Graniczna website.

Even without a karta pobytu I am technically a resident of Poland simply because I legally live here 185+ days per year and as such I pay income tax to Poland on my worldwide income.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,609
22 Aug 2019 #16
If they won't give you the license, what reason are they giving for not giving yiou the license?
cms neuf - | 1,021
22 Aug 2019 #17
Sorry Einstein - I did not realize that you had gone through all of those steps already. So I agree you probably need to get in writing the reasons why they are not giving you a license.
dovla
22 Aug 2019 #18
They will not bother to check your passport stamps in urzad mijejski. Zameldowanie should be your proof of stay. Can you show that you have been continuously zameldowan for the past 6 months?
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #19
@Ziemowit
They said that they require a karta pobytu or visa to issue the license. I then told them that I am still waiting for my karta pobytu and that as an American it is impossible to get a visa because Americans are allowed to be here without visas. I then explained to them that their dziennik ustaw allows for a "karta pobytu, wisa, lub innego dokumentu" and presented my passport containing a stamp from the foreigners office as an "other document". They then said that they cannot accept my passport as an other document because "it isn't polish".

I have lived in Poland legally for 4 years and can prove this fact in several different ways. The office is making up their own rules which are not at all consistent with what the law actually says.
mafketis 21 | 7,458
22 Aug 2019 #20
I am still waiting for my karta pobytu

I have lived in Poland legally for 4 years

What's the hold up on the karta?

The office is making up their own rules

Welcome to Poland, the law as written is important but often (usually) written ambiguously and open to interpretation and the only interpretation that matters is the one used by the person looking at your case, which is where people skills are useful - being generally charming and affable (with a hint of firmness) so that they want to interpret things in a way that benefits you
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #21
@cms neuf
Yes I sent a letter to the head of the department but only received a general reply which shows that he didn't even read my letter. I have hired a lawyer to help but it is a slow complicated process.

@dovla
I showed them my zameldowanie paper when I first tried to get the license and they didn't seem to consider it proof of anything. The zameldowanie is only valid 3 months each and there were some gaps in between, but the office didn't take issue with this and simply demanded to see my kata pobytu or wisa.

What's the hold up on the karta?

They made a mistake in calculating whether or not I was legally in Poland on the day I submitted the application, and now that they realized their mistake they sent my application all the way back to step 1 and are asking for the same dozen or so documents that I already gave them a year ago. They seem to look for every tiny excuse to deny the application.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,609
22 Aug 2019 #22
The office is making up their own rules which are not at all consistent with what the law actually says.

If I were you, I would take the matter to the Administrative Court (there are 16 of voivodship courts plus the chief one which is a court of appeal).

Or, if the office has its superior, I would first refer to them. What is the name of the office that denies you the license?
dovla
22 Aug 2019 #23
Perhaps you could ask urzad wojewodzki that is processing your application if they could issue a letter of confirmation that you are in the process for karta pobytu. In Wroclaw, I got such letter in addition to the stamp. Maybe that letter will qualify as "inny dokument".
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #24
If I were you, I would take the matter to the Administrative Court

I will if I have to but that would likely take 4-6 months to resolve and I need a diving license now.

I sent a letter to the head of the driving license department. I guess I could try sending another letter to the head of the Powiat Pruszkowski but they would likely just forward it to the driving license department.

@dovla
I already tried that but when they replied after two months of waiting they refused to issue the letter.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,609
22 Aug 2019 #25
In both cases a letter to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Home Office) will be worth trying, I think. They should deal with such cases country-wide. The Ministry will reply to you directly and not through the poviat or voivodship. I would forward the karta pobytu affair as a complaint, pointing out to the mistakes of the Urząd wojewódzki (the unnecessary request of theirs to submit the required documents once again).
pawian 161 | 9,971
22 Aug 2019 #26
with just a warning or take a 100 zł bribe

hahaha Forget it. Bribes no longer work. The police are afraid of losing their job, not to mention conviction, because taking bribes and bribing is treated mercilessly. Don`t even try to do it cause you can get arrested. No joking.

In your case of invalid license, you get 500 PLN fine. Your car CAN be towed to a police parking, that depends on the officer`s decision..
Ziemowit 12 | 3,609
22 Aug 2019 #27
But if fined, he could take the case to the court and ultimately to the European Court of Justed where - I think - he should be acquited. It is because of the incompetemnce of the Polish administration that he is deprived of his driving license. He could sue them for a compensation for all his losses.

Looking at his case, the Polish Administration is one big joke.
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #28
@pawian
Is a 500zł fine and a chance of my car being towed the worse possible penalty? Seems small in comparison to the 3,000+ zł it would cost to hire a lawyer to take the issue to the administrative courts.
pawian 161 | 9,971
22 Aug 2019 #29
In case you are a repeat offender with an old record of previous misdeeds, the police officer might deem it worth taking the case to court. Then you face up to 5000 PLN fine.
OP Einstein 6 | 41
22 Aug 2019 #30
@pawian
Well I wouldn't want that to happen.

Has anyone else here experienced similar problems trying to get a prawo jazdy?


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