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  • Interpretation
  • No.511
  • Date
  • 2000/07/27
  • Issue
    • Do the Uniform Punishment Standard Forms and Rules for Handling the Matters of Violating Road Traffic Regulations, which stipulate that traffic regulation violators upon being duly notified but failing to pay the minimum fine within 15 days shall be fined the maximum amount, violate the constitutional principle of legal reservation, thus being null and void?
  • Holding
    •        To strengthen road traffic regulations, maintain the orderly flow of traffic, and ensure safety in road transport, the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic Regulations sets out various classes of administrative penalties for acts in violation of the Act. The Act provides in Article 9, Paragraph 1, that a person violating traffic rules punishable by a fine may, within fifteen days after receiving a notification of violation of traffic regulations, voluntarily pay the minimum fine specified in the Statute so as to close the case. Article 41, Paragraph 1, and Article 48, Paragraph 1, of the Uniform Punishment Standard Forms and Rules for Handling the Matters of Violating Road Traffic Regulations enabled by Article 92 of the Act are merely provisions dealing with specific details for the abovementioned purposes, and have not therefore gone beyond the scope of power conferred by the enabling Act, nor are they inconsistent with the principle of legal reservation. In this respect, the case before this Yuan is distinguishable from Interpretation No. 423 in the nature of the issues involved. As regards the imposition of fines by regulatory agencies in sums specified in the attached Uniform Punishment Standards under Article 41, Paragraph 2, of said Rules where the person acting in violation of traffic rules appears before the agency after the lapse of the date specified or under Article 44, Paragraph 1, of said Rules where the traffic violator fails to pay voluntarily the fine imposed on him/her or fails to appear before the agency as ordered to hear the decision, our opinion is that the Uniform Punishment Standards provides a standard of penalty enacted by the competent authority within its power of discretion authorized by law and that the amounts of the fines specified therein are found to be within the limit expressly prescribed by law. Furthermore, it embodies the function as a means to avoid possible variance in punishment to be arbitrarily imposed by different administrative agencies for similar incidents of violation. Such rules are thus not against the spirit of the Constitution in protecting the people*s property right. It follows without doubt that if the court, in a case where the party files an objection to the penalty decided by the regulatory agency, finds the decision to be improper or against the law, may deliver an adjudication to reverse the decision even though the traffic violator might have failed to appear on the specified date or to have delegated another person to appear for and on behalf of him/her.
  • Reasoning
    •        To strengthen road traffic regulations, maintain the orderly flow of traffic, and ensure safety in road transport, the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic Regulations sets out various classes of administrative penalty for acts in violation of the Act. The Act provides in Article 9, Paragraph 1, that "in the case of a penalty by fine, the violator shall be present at the designated agency to hear the decision with fifteen days after receiving a notification of violation of the traffic regulations. However, if the person considers the act of violation which he/she is accused of to be true to the facts, he/she may voluntarily pay to the designated agency the minimum fine specified by the applicable Act, without having to go through the process of decision, so as to close the case." Article 41, Paragraph 1, and Article 48, Paragraph 1, of the Uniform Punishment Standard Forms and Rules for Handling the Matters of Violating Road Traffic Regulations enabled by Article 92 of the Act are merely provisions dealing with specific details for the abovementioned purposes, and have not therefore gone beyond the scope of power conferred by the enabling Act, nor are they inconsistent with the principle of legal reservation. In this respect, the case before this Yuan is distinguishable in the nature of the issues involved from Interpretation No. 423, where the Imposition of Fine Standards for Air Pollution Exhausted by Motor Vehicles, without being enabled by the Air Pollution Prevention Act, require that the violator voluntarily pay the minimum fine in order to close the case. The provision of said Standards is inconsistent with the purpose for which the legislature confers the power of discretion in that the amount of fine imposed thereunder is determined solely on the basis of the time the violator appears before the competent authority and the failure of the violator to appear, without taking into account the factors that differentiate the degrees of pollution caused by the conduct such as the pollution source and the quantity of pollution emission as well as the fact that the competent authority may obtain data by carrying out sample tests as the basis for determination of penalty. Therefore, an air pollution case differs from and is not comparable to a traffic violation case in that the latter is constituted by a simple act of violation of traffic regulations. Furthermore, the abovementioned Rules provide in Article 41, Paragraph 2, that "a person acting in violation of traffic regulations in any of the circumstances mentioned in either Subparagraph 1 or 2 of the preceding Paragraph, who appears before the agency after the date specified, may pay such fine as specified in the Uniform Punishment Standards in respect of late payment and close the case thereupon." Article 44, Paragraph 1, of said Rules provides that "where a person acting in violation of traffic regulations fails to voluntarily pay the fine as prescribed or fails to appear at the regulatory agency to hear the decision, such agency shall make a decision at its discretion within one month on the penalty prescribed in the Uniform Punishment Standards." Under the Standards, where a traffic violator fails to make payment in time or is penalized upon a decision made at the discretion of the agency, he/she will be fined by the regulatory agency in an amount specified in the Standards. The Standards provide a standard of penalty enacted by the competent authority within its power of discretion authorized by law, and the amounts of the fines specified therein are found to be within the limit expressly prescribed by law. It also encourages the traffic violator to pay the fine voluntarily so that future enforcement may be avoided and the administrative cost may be saved. Furthermore, it embodies the function as a means to avoid possible variance in punishment to be arbitrarily imposed by different administrative agencies for similar incidents of violation, and is permissible by law. Such rules are thus not against the spirit of the Constitution in protecting the people*s property right. It follows without doubt that if the court, in a case where the party files an objection to the penalty decided by the regulatory agency, finds the decision to be improper or against the law, may deliver an adjudication to reverse the decision even though the traffic violator might have failed to appear on the specified date or to have delegated another person to appear for and on behalf of him/her. 
      
    • *Translated by Raymond T. Chu.
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