* This page is for information purposes only. We do not provide legal support for traffic violation cases.
When you commit a traffic violation in Japan, in most cases, you will have to pay money as the penalty. In some cases, you may have to go to jail.
When you’re stopped by the police officer, if you confess that you violated the traffic rule, then the officer will make a brief document about your violation. If you agree to sign the document, then you will be sent a payment slip afterwards. If you pay the fine “Hansoku-kin” within the specified time, then you wouldn’t get a criminal record (“Zenka”) written on your personal information.
But if you deny (or if your violation was serious), your case will go on to the criminal procedure. There, the prosecutor will think of what to do with your case. If your violation was very small, then the prosecutor may decide not to prosecute. But if not, your case may go to the criminal court (even just for speeding). In that case, you will get a criminal record. If you get a criminal record, it may affect your immigration status when you want to renew your visa.
For foreigners living in Japan, status of residence (visa) may be much more important than paying some fine. So it is important not to dishonestly deny about your violation.
Please note that it is very difficult for a lawyer to help you on traffic violation cases, because you need very good evidence to overcome the claims of the investigating agency.