Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Tickets and fines in Greece

fines.gifPhoto from Kathimerini

Drivers in Greece rank among the EU’s most dangerous, and the number of accidents has decreased with increased traffic, which is good and bad, thousands of cars now withdrawn from circulation due to austerity and more citizens turning to public transport. Before fitting in with locals by parking on the sidewalk or running a red light, take a look at the penalties and fines for motor vehicles.

The Ministry of Transport was due to raise penalties in Fall 2011, but there have been several cabinet changes since George Papandreou left office and passage of a new code is delayed.

*Article last updated June 8, 2014. However, answers in ‘Comments’ reflect a specific case and whatever laws were in effect at the time; there are also two updates pending.

Warning

This article has been copied without permission by expat guides and car hire companies, which refuse to honor copyright or give attribution. Therefore, you are not necessarily getting confirmation from different sources.

Be careful who you trust.

Moving violations

Fine Offense
100€ Motorcyclists using cell phone without hands-free
150€ Motorcyclists driving while talking on cell phone without a remote device
200€ Entering the Athens Ring on the wrong day *
200€, plus 5 points Driving in a bus lane
200€ (motorcycle/car) 400€ (truck/bus), loss of license for up to 30 days Driving without a license, an expired license or the wrong class license
200-2000€, loss of license & jail for up to 6 months Driving under the influence
350€, loss of license for 10 days Driving without a seat belt
350€, 5 points, loss of license for 10 days Driving without a helmet
700€ and 9 points Crossing level-crossing barriers
700€, 9 points, loss of license for 60 days Running a red light or stop sign

*EllasDevil recommends stopping and blocking the street instead of pulling over, thus causing a commotion and getting the OK to continue.

Non-moving violations

Fine Offense
50€ * Failure to produce a KTEO card
80-150€ & removal of your license plates ** Parking ticket, depends on the offense and previous violations
150€ and 9 points Parking in a handicapped zone
150€ Parking in an emergency zone
250€ & loss of license for 10 days Motorcycles/scooters driving without insurance
500€ & loss of license for 10 days Cars driving without insurance
2-3 year suspension of driver’s license Uninsured vehicle involved in accident
Tow and impound*** Parking on street with a laiki in progress

* New bill lowered fine from 400 euros to 50 euros, as long as offender presents vehicle at KTEO for inspection within 10 days of violation. Traffic wardens were hesitant to issue fines with debt crisis.
** Weld them to your car/motorcycle (ED’s tip)
*** May also be moved manually by strong, charitable men (free, except for some yelling and unsolicited advice)

Notes

  • All fines are reduced by half if paid within 10 days
  • If you accumulate 25 points in a three-year period, you lose your license
  • 10 driving lessons and a driving test are required to get it back
  • It takes three (3) years from the date of violation for points to drop off your record

Where to pay

If your ticket was issued by the police, bring your ticket and pay at the post office (taxydromeio).

If your ticket was issued by the local municipality, bring your ticket and pay at that municipality’s mayor’s office (dimarxeio) or city hall. Locations can be found by:
a) looking in a map book purchased from the kiosk (periptero),
b) doing a Google search,
c) calling KEP Citizen Centres at ‘1500’,
d) asking a neighbor, car/moto rental company or hotel concierge who should know the answer.

If for some reason you did not or could not pay the fine while in Greece, make arrangements to pay with a friend/relative in Greece or the Greek embassy/consulate nearest you.

There is no way to pay the fine for your ticket online. Online transactions and e-government services are advanced concepts in Greece. If it changes, this article will be updated.

Where to find confiscated license plates

License plates of vehicles registered in Greece are held at the tax office (eforia) where you are officially on file, i.e., the location nearest your residence. If you failed to change your address after moving, they were sent to the former location. You show proof of payment or clearance of a fine/penalty and pick them up.

License plates of vehicles registered in a foreign country are sent back to the home country via the embassy/consulate, after which you should be notified by mail or phone to retrieve them.

*Disclaimer: I do not own a car in Greece. Information is sourced from people I know and readers who contributed their first-hand experience.

Questions and Answerswebsite metrics

This section was created after several people asked the same questions and did not read the responses I gave other commentators in the same or similar circumstances.

Will the fine/penalty increase with time?

If not paid within 10 days, the full fine/penalty is due. Beyond that, it will not double or triple as some countries. However, the DOY/eforia/Greek tax office will be notified of an outstanding violation, and clearing the fine will require a traffic court appearance.

What if I want to protest the ticket?

You must do it immediately with local police/authorities who issued the ticket, in person, in writing and in Greek.

To find the address, phone number, hours of operation or map of a Greek police station nearest you, see:

Should you not speak/write Greek and don’t have someone to bring with you, Greek tourist police can assist 24 hours a day with interpretation and translation in English, French and German by calling ‘171.’ However, tourist police represent a different division of police and cannot intervene beyond that.

Can I ask my consulate/embassy for help?

Consulates and embassies are guests in this country much as you are, do not have jurisdiction in Greece, and therefore cannot assist in legal matters. The most they can do is refer you to police, tourist police, give recommendations for lawyers/attorneys and help you get in touch with relatives back home, if necessary.

What if I lost the ticket/letter?

You can request a copy or assistance in paying it by contacting the police or local municipality who gave it to you.

Where can I check for tickets?

It depends on where you got your ticket and who issued it. There isn’t one central database or ministry where you can check for outstanding fines and tickets in Greece.

Certain tickets will be attached to your car registration in Greece and you’ll be asked to pay upon receiving the annual circulation tax bill. Others may never find you or be on record.

If I rented a car/quad/motorcycle/scooter, got a ticket and didn’t pay, what will happen to me?

Depends. If you didn’t tell the rental agency about it on purpose and didn’t pay, they have the right to charge the credit card on file when they receive notification or learn from the tax office that a ticket is attached to the vehicle’s license plate number. Authorization is normally included in the standard rental agreement you signed.

You can protest the charge with your creditor, but a counterclaim will likely be filed by the rental company with the ticket and rental agreement as evidence, and the charge will stand.

If the agency does not have a credit card on file, then it’s common sense that they cannot charge or track you.

If I signed nothing and didn’t pay, will I get away with it?

It depends on:

a) Whether you’re a resident of Greece, EU citizen or non-EU citizen:
— If you’re a resident of Greece, the likelihood of a ticket or fine following you is much greater since your passport, Greek or EU national ID or license number may be cross-referenced at the tax office. Your nationality is irrelevant.
— If you are a Greek citizen, it will be much easier for authorities to track you, whether you live in Greece or not.
— If you are a non-Greek EU citizen living anywhere in the EU, any outstanding tickets, fines and orders to appear in a Greek court will follow you home. As of December 2010, the ministers of transport in all EU countries agreed to set up a cross-border system to pursue outstanding tickets and collect fines in their country of residence for the following violations: Speeding, running red lights, driving under the influence, using restricted lanes, not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile device while driving. Readers also report that not wearing a helmet is part of this list.
— If you are a non-Greek EU citizen living outside the EU, the likelihood is less though your passport may be flagged.
— If you are a non-EU citizen living outside of Greece, the likelihood is lowest. Greece has checkpoints at its land borders to screen foreign vehicles with unpaid fines but not passports; this may change when the Schengen database is implemented in full by 2014. And if you are a non-EU citizen from a country that can travel visa-free to Greece, the likelihood is very low.

b) If you get another ticket:
Should you get another ticket, you increase the chances of being caught, especially if it happens in the same municipality/district.

c) How centralized systems have become or if cross-referencing is done in the area:
More than anything else, finding you and imposing greater consequences will depend on the centralization of systems and implementation by local, national and EU authorities. Greece is known for its disorganization, but computerization and synchronization have improved between municipal tax offices, police and public transport stations, border crossings (Schengen computer) and ministry branches as of 2010.

Modern and multilingual, ex-PM Papandreou ordered implementation of e-government processes from October 5, 2009, and this has continued to advance even though he stepped down in November 2011.

There’s no way for me or anyone to know how centralized an area has become or to what extent local or national authorities will enforce the law. Greece is a “results may vary” country. Different people in the same circumstances on the same day can experience punishment ranging from nothing to everything. Anything is possible.

I do not work for the Greek government or have access to your records. Nor do I know all the traffic laws of your country, how they harmonize with Greece or how traffic police, embassies/consulates and courthouses may coordinate efforts (or not) and how that specifically applies to your violation according to residency, citizenship, car ownership/rental and travel record.

They took my license, and I left the country without paying the fine. Will I get it back?

Greek authorities will send the license to your country’s embassy and the embassy will forward it to whatever address is currently on file with transport authorities. Otherwise, you need to get a new license.

Can I be denied a visa to Greece or denied entry to the country if I have an outstanding fine/ticket?

— If you are a Greek citizen or a resident of Greece of any nationality with a valid residence permit/card/certificate, authorities cannot deny you entry to Greece.
— If you are a non-Greek EU citizen with a valid passport or national ID card, you do not need a visa and will not be checked at the border because Greece is a Schengen country.
— If you are a non-EU citizen from a country required to get a visa from Greece, it is possible that Greek authorities may deny a future visa or entry to the country, especially once the Schengen database is implemented in full by 2014. You have technically broken the law, and this is grounds for denial.

*Stolen vehicles are registered in the Schengen Information System (SIS), which means border authorities can trace them and check if their tags are fake.

What is your advice?

My advice is to use common sense. If you’re driving on a suspended license, behaving badly or signing a helmet waiver as part of your rental agreement, don’t blame or complain and accept consequences for your actions. After all, no one forced you. It is your responsibility to ask questions and educate yourself before visiting a country as a guest or becoming a resident, and all guides for Greece have a brief overview of road rules. Ignorance is never a legitimate defense.

I realize that some people are only concerned with partying it up and don’t care about respecting local laws and customs. If that’s the case, then please don’t expect anyone to care about you when you’re in trouble. Respect and responsibility go both ways.

Sources

Πρόστιμο 200 ευρώ σε οδηγούς χωρίς δίπλωμα οδήγησης” — Naftemporiki
Greece to screen foreign vehicles for unpaid fines” — ANA-MPA
Driving in Greece a parable to living in Greece” — Kathimerini
Οι Ευρωπαίοι πολίτες πληρώνουν στη χώρα τους” — Imerisia
“Ο ΟΑΣΑ εγκαινιάζει τρεις νέες λεωφορειολωρίδες” (article removed) — Kathimerini
Traffic fines in Greece to be raised late 2011” — Ta Nea
Αλλάζουν τα όρια ταχύτητας στους αυτοκινητοδρόµους” (Chart)– Ta Nea
Zakynthos policeman posed as traffic cop to extort bribes from tourists” — Eleftherotypia
Πιο τσουχτερά τα πρόστιμα για παραβάσεις του ΚΟΚ” — To Vima
Car wanted by SIS detained at border” — Ministry of Interior, Bulgaria
Uninsured drivers to be slapped with 250 euro fine” — Kathimerini
Fines for uninsured drivers and vehicles” — Naftemporiki
In Athens alone, 151 tickets issued to vehicles with diplomatic plates” — Naftemporiki

Related posts

Driving and driver’s licenses in Greece
The first time I drove in Athens
Walking in the Big A…not Apple, but Athens

Updates pending
http://www.tovima.gr/society/article/?aid=449029
http://www.tovima.gr/society/article/?aid=471527
http://www.naftemporiki.gr/news/cstory.asp?id=2244898
Για ΚΤΕΟ οι περισσότερες παραβάσεις των οδηγών στο κέντρο της Αθήνας
http://www.tovima.gr/society/article/?aid=507341
http://www.ethnos.gr/article.asp?catid=22768&subid=2&pubid=63812739
http://www.tovima.gr/society/article/?aid=536034

126 Comments

  Liz wrote @ December 3rd, 2008 at 16:31

i got a ticket on the train and didn’t paid it… what happens if i don’t paid it? she took the number of the passport.

  Kat wrote @ December 10th, 2008 at 10:15

Depends. If you’re unfortunate and the authorities are enforcing these fines, you’ll eventually be caught. However, more likely is nothing will happen because the system is not centralized in many areas of Greece and your passport number will not be cross referenced.

  iain wrote @ May 21st, 2009 at 01:23

hi, i got caught last year by the police not wearing a helmet and got fined 360 euros but left without paying. what will happen when i return this summer?? any help would be appreciated. thanks. iain from northern ireland.

Kat Reply:

Hi Iain, I love your name! It’s doubtful anything will happen to you. Since you’re an EU citizen, your passport will not be scanned or inspected at the border. Even if you get another ticket, the system isn’t yet that sophisticated to detect you had a previous violation on your Irish driver’s license. Conscience aside, it would only be an issue if you came to live here because the tax office would have a record, and it follows you. Have a nice summer! 🙂

  Michael wrote @ June 27th, 2009 at 03:52

I parked a hired car in village street to go for meal, other local cars in front , and no “NO PARKING” signs were visible. Upon returning to car I had a ticket. I returned the car the next day to unmanned parking area and do not intend to pay fine. I also have photographs to show other cars etc.Help????

Kat Reply:

The rental car company will receive the ticket and charge it to your credit card, if you signed authorization as part of an agreement. You can protest the charge with your creditor, but a counterclaim may be filed using the ticket and the rental agreement. The only way you can protest a ticket is to lodge an immediate complaint with local authorities in writing, in Greek and in person. Tourist police can act as interpreters, but they represent a different division and cannot intervene beyond that.

  Alex wrote @ July 10th, 2009 at 19:23

No helmet on motorbike, 360EUR fine ticket at Zante, I do not plan to pay, as I was not told of this requirement in advance. I have Ukrainian passport with Schengen visa. Question – any possible risks/issues? Thanks a lot for your advise

Kat Reply:

Ignorance is not a legitimate defense. It’s your responsibility to educate yourself before visiting another country as a guest, though I realize some don’t care about respecting laws and customs until they are in trouble. Any guide to Greece will say a helmet is required, since it’s a country that has one of the highest death rates for road accidents; and a rental company will have you sign a waiver when refusing a helmet to protect themselves, whether you acknowledge it or not. There is no guide for common sense.

Be prepared for much harsher consequences if you’re caught committing another violation, especially on Zante where revelers misbehave. As Greece’s system becomes more centralized, a future Schengen visa may be denied and/or your passport will be flagged at the border and authorities will have the right to refuse you entry since you broke the law.

  ned wrote @ July 13th, 2009 at 01:37

Have been given a 1200 euro fine by police for driving a quad bike on a quiet street under influence. Is this real? I am about to pay but lots of people are saying don’t pay. What will happen if I don’t? Have been told to pay at post office and it will be halved within 10 days.

Kat Reply:

You’ve been told? My article says very clearly where you pay it (the post office) and that it will be cut in half if paid in 10 days. Some commentators above do not live in Greece and are more likely to get away with not paying it, unless they are caught committing another violation or karma comes around. If you live in Greece, however, your name and passport number will be flagged at the tax office until you pay.

Driving under the influence carries very burdensome fines up to 1200 euros, jail time up to 60 days, loss of driver’s license for up to 180 days, impounding of vehicle and loss of license plates.

  ang wrote @ July 27th, 2009 at 23:59

Hi
Having just returned from Zante, we hired a quad for a few days, we got helmets from the hire firm but decided not to wear them as the heat was scorching!! Silly now we know after we got stopped from the police and got fined 500 euros, this was also for the quad we hired being brand new and not having a registration plate on it, when we put the quad back we told the guy that hired it to us and he told us to give the fine ticket to him and he would sort it out. We are a bit sceptical as to what is going to happen, he also asked us for the hire ticket/receipt which my partner didnt have with him….. sounds a bit dodgy ?

We still have the hire receipt and we paid the hire with cash so no credit/debit card details were exchanged. We are UK citizens…. Anyone with any advice or ideas? or do we just forget it on the hope that the company is legit and sorts it our honestly?!?!

Thanks

Kat Reply:

If you paid in cash and they don’t have your credit card details, there’s no way they can charge you for anything. It is dodgy that there was no registration for the vehicle because even new vehicles should have tags, but that isn’t your fault and the owner can sort it out.

The only way this can come back to bite you is if you visit Zakynthos again and get another ticket; that’s the only way to know if the company didn’t take care of it. It would then be fairly easy for police to cross reference your details if a passport or driver’s license number was taken down.

  ang wrote @ July 28th, 2009 at 17:15

They do not have any of our passport details, just my partners drivers license number. Not sure what the intentions of the quad hire firm are, but they have, in our eyes, taken on the resposibility of sorting the matter out.

Thank you so much for your kind advice and knowledge, you have eased our minds a great deal. Just have to make sure we wear our helmets next time we go back, if we dare!!

Keep up the good work. Thanks again.

  Andy wrote @ August 6th, 2009 at 16:14

Hi. I got a 60 euro fine on the train in Athens. He took down my driving licence details. When i told him i had no money, he instructed me to see his supervisor. I ran away in the end. Will i be in trouble? please advice.

Kat Reply:

If this ticket was unjustified and you had spoken to his supervisor, it was very likely the ticket would have been dismissed if you presented your case in a polite, straightforward, non-whining manner. If you were guilty, then you might have been shown lenience, depending on the circumstances. There’s no way to know, since you didn’t try.

If you don’t live in Greece, nothing will happen to you. If you visit or live in Greece and get another ticket on the train, it will be somewhat easy for them to cross-reference your details and ask you to pay up.

  Vishal wrote @ August 20th, 2009 at 16:04

Please help !

i just came back from holiday in crete, malia and I hired a Quad with a banned U.K driving license and the police caught me 1 night for pressing my horn at them, so they gave me a fine of 200 euros / if paid within 14 days half price. they also took my driving license.

they told me to send to payment to post office, but i have lost my fine letter, would the police send this information to the U.K poilce if the fine is not paid???

Kat Reply:

My answers are already detailed in the article above in the ‘Questions and Answers’ section, please give it a read. Thanks!

  Luke wrote @ August 22nd, 2009 at 03:04

hi, i got a fine of 1400 euros for driving a quad bike drunk in malia, but i am back in england now and have not paid it and don’t know if i should but i am worried if there are any consequences? they took my address and passport details but i dont have the money to pay this. they said i get 50% of if i pay it within 8-10 days..i also went to court was found guilty but got a suspended sentence and was released..if you have any information for me i would be very grateful.

Kat Reply:

Please read the section ‘Questions and Answers.’ Beyond that, you did not provide enough details to help you.

  Robi wrote @ February 2nd, 2010 at 15:42

Ciao, mi ha fermato la polizia greca perchè senza cintura di sicurezza. Mi hanno detto che la multa è di €350. Non ho voluto firmare la multa perchè non leggo il greco e il poliziotto è andato via con la mia patente e senza lasciarmi copia della multa. Come devo comportarmi? Grazie per i consigli

Hello, I got stopped by the Greek police because I wasn’t wearing a seat belt. They told me that the fine is €350. I would not sign the ticket because I do not read Greek, and the policeman went away with my license and without giving me a copy of the ticket. What should I do? Thanks for the advice

Kat Reply:

You did not provide enough information in your comment, so I looked up your IP address. It appears you live in Greece, so you need to go to the police station in the municipality where you were issued the ticket and ask that they return your driver’s license and for a copy of your ticket.

The Italian Embassy/Consulate cannot help you in this case. However, Tourist Police speak Italian and Greek and can interpret/communicate for you by phoning ‘171.’ If this does not work, you will need to get a Greek friend to act on your behalf or consult a lawyer. The police had no right to keep your driver’s license.

  stelios wrote @ February 5th, 2010 at 21:37

wow,
I’m so impressed that there actually is somebody like You in greece. I did a semester at the ASSOE, but I never connected to greeks, albeit god knows I tried! I had the same situation couple of years ago on a small island. The young policemen was quite an experience; on asking him if I could be sent off with just a warning, and put my helmet on he replied with what turned out to be his only english sentence:”we do no warning!”

I did not pay the fine, and I haven’t received any fine yet 180/350€ is far away. Do you by any chance know what is the limitation period for these kind of offenses?

It turned out to be my most exciting time during my education. yet at the end of my semester, I was really looking forward to leave that country, it all got way too much. Despite that feeling, not a single day passes that I don’t remember these days.

I admire Your VERVE for greece and Athens
xairete kyria

Kat Reply:

Hi Stelios,

Not sure if I have “connected” to Greeks after 12 years, but being on my own with no one to help me gave me two choices: Give up or fight on. I chose the latter. Studying here for a semester doesn’t give you enough time to know a country very well; it’s more like an extended vacation.

The unpaid fine will not catch up to you, unless you come to live in Greece or you get another ticket in the same location while visiting on vacation (maybe). No one is going to come to your home, and certainly not in another country.

Thank you for stopping in and saying hi!

  Lorenzo wrote @ May 4th, 2010 at 09:52

Hi,
I’m just come back from a trip to Crete. Saturday, May 1st, I was fined for having exceeded the speed limit near a village. The police gave me a fine of 110 euros (55 if paid within 10 days). The problem is that it was Saturday and post offices were closed. The following day, Sunday, I had my flight back to Italy, so I could not pay the fine. My car was a rental with Europcar. Is there a way to pay the fine from Italy without waiting for the police charges at Europcar? I would pay my fine, but I do not want to pay late with higher costs.

I can pay the postal greek from Italy or online? I have the fine on my hands, here in Italy.

Thank you
Lorenzo

  Jordan wrote @ May 8th, 2010 at 04:11

I got a 50 euro fine for not validating my ticket on the train. That was in may 2008. I didn’t pay but they took my passport number. I am going to Greece in September this year, how do I find out if this is still recorded and may be an issue me entering the country?Also, do the fines increase if they are not paid? In Australia if u don’t pay a fine by the due date you incur extra fees. Any help appreciated 🙂

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.