Guide to Driving in France


  1. Driving Offences and Penalties
  2. Importing and Registering a Vehicle
  3. Vehicle Registration Process & Transfer of Ownership
  4. Vehicle Registration Taxes
  5. MOT Vehicle Tests
  6. Obtaining a French Driving Licence
  7. Use of Vehicle Accident Forms in France
  8. Crit'Air Emissions Sticker

1. Driving Offences and Penalties in France

Below is a summary of the penalties you may incur if you break the Code de la Route in France.

Although the penalties sometimes look severe, the licence suspensions and prison suspensions shown are the maximum that a judge can decide.

By contrast, all minor offence fines are automatic.

Those resident in France from within the EU who commit an offence that would otherwise result in:

  • Restriction, cancellation or suspension of a French driving licence or,
  • Loss of points on the licence,

are also required to exchange their foreign licence for a French one. In practice, they may not require you to do this for a minor offence, but do not bank on it!

Fines and imprisonment can also be applied against those driving in France on a foreign driving licence.

In relation to some of the offences listed below, as well as the penalties listed you may also be liable to immediate roadside licence disqualification and/or confiscation of the vehicle.

The position on cross-border offences is described in our Newsletter article Cross-Border Fines on Driving Offences.

The following is the list of offences and the penalties that apply. Note that in relation to the fines, the amounts are generally less if you settle within a stipulated time-scale.


Major Offences

Driving Offence Imprisonment Fine Penalty Points Licence Suspension
Causing death by dangerous driving ≥10 years ≥€150,000 6 5 years
Causing serious injury by careless driving ≥3 years ≥€45,000 6 3 years
Driving with excess alcohol of ≥0.8 g/l in blood sample/Failing to co-operate with a breath test 2 years €4,500 6 3 years
Drink driving - Subsequent offence 4 years €9,000 6 3 years
Driving under influence of drugs/Failing to co-operate with preliminary test 2 years €4,500 6 3 years
Driving without a licence 1 year €15,000 - -
Driving whilst disqualified 2 years €4,500 6 3 years
Contravening a driving ban 2 years €4,500 - 3 years
Hit and run 2 years €30,000 6 5 years
Breaking speed limit by over 50 kph - Second offence 3 months €3,750 6 3 years
Failing to co-operate 3 months €3,750 6 3 years
Driving with false registration 5-7 years €3,750 - €30,000 6 3 years
Driving with no insurance certificate - €3,750 - 3 years
Perturbing or obstructing traffic 2 years €4,500 6 3 years
Display of device to modify the moped/motorbike speed limiter 2 years €30,000 - 3 years
Display of device to locate or disturb speed cameras 2 years €30,000 - 3 years

Minor Offences - 5th Class

Driving Offence Fine Penalty Points Licence Suspension
Driving with TV monitor in field of vision €1,500 3 -
Use of illegal speed camera detector €1,500 6 -
Causing (light) injury by careless driving €1,500 - 3 years
Breaking speed limit by over 50 kph €1,500 6 3 years

Minor Offences - 4th Class

Driving Offence Fine Penalty Points Licence Suspension
Using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle €135 (1) 3 -
Driving without respecting driving licence requirements and restrictions €135 (1) 3 3 years
Driving agricultural vehicle/machine under age €135 (1) - -
Drink Driving: from 0.25 mg/l to 0.4 mg/l in breath sample,
or from 0.5 g/l to 0.8 g/l in blood sample €135 (1) 6 3 years
Failing to give way €135 (1) 4 3 years
Not stopping before a red light or a stop sign €135 (1) 4 3 years
Driving in a no through road €135 (1) 4 3 years
Making U-turn/Reversing on a motorway €135 (1) 4 3 years
Driving at night/In dark surroundings with lights off €135 (1) 4 3 years
Not respecting safety distances €135 (1) 3 3 years
Dangerous overtaking €135 (1) 3 3 years
Driving on the left when not on a dual carriageway €135 (1) 3 3 years
Crossing a white line €135 (1) 3 3 years
Driving on a white line €135 (1) 1 3 years
Accelerating while being overtaken €135 (1) 2 3 years
Failing to get in right-hand lane while being overtaken €135 (1) - -
Driving outside the carriageway or in a reserved lane €135 (1) - -
Not wearing an helmet on two wheeler €135 (1) 3 -
Not using seat belt €135 (1) 3 -
Neither safety jacket nor safety triangle on board €135 (1) - -
Using a vehicle with damaged tyre(s) €135 (1) - -
Using a vehicle with no plates or unreadable plates €135 (1) - -
Driving without the vehicle registration document €135 (1) - -
Using a vehicle without MOT €135 (1) - -
Failing to give way when entering a highway €135 (2) 4 3 years
Speeding Offences
Breaking speed limit by between 40 and 50 km/h €135 (1) 4 3 years
Breaking speed limit by between 30 and 40 km/h €135 (1) 3 3 years
Breaking speed limit by between 20 and 30 km/h €135 (1) 2 -
Breaking speed limit by under 20 km/h when the speed limit is ≤ 50kph €135 (1) 1 -
Parking Offences
Dangerous or inconsiderate stopping/parking €135 (2) 3 3 years
Stopping/parking at night or in dark surroundings without lighting €135 (2) 3 3 years
Inconsiderate stopping or parking €135 (2) - -

Minor Offences - 3rd Class

Driving Offence Fine Penalty Points Licence Suspension
Breaking speed limit by under 20 km/h when limit ≥50kph €68 (3) 1 -
Using a vehicle with no prescribed braking system €68 (3) - -

Minor Offences - 2nd Class

Driving Offence Fine Penalty Points Licence Suspension
Turning suddenly without prior warning €35 (4) 3 3 years
Driving on hard shoulder €35 (4) 3 3 years
Failing to pay a toll fee €35 (4) - -
Inadequate stopping or parking €35 (5) - -

Minor Offences - 1st Class

Driving Offence Fine Penalty Points Licence Suspension
Illegal parking €11 (6) - -

(1) (€90 if paying within 3 or 15 days, depending on offence, or €375 if paying after more than 45 days)

(2) (€375 if paying after more than 45 days)

(3) (€45 if paying within 3 or 15 days, depending on offence)

(4) (€22 if paying within 3 or 15 days, depending on offence, or €75 if paying after more than 45 days)

(5) (€75 if paying after more than 45 days)

(6) (€33 if paying after more than 45 days)





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