Unpaid Drunk Driving Fines


First off, I’m very ashamed of what I did. I know it’s not a victim-less crime and I could have hurt someone else. I make foreigners like us look bad and endangered the wonderful people that live here. Here’s the gist: I went to Maji2 for Halloween and ended up leaving to go home around 1-2am. My dumb*ss decided I could just take my scooter home because it’s less than 10 minutes away. I pulled my scooter out and within going maybe 100m saw a DUI checkpoint and thought, oh I’m fine I’ll just blow and go. I was not fine, I was over 0.55 and then you know the rest.

Anyway, I was told by the judge I was going to just get a fine, no criminal record. I got my scooter back the next day. I knew I couldn’t afford the fine after looking at the new DUI laws that changed over summer and how high my breathalyzer was so I left before my second court date to Vietnam.

Now schools are closed here and open in Taiwan and I’m thinking of transitioning back as the loss of income is going to exist in both countries; however, at least I can work in Taiwan right now.

I’m wondering:

  1. Can I have a rehearing for my court date? I wasn’t in the country when they had the sentencing and I believe the maximum fine of $3000 is steep for a scooter, first-time offence. (I’ve never had any dealing with the law before this - clean record in the U.S.)

  2. How do I setup a payment program for my fines and what is the minimum I can pay a month?

  3. How long until this becomes a criminal offense for not paying? The MVDIS website says Nov 29th for the date and “needs to come to office” so that’s already 4 months.

  4. What happens if I move back and don’t pay this? I know many people have unpaid speeding tickets that they just let pile up on their bike.

  5. Can I just go to jail for 3 months instead? As awful as it would be, there are no English journalism articles on being in Taiwan’s prison system except for one Taiwanese-American and I was struggling before the virus. Now, I’m really broke and jail seems to be the best option and I would save 3000$.

Please don’t use this as an opportunity to berate someone and white knight in the comments. I genuinely need help. I made a poor decision while drunk and then fled out of fear I wouldn’t be able to afford rent. I’m genuinely struggling, that’s the karma you want, and just need answers.

Also, does anyone know of the English number for the MVDIS? They just keep hanging up on me when I ask if they speak English (in Mandarin) with the 866 2 2763 0155 number. If you could also provide the English number of the district court for Shilin, I would be able to figure out this stuff on my own; however, I can’t find it.

Thank you.

You can’t come back to Taiwan. Don’t even try. Taiwan is currently closed to all foreigners except residents.


Your post was too long, so I didn’t read it. However, you can check on your fines here:



3000 NTD?


Here’s the fine. And unlike what the_bear said, I can return to Taiwan with a special visa request. Please help.


I’m not being a troll. What is a special visa request?

You can get a waiver based on contractual obligations but I would need to do a 2 week quarantine at home. Or at least that’s what Teach Taiwan that works with the Foreign English Teacher program told me.

Do you have a valid ARC or APRC? If not, they’re not going to let you in, regardless of your visa situation.

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I think that’s very reasonable. I wouldn’t mine seeing you do one or two months in jail on top of that.

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The fine will increase the longer you don’t pay it.

??? In the U.S. on a 125cc you would get half that amount. Taiwan is now among the highest for DUI fines in the world.

Wow. They really threw the book at you for not showing up.

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0.55 is very high. Hence the fine. You did a runner, no judge will give you the time of day.


You can apply for a special visa. I don’t have a problem getting in, I just want my questions 1-5 answered in a meaningful way please.

With good reason.

I would probably guess not. You absconded. They likely sentenced you in absentia.

You probably will be taken to jail for several months then deported with a stamp asking you not to come back.


“Asking” - Do I have to be deported to the U.S.? Could I go to Vietnam? I don’t have anywhere to stay in the U.S. And that means I COULD return?

You will likely be sent to the US at your expense. They won’t want to risk you being denied entry to another country and having to return to Taiwan to be dealt with again.

Since you are an American, the Americans cannot refuse you entry. It’s risk free…for Taiwan.


You should just consider lying low in Vietnam for a while. You can see what level of sympathy you’re receiving in this thread. Just imagine how much you’ll receive from the Taiwan authorities.