How much is the fine for driving without a license?
Dedicated to all those who share stories about how, during the check of missing licenses, Bali police show them crumpled photocopies with a fine amount of either 500,000 or 1,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah.
"Do not put off until Friday what can be done on Monday. Monday is just the day for new beginnings," I thought. And I decided to retrieve the STNK (Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan - Vehicle Registration Certificate) for my rented bike from the police. This certificate had been kept at the police station since mid-November.
In mid-November, I underwent a standard police check for drivers in Kerobokan. The police were stopping everyone on bikes by the road. Indonesians and foreigners alike. They didn't try to scam anyone or ask for bribes. They just efficiently took the STNK, recorded the details on a blue receipt, advised coming after December 8 to the police station in Denpasar, and let people go in peace.
I believe many are familiar with the feeling when you have to do something not particularly pleasant, but there are no specific deadlines, and this important task can be postponed indefinitely. My attempts to delay retribution led to a literal turning blue. The receipt for the confiscation of the STNK began to take on a more ominous shade of blue, and over time, the letters and numbers began to blur. I started to worry that, after some time, there would be hardly anything legible left on the paper.
I arrived at Polresta Denpasar. The parking attendant pointed out the door where they deal with bike document confiscations. Finding this department is easy. Turn left from the courtyard entrance and look for the "Loket Tilang" door.
In a quiet room, redolent of office supplies and documents, sat two ladies in uniform. They glanced at the receipt, checked the date, and declared that much time had passed, documents had slipped away even more, and I needed to go to Kejaksaan Negeri Denpasar, which is the Public Prosecutor's Office in Denpasar.
And what happened to me at the prosecutor's office not only exceeded my boldest expectations, but it shattered all my fantasies to smithereens. About 10 meters from the parking lot, I approached the small Loket Tilang window, handed over the receipt, and asked how I could get back my STNK. After a minute of searching through the drawers, the staff handed me my coveted motorcycle document and asked me to pay 52,000 rupiahs.
We hear a lot about corruption in Bali. Many of us have encountered it. And because of this, it's even more pleasant to encounter cases where the system works as it should—honestly and clearly.
Of course, it's much better and correct to drive with a valid license. Try to obtain one if you have the opportunity. This will not only help in case of police checks but also in the event of a possible accident when the insurance company looks for any inaccuracies and mistakes to deny you payouts. If your documents are in order, the truth is on your side.
But even if you don't have a license and you're stopped without one, keep in mind that it's not as scary as it may seem. Maintain inner balance and peace of mind.
Enjoy your time in Bali!
Admin's note: Since 2019, unofficial fines for traffic violations typically start from 100,000 rupiahs.