Hi there and thank you for your question,
I will try to assist you with your legal question but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you like until you are 100% satisfied.
Unfortunately that is exactly what happens. If you pay an admission of guilt fine you will end up with a criminal record as you are essentially admitting your guilt. You don't need to go to court to defend the matter, and you don't need to take your chances with the Magistrate sending you to jail. You simply pay the fine and carry on.
Unfortunately the police won't explain to you that you will end up with a criminal record which might affect your job in the future. They don't care about that, and neither does the prosecutor.
This is the type of thing that an attorney WILL advise you on, and I always tell my clients the advantages and disadvantages of paying an admission of guilt fine.
There is nothing unconstitutional about it either.
You can however apply to have the criminal record expunged (removed from your record) and it is something that I also suggest to clients. Unfortunately you are only entitled to have your criminal record expunged if 10 years has passed from the date of your sentence -- and I don't think that it has been that long for you?
You can do the expungement application yourself, or you can hire an attorney to assist.
Read more info here: http://www.justice.gov.za/forms/form_expungement.html
Download and complete the correct form for your circumstances, you will also need to request a police clearance certificate, (www.dfa.gov.za/consular/policeclear.htm) and then forward all of the documents to the department of justice. It should take a few months, but then it's done!
Otherwise to answer your question, Is it not unconstitutional to do this as people are so desperate to be released that they do not question the police when they tell you to pay the fine? --> No, unfortunately not.
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Good luck and best regards,