There are several options available if you get an infringement notice. Remember time limits apply to the options available and if you ignore an infringement notice you will get additional fees and possibly an infringement warrant. Advice is available from your local community legal centre.
If you receive an infringement notice, you have several choices about what to do. There are a number of stages in the infringements system, and your options change according to the stage the matter has reached. Before you decide what to do, it is worth looking at all the available options to see which one best fits your particular situation.
Whatever you choose to do, be aware of the time limits involved: if you wait too long, it may be too late for you to take the option that would be best for you.
If you are unsure what to do, you can ask for help from a financial counselling service (see Financial counselling services), or from a community legal centre, Victoria Legal Aid or other source of legal advice (see Legal services that can help). There may be a waiting list for assistance, so it is best to contact the support agency as soon as possible if you need help.
The options available to you at various stages of the infringements system process are to:
- do nothing (not recommended);
- pay the penalty;
- ask for the notice to be cancelled or withdrawn;
- ask for a review of the decision to issue the notice;
- nominate another driver (for motor vehicle offences);
- ask for more time to pay;
- arrange to pay by instalments;
- take the matter to the Magistrates’ Court;
- apply to have the enforcement order “revoked” or cancelled;
- do community work instead of paying the penalty; or
- go to prison.
Some of these options are only available at certain stages of the infringements system process or in relation to certain types of fine, and some have different results depending on when they are put into effect. For further information, see “The Infringement procedure” options and results table.
Before you make up your mind about which option is best for your situation, it is important to be clear about exactly how much you owe in penalties. You may also have other infringement notices outstanding that you are not aware of, for example if you have moved address and not received infringement notices.
If you are not sure how much you owe, you can obtain this information from fines.vic.gov.au or the Infringements Court. If you are requesting this information from either the Infringements Court or Civic Compliance Victoria, you may be asked to supply the following information:
- your full name (including middle name), and any previous names you have been known by;
- your date of birth.
- your current address and any contact phone numbers, and any previous addresses where you might have received infringement notices.
Be careful about providing your current address to officials working at the Infringements Court or Civic Compliance, as this information could be passed on to the sheriff who may then take action against you to execute any outstanding infringement warrants (see “What happens if I take no action“ for more information). If you are not comfortable providing your current address to the Infringements Court or Civic Compliance Victoria, you can offer to provide the following additional information and documentation to help them search for your outstanding fines:
- your driver’s licence number, if you may have any parking or traffic infringements;
- a photocopy of identification documents; and
- where possible, details of where, when and what types of fines or infringement notices you may have incurred, including any “˜obligation number’ (this will be written on any infringement notice you receive).
If someone else (e.g. a financial counsellor or community legal service worker) is obtaining the information for you, you will also need to sign a form authorising that person to obtain it on your behalf.
If any fines are less than 56 days old, they will not have been lodged with the Infringements Court yet, in which case you will need to write to the relevant enforcement agencies, such as the Department of Transport (for most public transport fines), Victoria Police and/or local councils, for details of unpaid fines that are still at agency level. The relevant enforcement agency will be identified on any infringement notices or penalty reminder notices that you have.
The following table summarises the process as set out in “What happens after the notice is issued?”, and your options for dealing with your outstanding fines at each stage of the process. Each of the options is described in more detail below.
The infringements procedure
|STAGE||TIME LIMIT||OPTIONS AND RESULTS|
|1 Infringement notice
(penalty set by legislation)
|Â As specified on notice (usually 28 days but may be longer)||
Note: some specific offences (e.g. excessive speeding 25km/h or greater) must be nominated within 28 days of receiving infringement.
|2 Penalty Reminder notice
(penalty; extra costs)
|Â 28 days||
Note: You cannot make a second request for waiver if a request was already rejected at stage 1.
Note: You cannot make a second request for internal review if a request was already rejected at stage 1.
|3 Registration with Infringements Court ““ notice of enforcement order
(penalty and costs; further costs added)
|Â 28 days||
|4 Infringement warrant ““ notice of seizure of assets
(penalty and costs; further costs added)
|Â 7 days||
|5 Execution of warrant ““ infringement action(including seizure and sale of assets, licence suspension and cancellation, wheel clamping)||Â Immediate||
|6 Arrest||Â Immediate or after asset sale||
Some types of motor vehicle infringements (for excessive speed and drink-driving offences) are classified as licence loss infringements. These carry more severe penalties, have stricter time limits than other infringements, and there are fewer options available to deal with the infringements, so it is particularly important to act quickly if you receive one of these notices. For details of procedures and time limits for traffic offences, see “Infringement notices“ in Driving offences.
Young people (under 18 years) are dealt with differently under the infringements system. Agencies issuing infringement notices are able to accept payment from young people and a young person can also apply for a payment plan or a review of the decision by the enforcement agency. However, if an infringement is not paid by a young person, the relevant agency’s only options are to take no further action or elect to enforce the infringement penalty by filing a charge and issuing a summons for the young person to appear in the Children’s Court. Infringement notices issued to young persons cannot be registered with the Infringements Court and so the enforcement powers under an infringement warrant are not available. For court procedures and sentencing options applicable to young people, see The Children’s Court.