In Melbourne and Victoria, persons and companies can be fined by state and non-state authorities and bodies for a wide variety of infringements. Common infringements include speeding, toll, parking and public transport fines. The bodies responsible for these infringements are usually Victoria police, Citylink / Transurban, local council’s and transport operators such as Metro and Yarra Trams.
The infringements process is legislated by the Infringements Act 1996. It sets out the pathway from the time the infringement is first incurred through to the powers of arrest and sale of property when fines are left unpaid. In short, after an infringement has occurred, the accused will receive the infringement notice, a penalty reminder notice, and enforcement order and finally an infringement warrant. Your options for dealing with the infringements will depend on what stage of the process they are at.
We cannot stress enough the importance of dealing with infringements in a timely manner, as significant additional costs are incurred at each step of the process. It is often these associated costs that people find overwhelming, rather than the actual cost of the original infringement.
If the infringement is correct, but you cannot pay the amount of the fine within the specified time frame, you can request additional time to pay, or alternatively to be placed on a payment plan until the total amount is paid off.
If you wish to contest the fine, there are number of options you should take. Whilst the infringement is still the responsibility of the authority or body which imposed the infringement, you can seek an internal review by that body. Alternatively you can elect to have the matter heard in the Magistrates’ Court. Once the infringement has been referred to the Infringements Court, which is during the enforcement order and infringement warrant stage, you can apply to the Infringements Registrar to revoke the infringement. If the registrar refuses to revoke the infringement, you can seek to have that decision reviewed by the Magistrates’ Court.
Should you find yourself with thousands of dollars in outstanding fines and costs, you should speak with an experienced Melbourne criminal lawyer to discuss whether it may be possible to contest the fines or reduce the amount.