Special circumstances

Special circumstances

You may be eligible to have an enforcement order or infringement warrant cancelled if you show had special circumstances when you broke the law and got a fine.

You will need to ask to the Infringements Court to cancel (revoke) your enforcement order or infringement warrant.

If the Infringements Court agrees that you had special circumstances, they will refer you to the Special Circumstances List at the Magistrates’ Court.

A magistrate or judicial registrar will then make a decision about what you must do in relation to your fines. They will take into consideration your special circumstances. In some cases you may not have to pay your fines.

What is a ‘special circumstance’?

You have special circumstances if you:

  • had a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness, including anxiety and depression
  • had a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or volatile substance – this includes marijuana or alcohol, as well as drugs such as heroin, ice, speed or ecstasy
  • are a victim of family violence
  • were homeless – you were living on the streets, you did not have a stable place to live for a long time or you were couch surfing.

The law says you may not have to pay your fines in full if you were experiencing a special circumstance when you got the fine and you found it difficult to avoid breaking the law. This means you:

  • could not control your behaviour when you broke the law
  • or did not understand that you had broken the law.

When you can apply

If you want to apply you must:

If you think you did not break the law, for example, you were not driving the car at the time of the fine, get legal help.

How to apply

To get your enforcement order or infringement warrant cancelled (revoked) you must prove to the Infringements Court that you had special circumstances at the time of the fines. Find out about the three steps you need to take to make a special circumstances application.

Going to the Special Circumstances List at the Magistrates’ Court

If your matter is referred to the Special Circumstances List you will get a letter telling you to go to court.

Read more about going to court.

The magistrate or judicial registrar will decide what happens to your unpaid fines, taking into consideration your special circumstances.

Read more about possible outcomes and penalties at court.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with fines and infringements.