Possible outcomes and penalties

Possible outcomes and penalties

If you are referred to the Special Circumstances List you must accept that you broke the law. This means that you will be pleading guilty to the criminal offence and there will be a record of this.

The magistrate or judicial registrar will sentence you, taking into account your special circumstances.

The magistrate or judicial registrar will most likely:

  • ‘prove and dismiss’ the offences
  • place you on an adjourned undertaking, which may include conditions such as ongoing treatment
  • order you to pay a smaller fine.

If the offence was a driving offence, you may also face other penalties.

To be referred to the Special Circumstances List you must first apply to have your enforcement order or infringement warrant cancelled (revoked).

See How to make a special circumstances application.

Offences ‘proven and dismissed’

If the offences are proven and dismissed, you do not have to pay back the fines or do anything else.

Adjourned undertaking

If you are placed on an ‘adjourned undertaking’, you do not have to pay back the fines but you must promise the court that you will be of good behaviour for a certain period of time (for example, 6 or 12 months).

You may also have to promise to follow your doctor or other treating professional’s instructions about treatment. If so, you may need to send the court a letter from your doctor to show that you went to appointments and received treatment during the period of your adjourned undertaking. You may also have to go back to court at the end of the undertaking.

Order to pay a smaller fine for all of your offences

You may be ordered to pay a single, smaller, ‘aggregate’ fine for all your offences. This is one lump sum penalty for all your fines. You might get this outcome if you have a lot of fines or if your case is more serious.

Conviction

The magistrate or judicial registrar can decide if your outcome is with or without conviction. In most cases in the special circumstances list, a conviction is not recorded.

You should ask that no conviction be recorded. You can ask the duty lawyer if you need more information about this.

If the magistrate or judicial registrar does not believe you have special circumstances

You may need to adjourn your case to get another report from your doctor or other documents that support your case.

If you cannot do this or do not want to, you can ask the magistrate or judicial registrar to decide what should happen based on the reports it already has. In this case, you will probably get:

  • an adjourned undertaking
  • an aggregate fine for all of your offences.

It is unlikely that your fines will be ‘proven and dismissed’.

Penalties for driving offences

Demerit points

As you are pleading guilty, VicRoads will add demerit points to your licence for any driving offences that have demerit points. This may mean that you may lose your licence.

There is nothing that Victoria Legal Aid or the magistrate or judicial registrar can do about demerit points.

You should contact VicRoads if you are worried about your licence or demerit points.

Assessment

If you have your fines cancelled because of special circumstances, the police are likely to notify VicRoads that you may no longer be safe to drive. VicRoads may then ask you to do a driver assessment. If you get a letter from VicRoads after you go to court, it is important that you respond to it. If you do not, your licence may be suspended.

Toll fees

If your fines were toll road fines (Citylink or Eastlink), the magistrate or judicial registrar must make an order that you pay $40.00 for each toll offence. This is not a court fine. It is the toll company’s administrative costs for prosecuting the matter in court.

The magistrate or judicial registrar may recommend to the toll company that they should not try to get this money from you. But the magistrate or judicial registrar does not have the final say in this.

Speak to the duty lawyer at court if you would like more information about this.

Contact us if the toll company sends you a letter later asking you to pay these fees.

Get help

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