Fines and infringements

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Fines and infringements

A fine is an amount of money that you may have to pay if you are believed to have broken certain laws.

The first you will know about a fine will probably be when you receive an infringement notice telling you what your offence was and the date you have to pay by.

Do not ignore fines. If you do not pay by the due date, you may have to pay more or go to court. If you cannot pay your fines by the due date you can ask for a payment plan.

If you think there is a reason why you shouldn’t have to pay, for most fines you can get the fine reviewed. 

People mainly get fines for:

  • driving offences, such as speeding
  • driving without an e-tag on certain roads
  • parking offences
  • littering
  • not having the right ticket on public transport.

On-the-spot fines for common offences

Police can issue on-the-spot fines to people aged over 18 for common offences such as:

  • being drunk in public
  • drunk and disorderly behaviour
  • possession of a weapon (e.g. a knife)
  • indecent language
  • offensive behaviour
  • consuming or supplying liquor on unlicensed premises
  • failure to leave licensed premises when requested
  • hanging around, or trying to enter a licensed place when they have been barred (by a barring order) – see Public drunkenness.

Infringement notices

If you are fined you will get an infringement notice that tells you:

  • what law you have broken
  • how much you have to pay
  • when you have to pay the fine.

You usually have 21 days to take action. Make sure you check the date your payment is due. If you do not pay the fine or take other action by this date it may end up costing you more money. See Options for dealing with fines.

Young people and fines

If you were under 18 when you broke the law, there is a more flexible system for chasing up unpaid fines through the Children’s Court, called the Children and Young Persons Infringement Notice System (CAYPINS).

If the agency that fined you agrees and you don’t want to argue against the fine, instead of having to appear before a magistrate you can meet with a CAYPINS court registrar.

The registrar will talk with you about your financial situation and try to come to an agreement about how you can pay the fine, such as an instalment plan. In some cases, the registrar may be able to reduce the amount of the fine or order that it not be enforced. The young person or the agency that issued the fine can ask for the registrar’s order to be reviewed, if they are not happy with the outcome.

For more information see the Children's Court website or call the CAYPINS helpline on 1300 787 715.

More information

Penalty units

Options for dealing with fines

Payment plans for fines

Getting a fine reviewed

Unpaid fines and the Infringements Court

Special circumstances

Exceptional circumstances

Going to court to challenge a fine

Get help

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

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