Victoria Legal Aid

Getting a fine reviewed

You can ask for your fine to be reviewed before the due date if you think there is a valid reason why you shouldn't have to pay it.

If you think there is a reason why you shouldn’t have to pay the fine, you can ask the agency that gave you the fine to review it.

The agency can look at your fine if you:

  • believe there was a mistake made in giving you the fine
  • believe the fine should be given to someone else
  • believe there are exceptional circumstances which mean you should not pay the fine
  • have special circumstances
  • did not know about the fine (not available you were personally given the fine or if you did not update your address within 14 days of moving).

The agency cannot review your fine if you got caught for drink or drug driving, or excessive speeding.

Ask for a review before the due date on your fine. The agency cannot review the fine once it has been registered with Fines Victoria.

Special circumstances

Special circumstances are if you find it difficult to avoid getting fines because you:

  • have a mental illness
  • have an intellectual disability
  • are addicted to drugs, alcohol or inhaling volatile substances (‘chroming’)
  • are a victim of family violence
  • are homeless.

You may also have special circumstances if you can show that you are:

  • experiencing circumstances that are very serious and long-term, that are more than just financial hardship, and
  • due to these circumstances, it is not possible for you to either pay your fines or deal with them in other ways, such as completing activities or treatment.

Find out more about how you can deal with your fines if you have special circumstances.

Exceptional circumstances

Sometimes your behaviour, which resulted in a fine, may be excused when ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist.

There is no definition of exceptional circumstances, but it is intended to cover circumstances leading up to an offence which are out of the ordinary, unavoidable or unexpected. For example, you may be able to show exceptional circumstances where a medical emergency or motor vehicle breakdown resulted in you receiving a fine.

Find out more about how you can deal with your fines if you have exceptional circumstances.

Applying for a review

You can apply for a review by writing to the agency that fined you. The agency’s contact details are on the infringement notice. You need to explain why you think the fine should be reviewed. You will also need to provide a current residential address.

You can only apply for review of a fine once. It is a good idea to get legal advice before sending in your application.

What happens next?

The agency should make a decision within 90 days. They will let you know in writing. You do not need to take any further action if the agency decides to:

  • cancel the fine
  • change the fine to a warning.

If the agency does not cancel or withdraw the fine, you can:

If the agency refuses your application but you still believe you have special circumstances or exceptional circumstances, you can also wait for the penalty to be registered with Fines Victoria and then apply for an enforcement review of the fine.

See how to make a special circumstances application and how to make an exceptional circumstances application.

Other support

Find out how you can get other support for fines and infringements.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at

Reviewed 08 September 2022

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