If you go to court to prove your fines were because of you special circumstances, you must accept that you broke the law. This means that you will plead guilty to the criminal offence and there will be a record of this.
The magistrate or judicial registrar will decide if you have special circumstances and will sentence you, taking your special circumstances into account.
It the magistrate or judicial registrar agrees that you had special circumstances they 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 court under the special circumstances law you must first apply to have enforcement of your fines reviewed by Fines Victoria.
Offences ‘proven and dismissed’
If the offences are proven and dismissed, you do not have to pay back the fines or do anything else.
If you are placed on an ‘adjourned ’, you do not have to pay back the fines. You must promise the court that you will not break any laws for a specific amount of time (for example, six or 12 months). This is called ‘being of good behaviour’.
You may also have to promise to follow your doctor or other treating professional’s instructions about treatment. If you have to do this, 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 for all your fines. You might get this outcome if you have a lot of fines or if your case is more serious.
You should ask that no conviction be recorded. Even if a conviction is not recorded, a finding of guilt will be on court records.
If the magistrate or judicial registrar does not believe you have special circumstances
- 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
There is nothing that Victoria Legal Aid or the magistrate or judicial registrar can do about demerit points.
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.
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 . This is not a court fine. It is the toll company’s administrative 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.
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.
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Reviewed 07 April 2022