Victoria Legal Aid

Possible outcomes and penalties from a special circumstances application for a fine

Information about the possible outcomes that the magistrate or judicial registrar can give you if you go to court for your fines and make a special circumstances application.

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.

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. 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 penalty for all your fines. You might get this outcome if you have a lot of fines or if your case is more serious.


The magistrate or judicial registrar can decide if your outcome is with or without a conviction being recorded. In most cases, where special circumstances are found, a conviction is not recorded.

You should ask that no conviction be recorded. Even if a conviction is not recorded, a finding of guilt will be on court records.

Read Criminal records for more information.

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 VicRoadsExternal Link if you are worried about your licence or 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.

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.

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

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 14 July 2023

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