Fines and infringements

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Fines and infringements

Police and other authorised people can give you a fine if they think you have broken the law. A fine means you must pay money as a penalty.

You may not know you have a fine until you get an infringement notice in the mail. This notice says what law you are accused of breaking, how much the fine is and when you have to pay.

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 a fine by the due date, you can ask for a payment plan.

If you think you should not have to pay, you can usually ask police, or whoever gave you the fine, to review it.

You might get a fine 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 (for example 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 police or another authorised person fines you, they will send you an infringement notice that tells you:

  • what law they say 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 have a fine saying you broke the law when you were under 18 and you have not paid it, there is a more flexible system. This system is managed by the Children’s Court and is called the Children and Young Persons Infringement Notice System (CAYPINS).

If the agency that fined you agrees, and you do not 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 (part-payments). In some cases, the registrar may reduce the amount of the fine or say that you do not have to pay it. You, or the agency that fined you, can ask a court to review the registrar’s order if you do not agree with it.

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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