Problems paying your fines

Don't let a small fine turn into a big problem

There is help available for you if you are struggling to pay your fines. You can negotiate a payment plan or even get an extension on the date you'll need to pay the fine.

Here we explain your options.

Types of fines

There are many different types of fines including:

  • Parking tickets
  • Traffic infringement notices
  • Fare evasion tickets
  • Littering fines
  • Fines for not wearing a helmet
  • Fines for public nuisance or offensive behaviour
  • Court enforcement notices

Payment options if you are struggling to pay your fines 

If you are having difficulty paying your fine there are options available if you negotiate with the debt recovery agency in your state/territory.

Your options could include:

  • Being granted an extension to pay
  • Entering into a payment plan
  • Performing community service to work off the debt
  • Being issued with a caution in certain circumstances, for example, if you suffer from a mental illness, intellectual disability or you are homeless
  • Arranging regular deductions to pay the fine from your Centrelink payments via a free service called Centrepay

Consequences of not paying your fine

If you don't pay your fine or enter into a pay arrangement there are serious consequences. Here are some of the things that could happen to you if you don't pay your fines:

  • Suspension or cancellation of your driver's licence or car registration
  • Court enforcement action
  • Publication of your name on a website determined by the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer
  • Civil enforcement where your possessions can be taken and sold
  • Having some of your wages taken
  • Have a charge registered over your land

Case study: Sarah ignores her parking fines

young-girl-finesSarah is a university student who doesn't have a lot of money. Parking is really hard to find near her apartment so she often parks her car in a 1 hour parking zone. This has meant she has ended up with a lot of parking fines and she can't afford to pay them. She thought if she ignored the fines they would go away.

Months after getting the fines Sarah received a notice from the state debt recovery agency, telling her that her driver's licence would be suspended until the fines were paid. To make matters worse, the $404 in parking fines had turned into a $644 debt as enforcement fees were added to each fine.

She finally called the debt recovery agency and they were happy to arrange a payment plan for her. She has started to pay the money back using regular deductions from her youth allowance, but until she pays it back in full, her licence remains suspended.

Getting help from debt recovery agencies

Check your fine letters and notices to work out which debt recovery agency you need to contact about your fine.  Here are links to all their websites. They have information that will help you negotiate the payment of your fines.

If you can't pay a fine, it is important to do something about it. Doing nothing can lead to enforcement action and fees.

Related links

Last updated: 28 May 2018