You can be given a fine, which is an order to pay a penalty which is an amount of money (usually payable to the government). This happens mainly in two situations:
If you do not pay your fine in time, Revenue NSW can take recoveryIndividual or personal recovery is defined as being able to create and live a meaningful and contributing life within a community of choice, with or without the presence of mental health difficulties. ‘Recovery’ can mean different things to different people; but in general, it means: gaining and retaining hope; understanding of one’s abilities and difficulties; engagement in an active life; personal autonomy; social identity; meaning and purpose in life, and a positive sense of self. More action in many circumstances. Revenue NSW has a broad range of powers, for example:
For more information about Revenue NSW, click here.
You can be given a fine, which is an order to pay a penalty which is an amount of money (usually payable to the government), mainly in two situations:
If you think you are likely to be given a fine by a court but you have little or no money to pay a fine, it is important to tell your lawyer (or the court directly, if you are not represented by a lawyer) before the judge or magistrate makes their decision. The judge or magistrate might then reduce the amount of the fine or deal with you in another way such as by putting you on a good behaviour bond.
You cannot ‘work off’ a fine by going to prison.
If you have been given time to pay a fine by the Local Court (normally 28 days) and you cannot pay it on time, don’t just leave it and do nothing. If you have a reason why you can’t pay on time, you can ask for further time to pay. Click here for further information.
One of the most common reasons you may be fined is for disobeying traffic laws, for example, through:
* As of 1 December 2019, the NSW government has rolled out mobile phone detection cameras, at fixed and mobile locations, across NSW:
For more information about traffic offences, visit the Transport for NSW website here.
If you are given a fine, do not ignore it or the fine could become larger or attract more serious penalties. Here are some ways that you can deal with a fine:
One of the ways that you can show that you cannot afford to pay a fine is to see a financial counsellor. They can help you analyse your financial situation and write a letter of support that you are in ‘financial hardship’, if that is the case.
You can call 1800 007 007 to speak to a financial counsellor in your area.
You may be able to apply for what is called a ‘Work and Development Order‘ (WDO) to ‘work off’ the fine through agreeing to do voluntary work with a community organisation, attend training or education courses, or participate in a treatment program.
The WDO scheme provides a non-monetary way for people to reduce their debts caused by non-payment of fines. WDOs are open to people who:
A WDO may only be made if the application is supported by an approved organisation, or in the case of mental health or medical treatment, a health practitioner qualified to provide that treatment.
Corrections NSW is approved to administer WDOs to eligible inmates (which include inmates with a mental illness) with: an intellectual disabilityDisability is defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) as total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; total or partial loss of a part of the body; the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness, capable of causing disease or illness; the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour. More or cognitive impairmentCognitive impairment is defined by the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020 (NSW) as an ongoing impairment in adaptive functioning and in comprehension, reasoning, judgement, learning or memory, which has resulted from damage or dysfunction to the brain or mind. Cognitive impairment may arise from intellectual disability, dementia, autism or foetal alcohol spectrum disorder. More; a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance; or who are experiencing homelessness or acute financial hardship prior to coming in to custody may register with the scheme.
Inmates who meet one or more of these criteria can engage in programs to clear their fines registered with Revenue NSW. They can count as satisfactory participation in alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment, financial or other counselling and educational/vocational or life skills courses towards meeting their WDO requirements. This will be identified by the Education and Programs staff in the correctional centre.
For more about how to request a Work and Development Order, click here.
There are also other things you can do if you can’t afford to pay a fine. Click here to find out more.
Updated April 22, 2020