The Court can order that you pay a fine as part, or all of your penalty for a sentence. Fines can be combined with as Section 9 Good Behaviour Bond, and in some circumstances, with a sentence of imprisonment.
The maximum fine available for an offence is usually contained within the specific offence provision. You can look at the maximum fines available for different offences on our offences pages.
Section 14 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 is the power to impose a fine with a good behaviour bond is found, and it states:
- (1) A court may impose a fine on an offender in respect of whom it has made an order that provides for the offender to enter into a good behaviour bond if the offence to which the bond relates is an offence for which the penalty that may be imposed (otherwise than under this section) includes a fine.
- (2) A fine imposed as referred to in subsection (1) must not exceed the maximum fine that may be imposed apart from this section.
- (3) Despite subsection (1), a court may not impose a fine on an offender if it has made an order that provides for the offender to enter into a good behaviour bond referred to in section 10 (1) (b).
Is a Fine a Conviction and will I have a criminal record?
If you are sentenced to a fine then you have been convicted of the offence, and it will appear on your criminal record.
What happens if I can’t pay the fine?
The Magistrate or Judge that sets the fine is likely to tell you that you only have 28 days to pay the fine. This is the maximum time that the Magistrate or Judge can set to repay the fine. However, the court registry is likely to give you more time to pay the fine if you cannot pay it within that time.
To apply for extra time to pay the fine is a simple process. You attend the court registry where the fine was set and ask for an application for time to pay form. You fill out this form and give it to the court registry staff who make a decision. It is our understanding that extra time to pay applications are normally approved.
If you still do not pay your fine, an enforcement order can be made. Importantly, this can result in licence suspension and registration cancellation.
After that comes civil enforcement, including property seizure, garnishee orders and the registration of a charge on any land owned by the fine defaulter.
If that is not successful, a community-service order is served on the fine defaulter. The amount of community service required is 1 hour for each $15 unpaid, up to a maximum of 300 hours.
If you do not complete your community service, you can then be sentenced to jail.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.