The power of Victorian courts to impose a financial penalty on an accused is governed under Part 3B of the Sentencing Act 1991. Specifically, section 49 provides that the court may fine an accused following a finding of guilt.
When making a decision on an appropriate fine, the sentencing magistrate or judge may consider factors such as the final circumstances of the offender, the amount of any restitution, forfeiture or confiscation order and any advantage gained by the accused in committing the offence.
When giving consideration to an accused’s financial situation, the court may seek information about the accused’s employment, income, debt and family circumstances, including dependents.
A fine may be for a single offence or ordered as an “aggregate” penalty. An aggregate penalty is one which is ordered for multiple offences.
Once ordered by the court, fines are forwarded to Fines Victoria. An accused will receive the Fine Notice in the post two to twelve weeks after their court date. The fine can then be placed on a payment plan by contacting Fines Victoria and organising regular payments.
If an accused is unable to pay, they can make an application to the court under section 64 of the Act to convert up to 100 of their financial penalty units into unpaid community work.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.