Have you been arrested and bailed by the Sheriff to attend the Magistrates’ Court in relation to infringement warrants and unpaid fines.
If so you need to see a lawyer who regularly handles these cases to work how you can apply for a discharge. If you don’t the repercussions could be serious. Recently a Magistrate sent a defendant to prison for two years for infringement matters. This was problematic for two reasons:
- The person was unrepresented; and
- These matters cannot be appealed to the County Court but can only be reviewed by judicial review to the Supreme Court.
Applications for discharge can be made under section 160 of the Infringements Act. There are two grounds under subsection (1) and subsection (3).
If a discharge is achieved it can be for the entire amount, or one to two thirds reduced with the balance to be paid by way of a payment plan in lieu of prison (The law changed here as of 1 July 2017, the only variation being that Magistrates are not bound to a full discharge, two-thirds discharge or a one-third discharge. Magistrates now have discretion to discharge the amount they consider appropriate after considering the submissions and materials before the court.
It is important that your position is represented properly to ensure:
- You don’t go to gaol;
- You achieve the appropriate discharge in your case; and
- If only a partial discharge, that you are put on the appropriate payment plan.
To see how a discharge might be achieved in your case, call our office and have a conference with one of our lawyers today. Every case is different, but with the right materials a significant discharge can often be achieved.