If there is ever an area of law that generates confusion it is infringement warrants and unpaid fines. We have offices in Melbourne CBD, Dandenong, Geelong, Ringwood, Frankston and Moorabbin and we regularly appear at the local Magistrates’ Courts around Melbourne representing clients being pursued by the sheriff in relation to debt that can range from $1,000 to $300,000 and is usually made up of over-inflated administrative late fees associated with using toll roads.
If you have accrued e-TAG fines or other speeding fines that remain unpaid, have not yet had a visit from the sheriff and have not been bailed to appear at Court, you can still contest the infringements or at least have the penalty rates significantly reduced.
In some circumstances you should write to the infringements registrar to apply to revoke the infringement warrant/s. If successful, the original infringements could be re-issued without many of the penalty rates that have been added. When you should make an application to revoke is a question that should be discussed with a lawyer who has experience handling infringement warrants. We have handled hundreds of these types of cases. Look to the right of the page to see just a few examples.
If your written application to revoke is denied by the infringements registrar you can then write, requesting that your application be referred to the Magistrates’ Court. You must do this within 28 days. Once leave is granted by a Magistrate or judicial registrar all sentencing options are open to the court. See here for more information on making an application for revocation.
If the infringement warrant has already been executed by the sheriff then you will have already been given a court date. When you are bailed to appear at court the Magistrate can impose a prison sentence if you do not pay the outstanding amounts. Sometimes these amounts can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In either circumstance you should get a lawyer. These are amongst the few matters that cannot be appealed to the County Court. If a Magistrate imposes an immediate prison sentence this cannot be reviewed other than by way of judicial review in the Supreme Court.
Do not take these matters lightly. There are provisions in the Infringements Act that allow for the Magistrate to reduce these fines significantly, per the previous legislation by either one third, two thirds, or in some rare cases by the entire amount. The law as of 1 July 2017 has now been updated to allow for Magistrates to have complete discretion in relation to reducing unpaid fines. This means more than ever it is critical to engage competent lawyers who understand this area of the law to ensure that you get the greatest reduction open to you based on your circumstances. See more information on reducing unpaid fine and infringement warrants.
There are also other options available. You could seek further time, ask for payment plans to be entered into in lieu of prison or for amounts to be converted to community service, depending on the amount.
This is a complicated area of law and it is important that you find an infringement warrant defence lawyer who can help you. We are well versed in dealing with matters relating to infringement warrants.
Contact our law firm to have one of our lawyers assist you in properly preparing your matter. It could save you tens of thousands of dollars, and you could avoid an immediate prison sentence.
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