A fine is a monetary penalty for breaking a law. There are many offences you can be fined for, but the most common ones relate to breaking traffic, public transport, minor criminal, and local council laws.
The most common types of fines are penalty notices, also called infringement notices, on-the-spot fines, tickets, or criminal infringement notices (CINs). They can be issued in person, attached to a vehicle, or sent to you in the mail, and contain details of the alleged offence and the amount you need to pay.
For a flowchart on your options for dealing with your penalty notice: lawaccess.nsw.gov.au/Pages/representing/lawassist_fines/lawassist_flowcharts_fine/lawassist_have_you_got_a_fine_flowchart_fines.aspx
For detailed information about your options for dealing with a penalty notice, including how to pay the fine, what to do if you disagree with it, what happens if you decide to go to court and what you can do if your driver’s licence is suspended: lawaccess.nsw.gov.au/Pages/representing/lawassist_fines/lawassist_fines.aspx
If you go to court and have a fine imposed by the magistrate, you will usually be ordered to pay it within 28 days. You’ll be sent a Notice of Penalty which tells you the amount you have to pay and the due date.
For information about dealing with your court fine: lawaccess.nsw.gov.au/Pages/representing/lawassist_fines/lawassist_aftercourt_fine/lawassist_payingcourt_fine.aspx
A toll notice requiring payment because your vehicle travelled on a toll road without paying the toll is not a fine. However, if you do not respond to it, you may be sent a penalty notice for not paying the toll which is a fine. You can use the information here to deal with this fine.
DON’T ignore your penalty notices or court fines
If you don’t act to deal with any of these fines, Revenue NSW will add enforcement costs to them and you could have your licence and registration suspended. The additional costs and penalties for unlicensed driving or driving an uninsured/unregistered car are a lot higher and more severe than your original fine.
You may be sent a letter or given a document that looks like a fine when you breach a rule that applies to private property or organisations. This isn’t really a fine, although the private organisation that claims you owe it money might call it that. These notices commonly relate to private car parks such as those found at shopping centres, clubs, or on other private land. Private fines can’t be referred to Revenue NSW for enforcement, but the private organisation might take you to court if you don’t deal with it so you shouldn’t ignore their letters. If you receive a ‘fine’ from a private organisation and you don’t believe you should have to pay it, you should get legal advice.
For more information on dealing with private fines: lawaccess.nsw.gov.au/Pages/representing/lawassist_fines/lawassist_private_fines.aspx
More information on fines, other than private fines, and how to deal with them is available at the Revenue NSW website: revenue.nsw.gov.au/fines
If you need advice or assistance in dealing with any type of fines, the SUPRA Legal Service can help you.
This information is current as at December 2018 and is intended as a guide to the law as it applies to people who live in or are affected by the law as it applies in NSW. It does not constitute legal advice.