Page updated April 6, 2018
Changes to fines laws in Victoria
The Victorian Government implemented a number of key changes to the laws dealing with fines, from 31 December 2017.
Some key changes and introductions include:
- A new body called Fines Victoria that manages all fines (including court fines and fines issued by agencies)
- Increased options for victims of family violence for dealing with related fines. For example, victims of family violence can now make applications under the new Family Violence Scheme (known as the FVS) if either:
– Family violence substantially contributed to the offending; or
– The fine related to a driving matter in which the victim was the owner of the car and the family violence substantially contributed to them being unable to nominate the driver.
– Successful applications made under this scheme may now result in the fine being withdrawn.
- Decreased the time periods for enforcing fines, which means it is increasingly important to seek early advice and assistance from a community lawyer or financial counsellor.
- Allowing people who have been sentenced to prison (for other unrelated matters) to apply on a back-dated basis to convert the fines to prison time that has already been served.
Some key changes that occurred on 1 July 2017 included:
- The addition of ‘family violence’ as a new category of ‘special circumstances’, which provides an important legal avenue for victims of family violence to address their fines.
- The introduction of a new Work and Development Permit Scheme, which allows people to ‘work off’ their fines by undertaking unpaid community work, completing a vocational, educational or life skills course, undergoing treatment from a health practitioner, participating in youth mentoring activities, receiving treatment for drug or alcohol addiction or receiving financial counselling assistance.
In order to access this scheme, a person must:
– be classified as ‘eligible person’ which may include someone that:
– experiences an acute financial hardship;
– has a mental or intellectual illness, disorder or disability;
– experiences homelessness;
– been a victim of family violence; and/or
– has a drug or alcohol addiction.
– be engaged with a sponsor organisation that is accredited by the Department of Justice and oversees that person completing the relevant activities to ‘work off’ their fines.If you are have received a fine and require legal help, please contact ECLC or visit finesvictoria.vic.gov.au.