Traffic Fines and What To Do If You Can’t Financially Pay

Traffic Fines – I’ve accumulated a number of traffic fines over the past five years ,that are still outstanding due to money problems. I have now received a summons to appear in court for non-payment, what is the likely outcome and do I need a lawyer to represent me?


Your situation is not an uncommon one. Quite often, when struggling to pay rent, buy food and manage other living expenses, payment of a traffic fine is just not possible.


The majority of traffic fines are dealt with by way of a penalty notice. A penalty notice will require payment of the set fine within a set time period. If the person challenges the penalty notice they can elect to have the matter dealt with by the Court.


If the penalty notice is not paid within the time period and there is no election for the matter to be dealt with by the Court, then a penalty notice enforcement order can be made against the person. A penalty notice enforcement order requires payment of the fine and additional costs within 28 days. If no payment is received then the enforcement actions can be taken.


This enforcement action includes:

(a) Suspension of the person’s driver’s licence; and

(b) Cancellation of the driver’s vehicle registration.


If the person does not have a driver’s licence or vehicle registration, then civil action is commenced. Civil action includes:

(a) A property seizure order where a person’s property, such as furniture, can be taken and sold to satisfy the fine; or

(b) A garnishee order where money will be taken from the person’s bank account or direct from their wages to satisfy the fine; or

(c) A claim on any land owned by the person is made.


In circumstances where all of the above actions have been taken and have not been successful in satisfying the fines, a community service order is made. A community service order is an order requiring a person to perform community work in order to work off the amount of the fine that remains unpaid. In the event that, the community service order is not followed, then a warrant of commitment is issued to police for the person to be imprisoned.


What options are available?


If you have unpaid traffic fines there are a number of options available in the event that you do not have the financial capacity to pay the fines.


These options include:

(a) Seeking further time to pay or requesting that the fines be written off;

(b) Work and development order to satisfy all or part of the fine. A work and development order is an order requiring a person to undertake certain actions, to satisfy all or part of the fine. These actions can include undertaking unpaid work for a community organisation; undertake and educational or life skills course or undergo financial counselling.


Do I need a Lawyer to represent me?


It is in your best interests to have a lawyer represent you if you have received a Court summons for unpaid traffic fines. This will ensure that the options available under the legislation in relation to alternatives to paying the unpaid fines are explored.


If you have received a Court Summons for unpaid Traffic fines and need advice, call  Frank Boitano at Barwick Boitano today on (02) 9630 0444 or email on for an appointment.

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