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Infringement notices

 

What is an infringement notice?

An infringement notice is a notice issued by the police, local government authority or other prosecuting agency, alleging that you have breached a particular law and giving you the opportunity to pay a fixed amount of money rather then go to court.

Infringement notices are generally issued for breaches of the law that are not as serious, such as minor traffic offences and parking offences. An infringement notice is often called a “ticket”, for example a “speeding ticket”.

Can an infringement be issued without my knowledge?

An infringement notice may be issued in person or through the post. If the prosecuting agency, such as the Department of Transport or the police, does not have your current address, it is possible an infringement may be issued without you realising it.

What is the difference between an infringement notice and a fine?

A fine is an amount of money that a court may order you to pay as a penalty for committing an offence. A fine may be the whole sentence (penalty) or just part of the sentence you receive for the offence.

The difference between a fine and an infringement is that a fine can only be imposed on you by a court.

Why do I need to know the difference between an infringement notice and a fine?

Different processes apply depending on whether you have received a fine or an infringement notice. There are different processes for:

  • disputing payment
  • seeking time to pay
  • enforcing payment
  • applying to have a licence suspension order set aside for non-payment.

Where can I find information about dealing with a fine?

Click here for detailed information about Fines

What should I do if I receive an infringement notice?

Most infringement notices must be served on you within 21 days of the alleged offence. This time limit does not apply to road traffic infringement notices.

Once you have been served with any infringement notice, you have 28 days in which to decide whether to pay the infringement notice, seek a review of the notice, or go to court to dispute the notice.

If you have any questions about the notice before you make your decision, you should contact the authority who issued it.

How do I pay the infringement?

If you do not dispute the infringement, you can pay it in full by following the instructions on the infringement notice.

For more information on how to pay a traffic infringement, see the heading Infringement payments on the Infringements page of the WA Police website.

How can I check if I was the driver or if it was my vehicle?

You can check whether you were the driver or whether it was your vehicle, by viewing the photo taken by police and checking the registration number recorded by police.

For more information on how to view the photo online, go to the heading View and pay infringement on the Infringements page of the WA Police website.

What if I wasn’t the driver when the traffic infringement occurred?

If you know you were not the driver and you know who was driving, you must give the police the name and address of the person who was driving at the time of the offence. Your infringement notice includes a request for this information. It is an offence to refuse to give these details or to give false details.

If you do not advise the police that someone else was driving, then they will assume that you committed the offence and will expect you to deal with the infringement notice.

If you do not know or cannot find out who was driving, your options are explained under the following heading, What if I dispute the infringement notice?

What if I dispute the infringement notice?

If you believe that you did not commit the offence or you do not think an offence has been committed at all, you can seek to have the infringement notice reviewed by the authority that issued it, or you can choose to have the infringement notice considered by a court.

Either of these choices must be exercised within 28 days from the date when you were served with the infringement notice.

How do I seek a review?

To seek a review, you should write to the police or other authority that issued the notice and ask for the notice to be reviewed. In your letter you need to include the infringement notice number and explain why you believe you should not have received the notice. You should include as much detail as possible. You should also include your contact details so the authority can respond.

If you are seeking a review of a traffic infringement, your letter should be sent to Infringement Management and Operations, State Traffic Coordination and Enforcement Division, Locked Bag 35, Perth Business Centre, WA, 6849.

If the police or other authority accepts your argument, the infringement notice will be withdrawn and you will be informed by letter. If they do not accept your argument and decide to proceed with the notice, it will be re-issued, usually with an extension of time. You will then need to make another decision as to whether to pay the infringement or have the infringement considered by a court.

What if I still dispute the infringement after seeking a review?

If you still dispute the infringement, you can ask to have the infringement considered by a court.

To ask to go to court you must notify the police or other authority that issued the infringement notice, in accordance with the instructions on your infringement notice. You will then receive a prosecution notice detailing the charge and a court hearing notice informing you of the date when you should attend court.

What happens if I ask to have the infringement considered by a court?

If you ask to have the infringement considered by a court, you are in effect electing to be prosecuted through court for the offence. This means the offence will be considered by a magistrate. You will be given an opportunity to explain to the magistrate why you think the infringement notice was incorrectly issued and the magistrate will make a decision as to whether you committed the offence or not.

If you are found guilty (convicted) of the offence, you may have to pay a penalty that is higher than the original amount specified in the infringement notice, together with court costs. In addition, the penalty is then a fine and the process for enforcement of a fine then applies if you fail to pay.

What happens if I do not pay the infringement notice?

If you have not paid the infringement, sought a review or chosen to take it to court within 28 days of being served with the infringement notice, you will usually be sent a letter of final demand. You then have another 28 days to pay the original amount as well as the additional enforcement fees set out in the final demand, or elect to have the infringement considered by a court.

What if I do not pay within 28 days after the final demand?

If, after 28 days, you still have not paid the infringement penalty amount and enforcement fees, or elected to go to court, then the total amount will be lodged and registered with the Fines Enforcement Registry, which will handle the enforcement process. This Registry deals with the enforcement of infringements and court fines, however, the process of enforcement is different for each.

For infringements, once the Registry has taken over the enforcement process, it will issue you with an order to pay or elect, requiring you to either pay the penalty and fees within 28 days, or elect to go to court.

What if I do not respond to the order to pay or elect within 28 days?

If, after 28 days from the date the order to pay or elect was issued, you still have not:

  • paid the infringement amount and enforcement fees, or
  • applied for time to pay the infringement, or 
  • elected to have the infringement dealt with in court,

then you will be issued with a notice of intention to enforce. This notice must state that if you do not pay the infringement amount and enforcement fees, or elect to go to court, by the date specified in the notice, then your driver's licence may be suspended or an enforcement warrant may be issued.

What if I do not respond to the notice of intention to enforce within 28 days?

If, after 28 days from the date the notice of intention to enforce was issued, you still have not:

  • paid the infringement amount and enforcement fees, or
  • applied for time to pay the infringement, or 
  • elected to have the infringement dealt with in court,

then the Fines Enforcement Registry may issue a licence suspension order, and in certain circumstances, an enforcement warrant.

What is a licence suspension order?

A licence suspension order may be made even if an enforcement warrant has also been issued.

A licence suspension order applies to your driver's licence and prevents you from driving while the suspension order is in place. It is an offence to drive while you are subject to a licence suspension order.

The licence suspension will remain in force until the infringement and enforcement fees have been paid or you have successfully applied for time to pay, or you have elected to dispute the infringement in court.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to have your licence suspension removed. For more information about licence suspension orders, see Licence suspension order for non-payment of a fine or infringement.

What is an enforcement warrant?

An enforcement warrant may only be issued if your total unpaid infringement amount is at least $2,000. It may be issued even if a licence suspension order has also been made.

Once an enforcement warrant is issued, you can no longer elect to have the infringement considered in court.

An enforcement warrant allows the Sheriff to take and sell your personal property, which may include land, and use the proceeds of the sale to pay off the amount you owe. It also allows the Sheriff to either:

  • immobilise your vehicle or vehicles by putting wheel clamps on it or them, or
  • remove the number plates from your vehicle and suspend your vehicle licence.

It is an offence to interfere with the wheel clamps or the immobilisation notice that the Sheriff puts on your vehicle. The wheel clamps will be removed on payment of the outstanding amount.

If your number plates are removed, the Sheriff must also suspend your vehicle licence. If the outstanding amount is still unpaid after 28 days, the Sheriff may cancel your vehicle licence.

It is an offence to interfere with the notice that the Sheriff puts on your vehicle about the removal of the number plates.

Can I ask the Registry for more time to pay the infringement?

Yes, you can apply for time to pay at any time after the infringement has been lodged with the Fines Enforcement Registry, however, you cannot ask for time to pay if you have already elected to dispute the infringement in court.

A request for more time can be made where the licence suspension will stop you from being able to:

  • get urgent medical treatment for an illness or disability suffered by you or a member of your family, or
  • earn an income with which to pay the infringement.

In your request for more time, you must make a reasonable offer to pay the penalty before a specified date, or by regular instalments.

If your request is accepted by the Registrar a time to pay order outlining the payment arrangements will be made. While there is a time to pay order in place, the Registrar will not suspend your licence. If your licence was already suspended, once the time to pay order is in place, your licence suspension will be cancelled.

If you do not comply with the time to pay order the Registrar may cancel the order and issue a licence suspension order.

If you apply for time to pay and the Registrar refuses it, you will not be able to apply again in relation to that infringement.

Can I be made to do community work or be sent to jail for not paying an infringement?

No, to enforce payment of an infringement, it is not an option for the Registry to:

  • have your infringement amount converted to community work, or
  • have you serve time in prison to cover the amount of the infringement.

These options are available, however, when the Registry is enforcing payment of a fine. For further information see: Fines.

Where can I get more information?

  • By calling the Fines Enforcement Registry on 1300 650 235 or on (08) 9235 0235 for eastern states/mobile callers.
  • By attending at your nearest Magistrates Court registry.  See Court locations and contacts on the Magistrates Court website to locate your nearest Magistrates Court registry.
  • See Fines and infringements on the Department of the Attorney-General's website.
  • Legal Aid WA's InfoLine on 1300 650 579.

Last reviewed: 17/12/2014

Last Modified: 17/12/2014

Disclaimer

The material displayed on this page is intended for information only. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia believes that the information provided is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.