A fine is an amount of money that a court orders you to pay as a penalty for committing an offence. A fine may be the whole penalty (sentence), or just part of the penalty you receive for your offence. In most cases, you will have to pay an extra amount to cover court costs in addition to your penalty.

If you don’t pay your court fines on time, or make an agreement to pay regular amounts over time, your driver’s licence may be suspended by the Fines Enforcement Registry. In serious cases, you could end up having to spend time in prison as a result of unpaid fines.

This information will help you to understand more about court fines. 

Find out:

  • When you can get a fine
  • What to do if you don’t agree with a fine
  • How long you get to pay a fine
  • What happens if you don’t pay a fine
  • Whether you can cut out fines while in prison


The laws about the enforcement of unpaid fines and infringement notices are changing.

From 20 June 2020 the laws changed so that a Warrant of Commitment can no longer be issued by the Fines Enforcement Registrar. On 29 and 30 September 2020 there will be a range of other changes about the enforcement options for fines and infringement notices, including work and development permits.

Most of these changes will not have a negative impact on you, however, note that it will become an option for the Sheriff to make a garnishee order to allow funds to be taken out of your salary or bank account if you do not pay your fine or infringement, subject to a minimum amount being left untouched.

These changes are not yet included in the information on this website. They will be included after 30 September 2020. Until then, if you are affected by the new laws and require legal assistance, you may contact the Legal Aid WA Work and Development Permit Service on or 9261 6353.

Can I be given a fine when I am not present in court?

Yes. Sometimes the court can fine you in your absence. If you were not in court when you were convicted, you might be able to have the fine and conviction set aside and reheard.

What if I don’t agree with the fine?

You may be able to appeal the court's decision. There are strict time limits that apply. You should get legal advice as soon as possible after you receive your fine.

How long do I get to pay the fine?

28 days. If you need more time, go to the court registry before the 28 days runs out, to ask for a time to pay order

A time to pay order can allow you to:

  • pay the fine by a later date, or
  • pay the fine by regular instalments.

If you are paying by instalments, you can do this in person or have regular amounts taken out of a bank account. You can also use Centrepay to have money deducted from your Centrelink benefits.

You can change or cancel the order by agreement with the court registry.

You may need to show that a time to pay order is necessary. This might involve providing documents, such as pay slips, bank statements, or Centrelink summaries to support your application. 

What if I miss a payment?

If you breach the order by failing to pay as required, your time to pay order can be cancelled immediately. This can happen even if you thought you had paid the instalment. It might happen because there isn't enough money in your bank account or your Centrelink benefits are cut-off or suspended.

If you previously had a Licence Suspension Order against you because of those fines and your time to pay order is cancelled, the Registry can make a new Licence Suspension Order against you.

What happens if I don’t pay?

Your fine will be registered with the Fines Enforcement Registry. If you don’t pay the fine, the registrar may:

  • make a Licence Suspension Order to stop you from driving
  • issue an Enforcement Warrant to sell your property or clamp your car
  • issue a Work and Development Order to do unpaid community work instead of paying the fine
  • in some circumstances, issue a Warrant of Commitment to spend time in prison instead of paying the fine
  • publish your details on a website.

Your fine includes court costs but does not include any other amounts the court may have ordered you to pay, such as restitution or compensation to a victim. Those amounts must be paid separately. If you don't pay those amounts, the victim can ask the court to enforce the order against you.

Can I cut out my fines while I am in prison?

If you are on remand or a sentenced prisoner, you can apply to cut out unpaid fines at the same time. Ask the Transitional Manager at the prison or contact the Fines Enforcement Registry for more information.

You cannot use time in prison to cut out unpaid infringements.




Reviewed: 9 April 2018


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.