If you have a good reason for getting the fine, you can apply to the agency ( Police, the local council etc) that issued the fine to withdraw it and give you an official warning instead. In Victoria, this is called “internal review”.
You can also make an application to the Family Violence Scheme to have your fines waived.
Don’t opt for court without getting some advice. Once it goes to court the agency that fined you will take you to court & if you can’t fight it successfully ( hard) you will end up with a criminal record. Having ‘fine evasion’ on your record won’t look good for future employers.
When can I apply for a review?
There are two main situations where you can apply for internal review – when you have ‘special circumstances’ or when you have ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Special circumstances review
‘Special circumstances’ mean that you couldn’t avoid getting the fine because of your circumstances such as :
- Having an intellectual disability (ID) acquired brain injury (ABI) or cognitive impairment
- Mental health issues
- Drug or alcohol addiction issues
- Homelessness, including sleeping rough, couch-surfing, staying in refuges, crisis accommodation or transitional accommodation
- Family violence (the stand alone Family Violence Scheme may be better, speak to Youthlaw for advice about this).
You will usually need to send a letter from someone like a doctor, psychologist, alcohol or drug counsellor or housing worker explaining your circumstances.
Have a look at this Special circumstances: a guide for applicants’ brochure about applying for a review on the grounds of special circumstances.
Special Circumstances templates:
You can use one of these if:
- you have received an Infringement Notice, or
- a Penalty Reminder Notice, and
- AND you had special circumstances when you received the fine.
Special circumstances internal review templates:
Here’s an example of a filled out form:
Exceptional circumstances review
You can also have your fine reviewed if you have ‘exceptional circumstances’. There is no definition or list but here are examples of common ones.
- there was an emergency (for example, you were driving your brother to the hospital when he was having an asthma attack)
- you were very sick or have a chronic illness
- At the time of the fine you were in a domestic violence relationship
- you experienced a traumatic event on the day (for example, you found out about a death in the family)
- something happened that was completely out of your control (such as if your wallet was stolen and it had your concession card in it)
- you couldn’t avoid getting the fine (eg. your bank cards stopped working and you couldn’t get money to top up your Myki)
- other extenuating circumstances (such as you left your disability parking permit at work and couldn’t get it until the office opened again).
You will usually need proof of what happened. For example, in the cases above, you could provide: your brother’s hospital records, a letter from your doctor, a copy of your Intervention Order (FVIO/PSIO), a death certificate, a police report, a letter from the bank or a copy of your disability parking permit.
Exception Circumstances forms/templates
Use one of these templates (see below for how to use the templates) if:
- you have received an Infringement Notice
- or a Penalty Reminder Notice
- you believe there was a mistake in issuing the fine (for example, you were not the person who incurred the fine)
- there were exceptional circumstances when you received the fine.
Here’s an example of a filled in template.
Family Violence Scheme
There is now a stand alone Family Violence Scheme that assists in dealing with fines where:
- The fines were incurred as a result of family violence; or
- You were unable to nominate a driver due to family violence.
Family Violence Scheme forms/templates
You can use this template at any stage if the fines are not paid and it is prior to any enforcement action.
You will need to prove evidence in support of this application (either a court order or a support letter).
Family Violence Scheme forms/templates (coming soon).
Family Violence Scheme application example (coming soon).
How to use the templates
- You will need to fill in your personal details and information about your fine where the text is bold. Only fill in the sections that apply to you and remember to unbold the text before you send it.
- Instructions are in italics – delete the instructions before you send your application.
- You may need to change the address on the template – depending on which agency gave you the fine (it is usually on the top right corner of your Infringement Notice).
If you have any questions, you can contact Youthlaw by calling (03) 9113 9500 or drop in to 147-155 Pelham Street, Carlton on Fridays between 1pm and 5pm.
How do I get a support letter?
- make an appointment with your GP, psychologist, alcohol or drug (AOD) counsellor or housing worker
- ask if they will write a support letter to help you with your fine.
Sometimes a GP or psychologist may charge money for writing a support letter, so ask them.
You can show this guide to your GP, psychologist, alcohol and drug (AOD) counsellor or housing worker so they know what to write in the letter.
You can read more information about internal review at the following websites: