If no action is taken when someone has received infringement notices or penalty reminder notices, the infringement can be lodged with Fines Victoria pursuant to s 16 of the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic) (FRA). A lodgement fee of $130.20 (as at 1 July 2018) is added to the penalty.
The infringement can only be lodged if:
the infringement penalty is not less than the prescribed minimum infringement penalty amount;
a penalty reminder notice has been served;
the period under the penalty reminder notice for payment has passed;
full payment of the infringement has not been received; and
the enforcement agency has not issued a charge-sheet or referred the matter to open court.
The minimum period between an infringement notice being issued and lodged with the Fines Victoria is 49 days (21 days to pay an infringement notice + 7 days for service, 14 days to pay a Penalty Reminder Notice + 7 days for service). In practice, it usually takes 2 – 3 months for an infringement to be lodged with Fines Victoria and it can be longer. It cannot be lodged more than 6 months after the date of issue of the infringement, a default in the payment arrangement or a default on a Work and Development Permit (s 17 FRA).
Once a fine is registered with Fines Victoria, they must then issue a Notice of Final Demand before taking any action to enforce the fine.
The options for dealing with infringement fines that have been registered with the Fines Victoria, resulting in the issue of a Notice of Final Demand, are:
If your client takes no action within 28 days of receiving the Notice of Final Demand, the Director of Fines Victoria may apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an enforcement warrant to be issued under s 106 of the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic) (FRA). An additional fee of $56.90 (as at 1 July 2018) for the issue of a warrant is added and allows for further enforcement action, including the sheriff being able to detain, immobilise or sell your client’s car, remove number plates, seize personal property and arrest.
7day notices and enforcement action
Prior to execution of a warrant, the Sheriff must serve a 7 day notice (s 119). This notice must be served personally (s 179(2)). The 7 day notice must include a warning that the warrant will be executed after 7 days unless the fine defaulter:
Pays the outstanding fines;
Applies for enforcement review;
Makes a payment arrangement;
Applies for a WDP.
If your client has personally been served with a 7 day notice by a Sheriff’s Officer, they must take action before the expiration (not execution) of that 7 day notice (eg, apply for enforcement review, the Family Violence Scheme, a Work and Development Permit or a payment arrangement).
After expiry of the 7 day notice, if client has no assets to seize, they can be arrested. They will then either be bailed to appear in court for a hearing under section 165 of the FRA, or released on a Community Work Permit (CWP). A CWP allows work off of fines through unpaid community work (0.2 penalty units per hour).