Warrant to arrest court fines in prison

Last updated: 08 Sep 2022

Waiver of court fines which progressed to warrant to arrest stage prior to 2018

Court fines that progressed to warrant to arrest stage prior to 2018, when the fines reforms were implemented, are not captured by the FRA provisions above. Court fines at this stage cannot be called in post release or be waived administratively as they will not be registered with Fines Victoria (s 200 FRA). This is different to court fines that are at the enforcement warrant stage and have been registered with Fines Victoria. 

To call in court fines that progressed to warrant to arrest stage prior to 2018, a client may request the court fines are converted into a period of imprisonment under s 16A of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) (SA). 

The application must be made in writing to the sheriff, requesting the Director apply to the court for an order for that person to receive a time served order under s 16A of the SA. For the purpose of this application, one penalty unit is equivalent to one day in custody (up to the maximum of 24 months) (ss 16A(2) and 69N SA). If the court makes an order, it will count time served by your client from the date the application was made rather than the time the person entered custody or remand (s 16A(3) of the SA). 

The court will usually order any additional time to be served concurrently (unless your client is in prison for any uncompleted sentence of imprisonment or detention in a youth justice centre or youth residential centre imposed on your client in default of payment of a fine or sum of money failing to pay a fine or sum of money, in which case it will generally be served cumulatively) (s 16(2) of the SA). 

   Practice tip 

The key things to note when advising your client about the option of calling in their court fines at this stage are: 

  • We understand that applications to call in court fines at this stage need to be lodged and heard before a prisoner is released.  
  • If an application is lodged in relation to both court fines and infringement fines and the matter is only heard once a prisoner has been released, the application in relation to the court fines will be struck out. In practice, we understand that the Director of Fines Victoria and the Court will endeavour to try to hear all calling in fines applications prior to a prisoner being released. You should regularly follow up to try to have the matter listed quickly. 
  • Note that your client’s time on remand will not count towards time in lieu of paying the court fine at the warrant to arrest stage. 
  • Before applying to have their fines called in, your client should consider the length of the period of imprisonment they will be required to serve as a result. If the period is longer than the amount of time they have left to serve on their sentence, calling in the fines may have the effect of lengthening the overall period of imprisonment. 

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