Clients can also present with warrants to imprison where a court has ordered that they be sentenced to a term of imprisonment in default of payment of a fine or instalment order under the Sentencing Act1991 (Vic). Warrants to imprison are issued under s 68 of the Magistrates Court Act 1989 (Vic).
To identify which of these types of matters your client has, you should contact the Magistrates’ Court to obtain a copy of the orders on the court file.
Although very rare, one of the ways in which clients come to get an imprisonment in lieu order under the Sentencing Act is where they have been given a community corrections order, a fine conversion order or fine default unpaid community work order which has been breached. When this happens they are then brought back before the Court via charge and summons (s 83AG(1) of the SA).
The key differences in relation to these matters as opposed to warrants to imprison under s 165 of the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic) are:
The jurisdictional complexities do not exist – these are criminal proceedings for the purpose of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) so there is a right of appeal and rehearing available to clients;
The underlying offences for which the client was sentenced may involve criminal charges. Contact Homeless Law to discuss the prospects of our Senior Criminal Lawyer taking on and defending the matter or making a referral to Victoria Legal Aid.
With these differences in mind, the following options apply to clients with warrants to imprison stemming from orders under the Sentencing Act:
Negotiate with the sheriff to hold off enforcement to allow the client to get the money together or consider other options
Appeal the conviction and the sentence or just the sentence. Because the client has been sentenced as part of a criminal proceeding, the client has the option of appealing the Magistrate’s decision (as opposed to imprisonment orders made under s 165 of the FRA where there are limited rights of appeal).