What if I don't pay my fine or default on a payment arrangement?
If you fail to pay your court fine, additional fees will be added to the fine and the total amount owing will increase significantly [see Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Regulations 2018 (SA) reg 6].
Additionally, the Chief Recovery Officer has a wide range of powers to deal with people who default on payment of court imposed fines. These include:
- seizure and sale of assets [Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Act 2017 (SA) s 36];
- garnishment of wages or money owing to you [s 37];
- suspension of your driver’s license [s 38];
- restricting you from transacting business with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles [s 39];
- clamping or impounding any vehicle you own or drive [s 41];
- dispose of seized vehicle under s 41 if uncollected [s 42];
- seizure of vehicle number plates [s 43];
- publishing your name on the Internet [s 44].
The Chief Recovery Officer also has the ability to seek court orders requiring you to undertake a period of community service or participate in an intervention program, should other enforcement processes fail or be inappropriate, and where the court is satisfied that you do not have the ability to pay the amount owed without you or your dependants suffering hardship [see ss 46(1)(a) and 46(1)(b)].
The Chief Recovery Officer also has the ability to write off an amount payable under an expiation notice where they are satisfied that there is no reasonable prospect of recovering the amount, or the cost of recovery are likely to exceed the amount to be recovered [see s 27].
Under section 29 of the Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Act 2017 (SA) the Chief Recovery Officer can investigate whether you have the means to pay the outstanding sum.
Community service orders
If the enforcement processes undertaken by the Chief Recovery Officer are not successful or not appropriate, the Chief Recovery Officer can apply to the court for a community service order [see s 46]. The court can make an order for community service where it is satisfied that you do not have, and are not likely to have, the means to pay the amount owed without you or your dependants suffering hardship [see s 46(1)(a)].
The Chief Recovery Officer can also apply to the court for an order that you participate in a treatment program [see s 46(1)(b)].
However, if at any time the Chief Recovery Office is satisfied that you have the means to pay the amount owed without you or your dependants suffering hardship, then they may apply to the court to revoke a community service order or treatment order and restore the monetary amount owing [see s 46(11)].
If you fail to comply with a court ordered community service order or treatment order, you can be imprisoned. You will be sent a notice to appear before court to explain your failure to comply with the order, and if you fail to appear at your allocated court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest [see s 47].
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.