Challenge your fine in court
Please take the time to assess your options carefully and get legal advice before electing to go to court. Call 1300 888 529 for free legal help.
You can challenge your fine in the Local Court.
The Court might dismiss the charge (fine) or order you to pay a smaller fine or no fine at all. However, the Court can also decide to give you a larger fine, make you pay extra costs, disqualify you from driving and record a conviction against your name.
- If you do not think you should have got the fine
- If it was not you who broke the law, it was someone else
- If you don’t think you should have to pay the full amount
- If your application for review was rejected and you now want the court to decide what is to happen
You cannot challenge your fine in court if:
- You have received a Penalty Reminder Notice and the due date on the notice has passed, or
- You paid the fine more than 90 days ago
Fine cannot be reviewed
Revenue NSW will not be able to review your fine after you have asked for your fine to be heard in court. If you want Revenue NSW to review your fine, you need to ask for this first. Wait for the outcome of the review before you ask to go to court.
Findings of guilt
If you did break the law, most of the time it will be a good idea to plead guilty. If you plead guilty, or are found guilty by the Court, it might appear on your criminal record.
The Court can choose to give you a bigger penalty than you started with. Penalties can include disqualifying you from driving.
The Local Court is very busy. It might be many weeks or months before your court date.
In some Court matters you may have to pay extra costs to the Court or the other parties legal costs.
You can challenge your fine in Court by completing a ‘Court Election’. The fine you received should have information on how to do this – usually you can submit it online.
When you go to court, you will get to tell your side of the story to the Magistrate. You can plead guilty and explain your circumstances when you got the fine. Or you can plead not guilty and you will need to come back to court for a hearing on another day to explain your circumstances when you got the fine.
To help prepare for Court you should think about:
- what happened when you got the fine?
- what have you done to make up for it, or to stop it happening again?
- your income and ability to pay a fine
- your personal circumstances
- for driving fines, the impact of losing your licence
Make a written application
- Complete the Court Election asking to have your fine heard at Court
- Make sure you include your current residential and postal address so a Court Attendance Notice can be posted to you, so you know your court date. This cannot be posted to a PO Box
Wait for your court date
- You will get your court date in the mail
- Don’t be surprised if your matter is not heard in court for many weeks or months
Go to Court
- Put your Court date in your diary
- If you miss your court date the Magistrate will probably deal with the matter without you being there. This will usually mean a fine with extra costs
- If you don’t want to go to court, you can complete the Written Notice of Plea. This form should come in the mail with your Court Attendance Notice. But if you are asking the court to be lenient, it is usually a good idea to go to court to explain why the court should be lenient
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Please don’t ignore your fine
If you do not take action by the due date you may pay more and be stopped from driving or using your car.