What if I am unable to pay by the due date?
If you are unable to pay an expiation fee or fees of a combined total of $50 or more by the due date, you can apply to the Registrar of the Magistrates Court for relief.
You should apply for relief without delay, not only because the earlier you apply the less you are likely to owe, but also because once an order for enforcement is made the Registrar cannot grant relief.
You may be required to provide still further information. If the Registrar is satisfied that you or your dependants would suffer hardship by paying an expiation fee in full by the due date, the Registrar may make an order allowing you to pay it by instalments with an extension of time. The Registrar will only do this if you are able to pay a reasonable amount by way of instalments. You and the authority that issued the expiation notice must both be given notice of the Registrar’s decision on your application for relief. There is no right of appeal from the decision of the Registrar.
You are not able to convert an expiation fee into a community service order. However, if an enforcement order is made, and you are still unable to pay a reasonable amount by way of instalments, a Magistrate or special justice may then convert your court fine into a community service order (see 'Paying court fines').
See Expiation of Offences Act 1996 s 9.
What if I default on a relief arrangement?
If you are granted relief but do not comply with it, the Registrar may cancel it, notifying both you and the authority which issued you with the expiation notice.
Once relief is cancelled the Registrar will make an order for enforcement (see ‘Enforcement of expiation notices’). In this case, the Registrar will make the order even if more than six months has passed since the date of the alleged offence.
You can apply to the Court for review within 30 days of the cancellation. The Court may consider an application made outside of this time limit if good reason exists for doing so.
The Magistrate or special justice hearing your application for review may confirm or revoke and make other orders relating to the cancellation of relief.
See Expiation of Offences Act 1996 ss 9, 10 and 13.
See Magistrate Court Act 1991 ss 7A and 9A.
What if I make late payment of an expiation fee?
An authority can accept the late payment of an expiation fee at any time before an enforcement order is made. This means that if the date for payment on an expiation notice or expiation reminder notice has passed, but an enforcement order has not yet been made, you may still be able to offer payment to avoid the enforcement fees.
See Expiation of Offences Act 1996 ss 12.
By paying an expiation fee, am I admitting guilt?
The expiation of an offence does not amount to an admission of guilt or of any civil liability and cannot be used as evidence of such an admission.
See Expiation of Offences Act 1996 s 15(4).
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.