What if I am unable to pay by the due date?
If you are unable to pay an expiation fee or fees you can enter into an arrangement with the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit for an alternative means of payment [Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA) s 9]. This can be done at any time during the period for payment of the expiation fee and payment of a prescribed fee is required. The prescribed fee for entering into an arrangement is $18.70 (as of 1 July 2016). See Expiation of Offences Regulations 2011 (SA) reg 4A. The fee may be waived in cases of financial hardship.
The types of alternative arrangements that can be entered into include:
- payment by direct debit instalments over a period not exceeding 12 months;
- payment by instalments over a period exceeding 12 months;
- an extension of time to pay;
- the taking of a charge over land;
- the surrender of property to the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer.
Once you have entered into an arrangement you are considered to have expiated the offence (or offences) to which the arrangement relates, even if the arrangement is subsequently terminated [s 9(14)].
If you are an undischarged bankrupt or you have previously had enforcement action taken against you, the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer may refuse to enter into an arrangement with you or may require you to provide security or obtain a guarantee [s 9(6)].
Community service available under limited circumstances
You are not able to convert an expiation fee into community service. However, you may be able to enter into an agreement to perform community service in the following circumstances:
- an enforcement determination is made under section 13 of the Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA); and
- the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer is satisfied that you do not have, nor are you likely to have, within a reasonable time, the means to pay the amount owed without you or your dependants suffering hardship.
See 'Paying court fines'.
If you have entered into an arrangement to perform community service but the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer subsequently finds that you have the means to pay the amount owed without you or your family suffering serious hardship, the arrangement will be terminated [s 9(11)].
What if I default on a payment arrangement?
If you default or fail to comply with a payment arrangement it will be terminated after a period of 14 days [Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA) s 9(10)].
Once the arrangement is terminated the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer may make an enforcement determination. They must first be provided with a certificate by the issuing authority that contains all relevant details such as your name, the offence or offences to which the unpaid amount relates and the amount due [s 13].
You can apply to the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer to have the determination varied or for it to be revoked (i.e. cancelled). Any application for a revocation (cancellation) of the determination must be made within 30 days of notice of the enforcement determination being sent or given to you.
The grounds on which you can apply for a revocation (cancellation) of the enforcement determination are that:
- the expiation notice should not have been given to you in the first place; or
- procedural requirements were not followed; or
- you failed to receive the notice; or
- the issuing authority failed to receive a notice you sent electing to be prosecuted; or
- the issuing authority failed to receive a statutory declaration or other document sent by you; or
- you have expiated (i.e. paid the amount fined for) the offence or offences.
See Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA) s 13(8).
Alternatively, you can apply to the Court for review within 30 days of notice of the determination being given to you [Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA) s 14(1)]. The Court may consider an application made outside of this time limit if good reason exists for doing so. The only ground for appeal when applying to the Court is that the expiation notice should not have been given to you in the first place because you did not commit the offence or offences to which it relates [s 14(3)].
The Court may confirm, vary or revoke the enforcement determination and make any other orders it considers necessary under the circumstances.
See Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA) ss 9, 13 and 14.
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 determination is made. This means that if the date for payment on an expiation notice or expiation reminder notice has passed, but an enforcement determination has not yet been made, you may still be able to offer payment to avoid the enforcement fees.
See Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA) s 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 (SA) 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.