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Infringement warrants and enforcement

Important changes from 31 December 2017

From 1 July 2017, the Infringements Act 2006 (Vic) was changed as part of Victoria's fines reform process, including new ‘social justice initiatives' that affect people experiencing vulnerability. On 31 December 2017, the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic) commenced, creating Fines Victoria. This resulted in significant further changes to the infringements system and substantially shorter timeframes for dealing with infringements and fines.

Please be aware of these reforms in relation to any infringements assistance that you are providing to your clients.

We are in the process of updating Homeless Law in Practice. Justice Connect Homeless Law pro bono lawyers should read our further materials about the changes here (password needed), before doing any fines work after 1 July 2017. Please speak to your supervising lawyer, team leader or Homeless Law staff for more information.

Timeframes - warrants, enforcement and expiry

When will a person receive an infringement warrant?

If your client has taken no action after receiving an enforcement order or has defaulted on his or her payment order for more than 28 days, the Infringements Registrar must issue an infringement warrant under section 80 of the Infringements Act.  An infringement warrant must be in the prescribed form (section 82).

If your client had previously been issued with an infringement warrant but it had been stayed because of a payment order and your client then defaults on payment by more than 28 days of it being due, then another infringement warrant may be issued against him or her (section 78). 

If a seven day notice had been served on your client less than 6 months before the default, the warrant can then be executed without further notice.  If no seven day notice had previously been served or it was issued more than 6 months before the default, another seven day notice must be served on the person before the infringement warrant can be executed (section 78). 

What happens when an infringement warrant is issued?

When an infringements warrant is issued, an additional fee of $59.84 (as at 1 July 2015) is added to the fine. 

If an infringement warrant has been issued to your client, it is important to advise your client that an infringement warrant also authorises the sheriff, a police officer or a Commissioner to, without any further notice:

  • detain or immobilise or seize your client's car pursuant to sections 96 or 97 of the Infringements Act;
  • direct VicRoads to not renew your client's registration or licence pursuant to sections 114 or 115 of the Infringements Act;

Your client's car can be detained or immobilised or your client's registration or licence not renewed even if the original fine was not related to a driving or parking offence.  If either of these enforcement actions is taken against your client, you should advise your client to contact you immediately so that you can take immediate steps to apply for revocation, apply for a payment plan or pay the fine in full.

Before the warrant can be executed and more serious enforcement action can be taken, your client must be issued with a seven day notice and that seven days must have expired (section 88). 

When does an infringement warrant expire?

AAn infringement warrant becomes null and void if not executed within five years from the date of issue (section 94) and the enforcement order also expires at this time (section 62). However, an enforcement order can be reinstated for one further five-year period on the Infringements Registrar's own motion or on application of the enforcement agency. Upon reinstatement the fine becomes recoverable as if there had been no expiry (section 63).  Further, a fresh infringement warrant can be issued after the expiry with the leave of the court (section 94B). 

As the underlying infringements do not expire, it means that there is a risk that enforcement orders and infringement warrants can be reinstated. 

You should advise your client of this risk and, when closing the matter, advise them to seek legal assistance immediately if she or she receives an enforcement order, infringement warrant or seven day notice in the future.