A person who owes court fines is treated in a similar way to an ordinary debtor. The Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit manages the collection of fines and court costs. The Chief Recovery Officer of that Unit has various enforcement powers in relation to these types of debts. The Unit can recover and take enforcement action against debtors in relation to pecuniary debts (court issued fines, compensation, victim of crime levies, etc) and expiation notices (fines).
In order to avoid additional costs associated with late payment of fines and court debts a debtor must either:
If a debtor is unable to meet the suggested instalment plan, they can seek an extension of time to pay or vary the period for payments by instalment (over up to 12 months) after payment of a prescribed fee ($20.50 *) [Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Act 2017 (SA) s 15].
If they fail to pay a court fine within 28 days of the date it was imposed by the court, a fee of $106 * will be added to the amount owing.
If they fail to pay the court fine within a further 30 days of it becoming due, an additional fee of $193 * will be added to the amount owing (in addition to the $106 that would have already been added).
A reminder notice will be issued after 28 days has passed of the court fine becoming due. A fee of $57.00 * applies for the issuing of the reminder notice, and this amount is added onto the total amount owing.
See Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Regulations 2018 (SA) regulation 6 and Schedule 2 (3).
*Fees current as of 1 July 2019.
In addition to an extension of time or payment by instalments there are other arrangements available under the Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Act 2017 (SA) section 15(5) which include:
A fee is payable to enter into one of these arrangements and is usually required to be paid before entering into the arrangement. However, the fee can also be added to the debt owed, or can in some circumstances be waived [see ss 15(2) and 15(3)].
Non-payment of fines
If a debtor has previously been subject to an enforcement action (if they previously have not paid fines within the time period) or if they are an undischarged bankrupt, the Chief Recovery Officer may refuse to make arrangements to pay by instalments or other alternative methods of repayment [Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Act 2017 (SA) s 15(8)]. When the debtor cannot make an arrangement with the Chief Recovery Officer, or in cases of non compliance with an existing arrangement, the Chief Recovery Officer has wide ranging powers to enforce the debt, including:
The Chief Recovery Officer also has the ability to seek orders requiring the debtor to undertake community service [s 46(1)(a)] or requiring the participation in a treatment program [s 46(1)(b)], where the above enforcement options are unsuccessful or inappropriate.
Where the Chief Recovery Officer has seized the number plates of a motor vehicle as part of an enforcement process, the number plates are forwarded to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles who can subsequently cancel the vehicle registration [see s 61A of the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA)].