This week’s interview is with Mr Tim Hampton from the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM) in Port Augusta, where he works as a Financial Counsellor and Consumer Advocate.
Tim lets us know about what we need to do if we get a fine – he explains where to go and how to ask for help to pay a fine or to work out a payment plan if someone is experiencing financial hardship or can’t afford to pay the fine.
If you would like more information about how to manage a fine, you can visit the website of the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit, which manages overdue fines issued by authorities across South Australia. The website provides information about different payment methods and other questions that people might have about managing fines.
Fines are governed by the Expiation of Offences Act, 1997. Amongst other provisions, this Act (in Section 9) sets out the different arrangements for settling a fine. These arrangements include, amongst others:
- payment by instalments
- an extension of time to pay
- the taking of a charge over land
- the surrender of property to the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer
- payment of any amount, including by direct credit, by or through some other person or agency
- subject to subsection (5)—requirements for the performance of community service by the alleged offender (in accordance with a scheme prescribed by the regulations). The Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer may only agree to an arrangement requiring the performance of community service if the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer is satisfied that the alleged offender does not have, and is not likely within a reasonable time to have, the means to satisfy the amount due under an expiation notice without the alleged offender or his or her dependants suffering hardship; and an enforcement determination has been made by the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer under section 13 in relation to the expiation notice.
- any other form of arrangement agreed by the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Officer and the alleged offender.
While very little information is provided on the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit’s website about financial hardship or a person’s inability to pay a fine and the potential to do community service, Section 9 of the Act clearly provides for this. It is important that people know what their options are when it comes to managing a fine and that they are provided with all the options, including the option to pay by instalments or do community service.