Settlement Guide

Settlement guide: How to get free legal advice when you get a fine

First rule when getting a fine: Do not ignore it, fines may get bigger if not paid on time. Source: Getty Images

Got a fine? You may not be aware of your options and the consequences if you don’t pay the fines. Here's everything you need to know.

What to do when you get a fine?

If you get a fine, don’t ignore it! Fines only increase over time and more penalties are added to the fine the longer you ignore it.

If you get a fine and you're not sure what to do, or you want to fight it or you would like the advice of an expert, get in touch with Legal Aid.

How to get free legal advice?

There's a Legal Aid in each state and territory, with solicitors ready to answer your questions.

They even have interpreters so you can speak to somebody in your own language.

Parking fine
There is free Legal Aid available when you get a fine and want to dispute it or have incurred penalties.
AAP

What to do in financial hardship?

Legal Aid can also assist you in particular situations, like serious financial hardship or if you're suffering from a mental illness, to access special programs.

There is special consideration under the law for people who can show that they don't have enough money to pay the fine, says Paula Novotna from Legal Aid NSW.

It can mean having a payment plan or clearing your fines with activities instead of money.

How to break the cycle of fine debt?

There’re different services to help you clear your fine debt.

For example Legal Aid NSW’s Work and Development Orders (WDO) program lets you pay off the debt with volunteer work, treatment programs, counselling, courses and other activities.

Even if you are not eligible you can still get help with overdue fines.

Cash
If you have accumulated a debt, there are options available to help you pay it off.
AAP

If you have questions or need help regarding fines, contact Legal Aid. Each Australian state has a phone number you can call to receive free advice.

Useful links:

Law Week www.everyday-law.org.au/law-week

Legal Aid NSW www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/ Helpline: 1300 888 529

Victoria Legal Aid www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/ Helpline: 1300 792 387

Legal Aid WA www.legalaid.wa.gov.au Helpline: 1300 650 579

Legal Aid Queensland www.legalaid.qld.gov.au Helpline: 1300 651 188

Legal Aid ACT www.legalaidact.org.au/ Helpline: 1300 654 314

Legal Aid Tasmania www.legalaid.tas.gov.au/ Helpline: 1300 366 611

Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission www.ntlac.nt.gov.au/ Helpline: 1800 019 343