Monday, April 2, 2012

Enforcing Unpaid Fines in WA - Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Enforcement Amendment Bill 2012

The Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Enforcement Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced to WA State Parliament in March and is at the second reading stage. It provides for the new fines and infringements enforcement methods . 

The Bill provides the following extra enforcement methods:
  • immobilising a vehicle by means of a wheel clamp;
  • removing number plates from a vehicle; and
  • suspending the vehicle licence (as opposed to cancelling the driver's licence).
The vehicle licence will be suspended when the number plates are removed.

These new enforcement methods require an "enforcement warrant" to be issued. In the case of infringements, one of the requirements for an enforcement warrant to be issued is unpaid infringements totalling $2,000 or more. There is no monetary requirement for the issuing of an enforcement warrant for fines. In the case of both fines and infringements, the Registrar must first issue a notice of intention to enforce. After 28 days have elapsed and if payment hasn't been made, then the enforcement warrant can be issued. The enforcement warrant can be made in addition to a licence suspension order, as can the extra enforcement measures.

The Sheriff will also be able to affix a warning notice to a vehicle which advises of action that may be taken to enforce the fine or infringement.

Other changes to the Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Enforcement Act 1994 include:
  • the ability to obtain a person's current address from their electricity provider; and
  • the ability for the prosecuting authority to immediately register the fine when imposed by providing a written notice to the court officer requesting the fine be registered.
The Registrar will also control and manage a website which will publish a persons details should there be ongoing failure to pay a fine, depending on certain criteria which are outlined in the proposed s56B. The personal details the Registrar will publish are their:
  • given names
  • surname
  • address
  • aggregate amount owed
  • number of outstanding orders to pay or elect and/or outstanding registered fines
Consequential amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 are intended to prevent discrimination against a person on the basis of their details having been published on this website.

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