Special Circumstances


You may be eligible to have an infringement notice withdrawn or an enforcement order cancelled if there are special circumstances, such as a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness, a serious drug addiction, homelessness or family violence.

What are special circumstances?

The term 'special circumstances' is defined in the Infringements Act 2006. This may apply to you if at the time you received the fine:

1. You had a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness, or a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance, that meant that you were unable to:

  • understand the behaviour resulting in the offending conduct, or
  • control the behaviour resulting in the offending conduct

 

2. You were homeless or were affected by family violence and because of your circumstances,  you were unable to control the behaviour that resulted in the offending conduct.

Note:

  • Homelessness can include staying in crisis accommodation, living in transitional housing, couch surfing or sleeping rough.
  • 'Family violence' is defined in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008.

 

Am I eligible?

In order to qualify for special circumstances you must:

1. establish that at the time of the offending conduct, you had a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness,  or serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance,  were homeless or were affected by family violence and

2. explain how your  condition or circumstances resulted in you being unable to either understand or control your offending conduct and

3. provide evidence to support your application.


What kind of evidence is required?

You must provide evidence to support your application. This evidence could include letters, reports (eg. medical reports), statements, Court orders (e.g. Family Violence Intervention Orders) that confirm your condition/circumstances and establish that your condition/circumstances resulted in your offending conduct.

Evidence can be accepted from relevant practitioners or case workers including but not limited to:

1. In the case of a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness:

  • General practitioner
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse

 

2. In the case of a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol, or a volatile substance 

  • General practitioner
  • Case manager
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Accredited drug treatment agency or accredited drug counsellor

 

3. In the case of Homelessness 

  • Case worker or case manager
  • Approved agency such as Salvation Army, Hanover, St Vincent's (or other agency funded under the Supported Accommodation Assistance Act 1994 (Cth))
  • Recognised health or community welfare service provider

 

4. In the case of Family Violence

  • Case worker or social worker (eg. specialist family violence case worker)
  •  Financial counsellor
  • Health practitioner (eg. general practitioner, psychologist, psychiatrist, registered occupational therapists)
  • School principal or school welfare co-ordinator

There is no restriction on the format of the evidence provided,  however those that provide evidence to support your application  should include their qualifications and relationship with you and should be signed and dated within the last 12 months (unless the condition relates to a lifelong condition, eg. intellectual disability).

 

In relation to a mental illness, disability, disorder, disease or illness or a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance, your health practitioner or case worker should  address the following questions:

1. What is the diagnosis?

  • What is the nature and severity of the condition?
  • How long have you had the condition? Please specify dates if possible.

 

2. Has the condition resulted in you being unable to either understand or control the conduct that constitutes the offence?

  • Were you suffering and/or diagnosed with the illness or condition at the time of committing the offences?
  • If so, how did the condition contribute to the offence?
  • Are you taking medication, or undergoing any treatment or rehabilitation?

 

3. Is there any other relevant information?

 

In relation to homelessness the evidence should include the following details:

  • include details of current living arrangements (if any)
  • give details of period of homelessness
  • demonstrate how the circumstance contributed to your offending conduct
  • provide any other relevant information that may assist in the review of the application
  • be signed and dated within the last 12 months.

 

In relation to family violence, the evidence should include the following details:

  • include a summary of your circumstances
  • how long you were affected by family violence,
  • whether you were affected by family violence at the time the offence was committed.

 

Exceptional circumstances

Applications may be made on the basis of 'exceptional circumstances'. This term is not defined in the Infringements Act 2006. This ground is intended to apply to one-off circumstances and is designed to include circumstances where the applicant has enough awareness and self control to be liable for their conduct, but has a good excuse for the conduct.

If a person wishes to claim exceptional circumstances on the basis of medical or health reasons, they will require supporting evidence from their practitioner to show that because of particular circumstances they should be excused from liability to pay the infringement.

 

How do I apply?


The method for applying depends on how far your fine has progressed within the infringements process (infringement notice, penalty reminder notice, enforcement order or infringement warrant).

The best way to identify the current status of your fine is to check your most recent notice (for example, the title at the top of the form may indicate "Infringement Notice - to The Operator" or "Enforcement Order Notice").


If you have an infringement notice or penalty reminder notice:

You must complete an internal review form.

Please send your completed form, along with all original documents, to the agency that issued your fine (refer to your most recent notice for agency contact details).

For more information about internal reviews, please visit the Request an Internal Review page of this website.

Checklist (infringement notice or penalty reminder notice stage):

  • Completed internal review form (signed and dated)
  • Details of your special circumstances
  • Evidence supporting your application for special circumstances

 

If you have an enforcement order or infringement warrant:

You must complete an application for revocation (special circumstances).

To assist you with your revocation application, please refer to the process for lodging a special circumstances revocation application information sheet.

Please send your completed application, with all original documents, to:

Infringements Court
Special Circumstances Registrar
PO Box 14487
MELBOURNE VIC 8001

Please note: If supporting documents are not provided, your application may not be successful.

Checklist (enforcement order or infringement warrant stage):

  • Complete Application for Revocation (Special Circumstances) (signed and dated)
  • Provide evidence supporting your application for special circumstances

 

What happens after you apply?

If your application is granted, the Infringements Court will:

  • revoke the enforcement order,
  • send confirmation of the outcome to you in the mail,
  • refer your matter to the 'special circumstances' list in the Magistrates' Court for determination, and
  • refer the matter to the agency that issued the original fine for their consideration.

 

The issuing agency can decide to withdraw the fine, or refer the fine to the Magistrates' Court for hearing. The Magistrates' Court will advise you of the hearing date.

If your application is refused, the Infringements Court will:

  • continue enforcement action
  • send confirmation of the outcome to you in the mail
  • tell you how much you need to pay and when you need to pay it by (depending on your application, the Infringements Court may decide to vary the outstanding amount owing on your fine).


How to refer your matter to the Magistrates Court

If you're unhappy with the outcome of your application, you can write to the Infringements Court requesting that your matter be referred to the Magistrates Court for final determination.

Your letter must include:

  • your name and address
  • your obligation number

 

You should send your objection within 28 days of the date in your notice.

Send your letter to:
The Infringements Registrar
PO Box 14487
Melbourne 8001

Who can provide legal assistance?

If you are applying for special circumstances it is recommended that you seek legal advice:

 

If you require further information about applications you can contact Civic Compliance Victoria® by phone 9200 8111 or visit Ground Floor, 277 William Street, Melbourne.

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