Go to court

Information about applying to go to court about a fine.

What to consider

If you have received a fine, you may want to go to court if:

  • you don’t believe you broke the law, or
  • you did break the law, but you have an excuse, and you think the fine is too harsh.

You can do this even if you have paid your fine.

The fine you were given will be cancelled and the Court will decide what penalty you will receive, if any.

If you apply to go to court, you can't change your mind and pay the fine after you have received a Court Attendance Notice.

Before you apply to go to court about a fine, you should get legal advice. You may also want to get a lawyer to represent you at court. You don’t need to have a lawyer to go to court about a fine. But it is not always easy to represent yourself and even simple cases can sometimes raise complex legal issues.

What you think is a defence may only be an explanation, which means you are still guilty of the offence.

Most fine offences are 'strict liability'. If you commit an offence with strict liability, you are guilty, even if you didn't mean to commit the offence. You can explain to the Court why you don't think the fine is fair. The Court will hear your explanation and consider whether there are any reasons why you shouldn't be fined or you should get a smaller fine.

If you are found guilty, the Court can give you a larger fine. It may also order you to pay a court costs levy, a victims support levy and the legal costs of the prosecutor. For more information, see Costs in fine cases.

The Court can also record a conviction for the offence. If the offence carries demerit points and you are convicted, they will be added to your driving record. For more information, see Driving and criminal record.

If you are convicted, there may also be consequences for your visa. For more information, see Visas and immigration

Fine reminder notice

You can apply to have your fine heard in court up until the due date on the fine reminder notice.

Overdue fine

To apply to have an overdue fine heard in court, you need to prove that you were prevented from paying or managing your fine before the due date - this is called hindrance. You will need to supply supporting evidence, such as medical or travel documents.

You will also need to show that you took action to manage your fine within a reasonable time once you were no longer hindered from dealing with the fine.

When an overdue fine is issued, any demerit points will remain on your licence until your court application is processed.

For more information, see Step-by-step guide: Taking an overdue fine to court.

If you have paid the fine in full

You can apply to have your fine heard in court even if you have paid your fine.

If you paid your fine in full before a fine reminder notice is served on you, you can apply to have your fine heard in court any time before 90 days after the date of the fine notice.

If you asked for a review

You can apply to have your fine heard in court even if you have asked for a review.

Revenue NSW will continue with the review, but will only list the matter for court if the outcome of the review is unsuccessful.

If you have paid all of a fine before there was a fine reminder notice you can apply to have your fine heard in court any time up until 28 days after you get notice of the review decision. 

If you have not paid the whole fine, after a review you will be sent a new fine reminder notice and you have until the due date on this to apply to have your fine heard in court. This is usually 28 days.

For more information, see Request a review.

You can apply to go to court:

  • online via myPenalty
  • by filing out a request to have fine heard in court, or
  • by writing to Revenue NSW
Online via myPenalty

To be login to myPenalty, you will need the fine notice number and the date of the offence.

By filling out a request to have a fine heard in court form

You need to complete:

  • a Request to Have a Penalty Decided in Court – Individual.

You need to attach your evidence of hindrance document to your completed form.

Instructions: Instructions for completing a Request to Have a Penalty Decided in Court – Individual

Sample: Sample Request to Have a Penalty Decided in Court - Individual

If you do not have access to the internet or if you want to write to Revenue NSW. In your letter you should include:

  • the fine notice number,
  • your full name,
  • your address,
  • your date of birth,
  • your phone number and
  • a sentence that explains that you want to go to court, such as: "I am applying to have my fine notice determined by a court. I understand I will receive a court attendance notice".

You can send your completed form or letter to:

Revenue NSW
PO Box 786
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012

You must complete a separate court application for each fine you wish to take to court. There is no application fee to request to have a fine heard in court.

You should make a copy of your form or letter and supporting documents before you post them.

After the Revenue NSW receives your court request, you will be sent a Court Attendance Notice (CAN). It may take several weeks for your CAN to be sent to you.

Sample: Sample Court Attendance Notice

The CAN will have:

  • the details of the Court you must go to – this will usually be the Court closest to where the offence happened.
  • the date and time you must attend court.

This first date that you go ​to court is called a 'mention'. The purpose of the mention is for the Court to find out whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty. For more information, see Going to court.