Types of fines

Information about what offences are punishable with a fine.

There are many different types of offences that you can be fined for.

This page doesn't cover court fines. For more information about court fines, including how to deal with them, see Pay your court fine.

One of the most common reasons you may receive a fine is for committing a traffic offence, for example:

  • speeding
  • using a mobile phone while driving
  • not wearing a seat belt
  • not indicating when turning a corner
  • stopping within ten metres of an intersection
  • driving an unregistered car
  • driving through a red light.

NSW Police or Transport for NSW (TfNSW) can give fines for traffic offences. TfNSW will issue fines when an offence is detected by one of their cameras, for example, a speed or red light camera.

Many traffic offences have a fine and demerit point penalty. If you reach your demerit point limit, your licence will be suspended. For more information, see Demerit point suspension.

Your licence can also be suspended if you commit certain speeding and major traffic offences, for example, exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 kilometres per hour. For more information, see Speeding and On-the-spot suspensions.

If you receive a fine for a low range drink driving (first offence), novice PCA (first offence) or special range (PCA), police can issue an immediate three-month suspension.

​If you have received a Notice of suspension, or if your licence has been suspended, you may be able to either appeal or avoid the suspension. You should act quickly because time limits apply. For more information, see Appeal your licence suspension.

For more serious traffic offences, you may be given a Court Attendance Notice (CAN). If you get a CAN you will have to go to court and the Court will decide whether to give you a fine and disqualify your licence For more information, see Going to court.

You can receive a fine for offences committed on public transport, such as:

  • travelling on a train without a ticket
  • placing your feet on seats
  • littering on a train
  • smoking on a train or in covered or enclosed areas of a train station
  • damaging or vandalising a train.

Transport Officers or NSW Police can give fines on public transport.

Fines for public transport offences can also be known as 'penalty notices' or 'infringement notices'.

Local Councils have the power to fine you for a number of offences, including:

  • parking offences
  • not cleaning up after your dog
  • wasting water
  • damaging public property
  • illegal dumping, littering and pollution
  • continual barking by your dog
  • not having your pet properly registered.

If the council has taken a photo of the alleged offence, you may be able view it by contacting the council.

The police can also issue fines for minor criminal offences, for example, shoplifting and offensive behaviour. This type of fine is called a Criminal Infringement Notice (CIN).

Some government agencies also have the power to issue fines, for example:

  • NSW Fisheries has the power to fine you for fishing without a licence
  • the NSW Food Authority has the power to fine you for not complying with health regulations when serving food.

If you travel on a toll road and don’t pay the toll, the registered operator of the vehicle will be sent a toll notice. This includes the toll fee and an administration charge. This is not a fine.

If you get a toll notice, you can:

  • pay the toll,
  • object to the toll or
  • complete a statutory declaration to report that someone else was driving your car at the time.

For more information, see the Sydney Motorways website.

If you don’t respond to the toll notice, you may then be sent a fine. This fine is for the offence of non-payment of a toll. You can use the information in this topic to respond to this fine. ​

What is a private' fine'?

A private fine is not a fine, but rather a claim for a debt. Private fines can't be enforced by Revenue NSW.

One type of organisation that regularly issues private fines are private car parks.

You might be fined in a private car park for a number of reasons, for example, for:

  • parking for too long
  • not displaying a ticket
  • not paying a fee.

Other common private fines include fees for overdue videos or library books.

What can happen if you get a private fine?

If you don’t pay the fine, the organisation may bring a claim against you in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court to recover the debt.

To be successful, it would have to prove that:

  • you entered into a contract with the organisation
  • you breached that contract (that is, you did not follow the terms of that contract).

For more information about responding to claims in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court, see Responding to a claim.

If you are disputing a fine from a private organisation, you should get legal advice.