​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |
LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > Fines > Have you got a fine?

Electing to go to court

This section covers ​

    Why elect (choose) to go to court?

    You may want to elect (choose) to go to court because:

    • you don't believe you broke the law, and you want to challenge the fine. If you challenge the fine, you may enter a plea of not guilty and your case will be given a hearing date, where a magistrate will decide whether you are guilty or not guilty of the offence.
    • you did break the law but you had a reason for breaking the law and you think the penalty is too harsh. If you want to explain what happened to a magistrate, you may enter a plea of guilty and you will be sentenced by a magistrate who will decide on the penalty.

    Before you elect to go to court you should consider the following:

    • you do not have to have a lawyer if you elect to go to court, however, it is not always easy to represent yourself and even simple cases can sometimes raise complex legal issues.
    • sometimes what you think is a defence is only an explanation, which means you are still guilty of the offence. Before you elect to go to court, you should get legal advice.
    • if you go to court, the court can give you a higher fine. You may also have 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.
    • if you go to court, you may be convicted of an offence and that conviction may be recorded on your criminal record. For more information see Driving and criminal records.

    For more information, see Checklist: Things to consider before electing (choosing) to go to court.

    You may also want to consider whether you should ask for a review before electing to go to court.

    For more information, see Asking for a review.

    When to elect to go to court 

    If you have not paid the fine

    When you are first fined you will usually get a penalty notice. If you have not paid the penalty notice at all or in full by the due date, you will be sent a penalty reminder notice. The penalty reminder notice will have a new due date. You can elect to go to court any time up until the due date on a penalty reminder notice. This is usually another 28 days.

    If you have paid the fine in full

    You can elect to go to court even if you have paid your fine.

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

    If you asked for a review

    You can elect to go to court even if you have asked for a review.

    You can elect to go to court any time before your review is decided but if you do this the review will be stopped.

    You can also elect to go to court after a review is decided and your fine is not withdrawn.

    • If you have paid all of a fine before there was a penalty reminder notice you can elect to go to 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 penalty reminder notice and you have until the due date on this to elect to go to court. This is usually 28 days.

    For more information, see Asking for a review.

    Once the due date on the penalty reminder notice has passed, it is too late to elect to go to court and SDR will send you an overdue fine.

    If you have received an overdue fine, but you would like to have your matter heard in court, it is possible to apply to annul (cancel) the overdue fine. An annulment application costs $50.00 (as at July 2015).

    For more information, see Responding to an overdue fine.

    How to elect to go to court

    You can elect to go to court in the following ways:

    • online via myPenalty
    • by filing out a court election form, or
    • by writing to SDR

    Online via myPenalty

    To be login to myPenalty, you will need the penalty notice number and the date of the offence. Once you have logged in, you will be able to elect to go to court.

    For more information, go to the SDR website.

    By filling out a Court election form

    You will need one form, either:

    • Court Election Form - Individuals or
    • Court Election Form - Companies

    You can get forms from the SDR website.

    You will then need to send your completed form to:

    State Debt Recovery
    PO Box 786
    Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
     
    Adobe Acrobat PDF icon(136 kb) or text only version.

    Adobe Acrobat PDF icon(137 kb) or text only version.

     

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

    • the penalty 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 elect to have my penalty notice determined by a court. I understand I will receive a court attendance notice".

    You can send a letter to:

    State Debt Recovery
    PO Box 786
    Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
     

    For more information go to the  Having Your Penalty Notice Decided in Court on the SDR website.

    What happens next?

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

    SampleSample Court Attendance Notice.

    The CAN will have:

    • the details of the court that you have to go to. Your fine will usually be heard at 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. You will have to tell the registrar or magistrate how you want to plead. For more information, see Mention.

    Alert Icon  Once you elect to go to court, the fine you were initially given no longer exists and the court will decide what penalty you will receive, if any. You can't change your mind and pay the fine after you have received a CAN.

    For more information, see Going to court. ​​

    Picture of woman stopped by Railcorp Transit Officers and looking for train ticket