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What is meant by calling in fines?

Changes to the new administrative scheme operating for prisoners who have outstanding fines now include Court Fines.

The time served scheme empowers the Director of Fines Victoria to waive outstanding infringements. This now includes Court Fines which have been incorporated into the Time Served Scheme as of 18 July 2022.

To start this process, the prisoner must apply to the Director to have their fines waived. The Director may waive fines where the prisoner has sufficient prison time to be able to serve the outstanding fine amount concurrently with their sentence.

If a prisoner has unpaid infringements or court fines it may be possible for the prisoner to serve time in prison for the amount outstanding. This is also called 'time served scheme', 'calling in the fines', 'rolling over the fines' or 'imprisonment in lieu of payment'. It has also been known as the 'Sheriff Prison Program'.

The prisoner can ask the director to apply to court for an order asking that their eligible fines and infringements be converted to a period of imprisonment.

Unless the prisoner is serving a term in prison for:

  • defaulting on an instalment order,
  • defaulting on paying a fine
  • unpaid fines (under s. 160—Infringements Act 2006 [if before 31 December 2017] or s. 165B—Fines Reform Act 2014)

the person will serve this prison sentence concurrently with their existing sentence. That is, they will not serve additional time in prison unless the length of their prison sentence is not long enough to cover the amount of the fine penalty.

See s. 171E—Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What is a fine?

In this topic a 'fine' can be a penalty ordered by the court that requires a person to pay an amount of money. It could also be a fixed amount of money set out in an enforcement warrant. Infringement notices are issued by many different agencies. The most common agencies are the Traffic Camera Office, local councils and the agency that issues public transport infringements, Public Transport Victoria.

The information about fines relates to adults unless a young person is specifically mentioned.

More information


Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)

  • s. 165B—term of imprisonment for person who defaults on relevant infringement fine (sets out the rate that a fine will be 'worked off' under prison time).
  • Part 14 Div 2—time served orders in respect of relevant infringement fines

See Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

  • s. 16A—person may consent to imprisonment for unpaid fines

See Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Fines Victoria

See Fines—About Fines Victoria(opens in a new window).

Justice Connect

Justice connect provides information about the infringements system in its homeless persons' legal clinic. This information includes flowcharts to explain each stage of the fines process for both infringements and court fines.

See Homeless Law in Practice—Infringements – 'Calling in` fines when your client is in jail(opens in a new window).

Department of Justice and Community Safety

The department has produced an information sheet designed to explain the changes to the procedures for calling in fines.

'Time served' scheme for prisoners (pdf, 301 KB)(opens in a new window).

This fact sheet, produced by the Department of Justice and Community Safety, sets out the changes to the scheme and the reasons behind the changes.

Note: This resource is dated 2016 and does not deal with the new administrative process of dealing with fines. When an update is available, it will be uploaded here.