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Crisis Help Network: Melbourne Homeless Services

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Perin Court Fines

What is a PERIN fine?

Fines can be issued by agencies (such as the police, public transport inspectors, parking inspectors) for all sorts of offences. The PERIN fines that are most commonly issued to homeless people include fines for public transport and parking offences, drinking or having an open bottle in a public place, littering, swearing and begging.

The following scenario looks at PERIN fines:.

Matt is homeless and doesn't have enough money to pay for his tram ticket. He is questioned by a ticket inspector on the tram, and given a fine. Matt does not pay his fine on time (most fines must be paid within 28 days). 28 days later, Matt still hasn't paid the fine. The fine is then passed from the relevant transport authority to the PERIN Court.

The PERIN Court is a court that deals solely with fines. It is not like a normal court, as there are no hearings. Once a fine has been passed on to the PERIN Court, the court can issue an 'enforcement order', requiring you to pay the fine. This is what happens to Matt.

What should you do if you receive a PERIN fine?
Once Matt receives an enforcement order from the PERIN Court, he has the following options. Matt can:
pay the fine
ask for more time to pay the fine
ask to pay by installments
apply to the PERIN Court to have the enforcement order 'revoked'.

Matt can apply to have a fine 'revoked' if
he did not commit the offence or have a valid reason for committing the offence
he has 'special circumstances', such as mental or physical illness, drug or alcohol addiction, or a disability.

If the PERIN Court accepts the revocation application, the fine may be withdrawn or referred to the Magistrates' Court for hearing. At that hearing, the Court may dismiss the fine if you are homeless or have special circumstances.

How can the Clinic help Matt?

The Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic can assist Matt to deal with the enforcement orders or fines, including by applying to have the enforcement orders revoked or appearing for Matt at any hearing free of charge.

If you would like assistance, you should attend one of the Clinics. If possible, bring with you:
a copy of the fine and any other letter that you have received about the fine
identification (such as a driver's license, birth certificate etc).

The lawyers at the Clinic will ask you the following details:
your name and any previous names
your current address and any contact phone numbers
your previous addresses
your date of birth
your driver's license number
details about when and where you received your fine or fines
details about any special circumstances you may have

If you have lost the fine, or are unsure whether you have received a fine, you should still attend the Clinic and speak with one of the lawyers.

Remember: Even if it's been some time since you received your fines, you should still attend the Clinic for advice. Failure to deal with your fines will not make them go away. It will result in extra costs and the issue of a warrant. The Clinic can help you to deal with your fines and move forward with a clean slate.

For further information about the Clinic contact:

Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic
Public Interest Law Clearing House
Level 1, 550 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9225 6684 Fax: (03) 9225 6686

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