The Sheriff is an officer of the Supreme Court of Victoria who is responsible for actioning warrants and orders issued by all Victorian courts. Sheriff's officers are employed to enforce sanctions against people who do not comply with court orders.
A warrant is issued by the courts to the Sheriff of Victoria. A warrant gives the Sheriff authority to act against a person who has not complied with a court order. There are several types of warrants, the most common is an enforcement warrant where a person has received a fine and not paid it.
You are contacted by the Sheriff
If a warrant has been issued against you, you may be contacted by a Sheriff's officer:
- at your home or work
- during a road block operation with Victoria Police, or
- during an automatic number plate recognition technology operation
and your car can be wheel clamped.
The Sheriff's officer will discuss a range of options with you to pay your outstanding warrants. If you do not pay, a Sheriff's officer will serve you with a Seven Day Notice. You may also:
- have your vehicle clamped and detained, or
- have your vehicle's number plates removed.
What to do next
If the Sheriff has served you with a Seven Day Notice, or if your vehicle has been wheel clamped, within 7 days you must do one of the following:
- pay the full amount owing, or
- apply for a payment extension to get more time to pay the fine or pay by instalments, or
- apply for an enforcement review (cancellation) of the enforcement order through Fines Victoria.
Payment order or enforcement review
A payment order or enforcement review application must include supporting documents or evidence to show why your application should be granted.
You can obtain further information or obtain the payment order or enforcement review forms by calling Fines Victoria on (03) 9200 8222 or 1800 150 410 (country callers) or visiting the Fines Victoria website (external link)
If you still do nothing
If you do not take action within 7 days of receiving a Seven Day Notice, the Sheriff can:
- seize and/or remove your assets to be sold to pay the fines, or
- suspend your driver licence or vehicle registration until you pay.
If you do not take action within 7 days of your vehicle being wheel clamped, your vehicle can be seized. Please note that the Sheriff can tow away your vehicle within 7 days if necessary. Unless payment is made, the vehicle will be sold to cover money owing.
If you do not own any assets
The Sheriff cannot seize things that you need to live in basic comfort, such as fridge, television or washing machine.
If you don't have any assets that the Sheriff can seize and sell or the sale of your assets would not cover the amount owing, then the Sheriff has the power to arrest you.
If you are arrested
If you are arrested, a Sheriff's officer can do one of the following:
- if you are eligible, release you on a Community Work Permit, or
- release you on bail to appear before a magistrate at a later date, or
- take you to a police station to appear before a magistrate within 24 hours if you do not agree to the conditions of bail.
What will happen at court
At court, you must explain to the magistrate why you have not paid your fines. The magistrate can do one of the following:
- order you to do unpaid community work, or
- order you to pay the fine(s) by instalments. If you miss one payment you may go to prison, or
- send you to prison.
Find out how to pay your fine, access language services or legal assistance on the Fines Victoria website (external link)