Gatenby’s Quick Summary: Court penalties are increasing by $3 a unit. While this may not seem like much, fines are often large multiples of units, leading to a significant increase in total penalty. These penalties are for everyone who is sentenced in Queensland.
From 1 July 2019, fines in Queensland are set to increase by 2.25%. An appearance in Court will become more expensive with the value of the penalty unit in section 3 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015 (PSR) is set to increase from $130.55 to $133.45.
An appearance in Court will become more expensive with the value of the penalty unit in section 3 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015 (PSR) is set to increase from $130.55 to $133.45.
What is a penalty unit?
A penalty unit is a prescribed amount of money that is used to calculate fines for most financial penalties in Queensland. A fine is calculated by multiplying the value of a penalty unit by the number of penalty units. For example if the fine was 10 penalty units it would be calculated as follows:
Fine ($1,334.50) = value of Penalty Unit ($133.45) x number of Penalty Units (10)
How does this affect me?
The regulation prescribes the penalty unit value under
- the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 which is applicable to most local government laws; and
- an infringement notice for an offence against a local government law
As a consequence of the increase all offenders will receive increased fines. These increases affect all penalties from parking infringements and littering, to traffic and serious criminal offences.
As an example, the increase to the penalty unit will:
- see the penalty for an offender caught driving 13-20km/h over the speed limit increase from $261 – $267.
- Parking infringements on the Gold Coast will reach $80.
- Motorists convicted of driving without due care and attention will face a maximum penalty of $5,388, an increase of $166.
- Graffiti offences will rise from $2611 to $2669.
The justification is that increasing the penalty unit value ensures the deterrent and punishment effect of fines and infringement notices is maintained
The objective of the Penalties and Sentences (Penalty Unit Value) Amendment Regulation 2019 (Amendment Regulation) is to increase, from 1 July 2019, the prescribed monetary value of the penalty unit in section 3 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015(PSR) by 2.25% from $130.55 to $133.45.
The regulation prescribes the penalty unit value under the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (PSA) which is applicable to: most local government laws, and an infringement notice for an offence against:
- a local government law (section5(1)(c)(i)of the PSA);
- The State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999
- infringement notices issued under the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999 (section 5(1)(a)(i) of the PSA); and
- most other state laws (section 5(1)(e)(i) of the PSA).
Section 5A of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 provides a mechanism for the indexation of the monetary value of a penalty unit in certain circumstances. Increasing the penalty unit value ensures the deterrent and punishment effect of fines and infringement notices is maintained
Section 5A(1) of the PSA provides that a regulation may prescribe the same monetary value of a penalty unit for section 5(1)(a)(i), (c)(i) and (e)(i) of the PSA. The prescribed amount for the purpose of section 5A(1) of the PSA is contained in section 3 of the PSR.
Section 5A(2) of the PSA provides the amount that may be prescribed must not be more than the amount last prescribed under section 5A, increased by a percentage change published by the Treasurer in the gazette on or before 31 March in the year in which the regulation is made, or otherwise increased by 3.5%.
Section 5A(3) provides that if the amount worked out under section 5A(2) is not a multiple of 5 cents then the amount must be rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5 cents.
Section 5A(5) provides that a regulation may only prescribe one increase for an amount of the penalty unit for the financial year.
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For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.
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