How to dispute a fine
- Is your fine an infringement or a court imposed fine?
- Disputing a court imposed fine
- Disputing an infringement
- What happens once I have sent in my application?
- What happens if my infringement dispute is approved?
- What do I do if my infringement dispute has been declined?
- Review of decision
An infringement is a fine that was originally issued by the police or a local council or other issuing authority, this would normally take the form of an infringement notice, either handed to you or posted to your home address. An example of this type of fine is a fine for No Warrant of Fitness on your vehicle.
A court imposed fine is a fine that is ordered during sentencing at a court. This is normally ordered by a judge and may include reparation, where you are sentenced to pay money to the victim of a crime. An example of this would be a fine for Disorderly Behaviour.
If you are not sure what type of fine you have, you can complete our e-mail form or call us on 0800 4 FINES.
If your fine is a court imposed fine, you have 28 days from the day it was given in court to appeal that fine. In some situations, you may also have the right to request a rehearing of your case. If you have a court imposed fine and would like to dispute it, you will need to make an application in writing. These forms can be requested from your local district court.
When your fine is still an infringement, before it comes to court, you have the opportunity to dispute it. An infringement is generally sent to court 56 days after the date that the offence took place, if your infringement is before that date, then you need to contact the issuer to dispute. Once it reaches us and becomes a fine, it is generally too late to dispute it. However, there are some grounds where you can dispute.
1. You are not the person named on the infringement
- This does not mean that there is a different name on the letter, rather that it was not you driving the vehicle at the time, there is a case of mistaken identity or you no longer owned the vehicle at the time of the infringement
2. You did not receive the infringement reminder notice
- This is a notice sent out to you, generally, 28 days after the original infringement notice.
There are several situations where you cannot use this ground, these are:
You were handed the ticket at the time of the infringement
- You have previously been successful using this ground for the same infringement
- Your reminder notice was sent to the wrong address because the address for your vehicle was not up to date with the New Zealand Transport Agency
3. You did not receive a Notice of Hearing.
- This only applies if your request for a hearing was granted by the people that you requested it from, but you never received a notice advising the time/place of the hearing.
4. You asked for a hearing but never received anything back regarding your request
- The request must have been made in writing prior to the 28th day after the reminder notice was sent to you.
5. You were told at the time that you were given the ticket that action would not be taken if you fixed/updated/got something.
- This is often called compliance, it is where you were asked to do something that your vehicle required, like updating your vehicle registration, and told that if you do this, you will not need to pay an infringement.
6. You had more time to ask for a hearing
- This is where you needed more time to get a hearing request in to the authority and advised them of this, they agreed, and gave you a new time to get it in by, and then they sent the infringement on to us before that date.
7. You requested further information from the issuer.
- This is where you asked for something, such as information on the relevant law that you were supposedly in breach of, but they did not send this information to you
- It is important to note that you must have made this request within time to allow the issuer to respond.
- You cannot use this as a ground if you made a request and the issuer responded advising that they were refusing to provide you with that information.
8. You paid the infringement notice within the given time
- You can use this ground only if you paid the FULL amount of the infringement to the issuer before the due date listed on the REMINDER notice.
9. Another error occurred in the process of the infringement being sent to the court.
- This ground should be used only where something went wrong with how the infringement got to court. An example of this would be that you asked for a hearing, one was granted to you, but the date on the letter for the hearing was incorrect.
- If you are considering using this ground, it is very important that you provide evidence to show the problem that occurred.
- If you are unsure which ground applies, please contact our staff by calling 0800 4 FINES or visiting your local District Court.
Complete the application form
You can complete the application form online (PDF, 1.14MB), or you can request one from our staff by calling 0800 4 FINES or visiting your local District Court.
You need to fill in all the sections, where possible, with the information required. If you do not have some of the information, this is ok, however we will not be able to process the application if it does not have the following:
- Your first and last name
- Your date of Birth
- Your mailing address
- The fine(s) that you wish to dispute (While only having the name and date is enough, if you can provide the CRN number this will speed up the process)
- The ground under which you are disputing
- A clear e-mail address , if you wish to receive the result of your application that way
You must provide evidence to support your application. If you do not provide evidence, then it is likely that your application will be declined.
Types of evidence you could include are:
Utility Bills (Power, Water, Rates, etc)
A Copy of your passport, including the front page
Copies of letters or e-mails sent to the police or councils
Other travel documents
NZ Post mail redirection notification
The above is not a complete list, and anything that you think might help support the ground that you are going to apply under may help your case.
Once you are ready to send in your application, you can send it to us via e-mail at email@example.com, hand it in at your nearest district court (find your nearest district court) or you can send it in to us at
Ministry of Justice – Dispute Fine
Your application will go to a court officer, who will make a decision based on the evidence provided and the ground under which you are applying. In some cases they may be required to send the application to the issuing authority to get consent. If your application is made on a week day, then the decision will be made within 48 hours. If your application needs to go to the issuing authority then there may be a delay of up to 28 days for a response.
Once the decision has been made and finalised, you will be sent a letter telling you the result of your application. If you made your application via e-mail, then an e-mail will be sent with this information.
Depending on the nature of your application and the ground under which you have made your application there can be several different outcomes when an application has been approved.
Re-issue reminder notice: The fine is removed from the Courts and sent back to the issuing authority who will likely re-issue a reminder notice. At that point, you may either speak to them about it further, or pay the original infringement amount. Regardless of whether or not you receive a new reminder notice, you should contact the Issuing Authority within 28 days of receiving our letter/e-mail telling you that your application has been approved.
Set up a hearing: This does not happen often, but occasionally a hearing will be set up so the matter can be judged further. This is usually only issued where you originally requested a hearing, see grounds 3 and 4 above.
Withdrawal: This is where the issuing authority willingly requests that the fine be taken out of the Courts and cancels it at their end. This is something that the issuing authorities do at their own discretion; there is no legal requirement for them to do this.
You have some options on what to do once an application has been declined
Option 1: Pay the fine
Option 2: Submit a new application. You may want to add new evidence, or even change the ground under which you are applying. If you are having difficulties with this please contact us by completing our email form, or by calling 0800 4 FINES.
Option 3: Ask for a review. If you feel strongly that the Court Officer has made an error in their decision making, you may ask for a review of the application. Your original application and the evidence you provided will then be transferred to a District Court Judge for review.
If you want a decision made on an application reviewed by a judge, you need to complete an application, you can pick one up from your local district court (find your nearest district court), or request one by calling 0800 4 FINES. This will need to be sent via normal post or e-mail to the addresses listed in the application section above. Once this is received, the court officer will attach your original application and its evidence to be sent to the judge. Reviews can take up to two months to be completed.
It is very important to note that an application of this nature cannot contain new evidence. It is based on the original application as it was at the time it was submitted. If you believe you have new evidence that proves the ground that you originally applied under, then you are better off making a new application to dispute a fine.