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The offender levy is an administrative fee that an offender (other than a child) found guilty in Queensland courts must pay.
If you are convicted of one or more offences in the magistrates, Supreme or district courts, an offender levy will be imposed at the time you are sentenced. The court does not have a choice whether to impose the levy, and does not take the levy or your ability to pay into consideration when deciding your sentence.
The offender levy is separate from your sentence, and it applies whether your conviction is recorded or not. If your sentence includes a fine, this is separate to the offender levy. The levy cannot be converted to a fine option order or imprisonment.
If you are being sentenced for more than one offence in the same proceeding, you will only have to pay the levy once. If you are charged with multiple offences and choose to be sentenced over two or more days, a levy will be imposed after each proceeding.
If you are re-sentenced for the same offence, you will not have to pay the offender levy again. However if you contravene a requirement of a previous sentence (for example you breach your probation order), this is a new offence and if you are found guilty, you will have to pay a new levy (this does not apply to offences under the Bail Act).
The levy does not apply to re-hearings or appeals.
No. the offender levy is separate from your penalty or sentence. The court will not take into account that you will also have to pay an offender levy when deciding what your penalty or sentence will be. See Possible penalties and sentences.
Yes. You still have to pay the offender levy if you go to court diversion for a minor drug offence.
If you are found guilty of an offence in a Queensland court, you will have to pay the offender levy in addition to any penalty or sentence you receive. This applies even if no conviction is recorded. See Court diversion for a minor drugs offence.
Yes. You will still have to pay the offender levy. If you are given a sentence in a Queensland court, you have to pay the offender levy whether you appear in person or not.
For information about pleading guilty online see Criminal cases in the magistrates court or pleading guilty online.
If you contest a traffic infringement unsuccessfully and you are found guilty of the offence, you will be charged the offender levy. This will be on top of any fine, summons cost and witness expenses (if any).
If you successfully contest the traffic infringement and you are found not guilty of the offence, you do not have to pay the offender levy.
If you are considering contesting a traffic infringement, you should get legal advice.
The amount of the levy is set out in the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015. The amount of the levy will depend on which court you are sentenced in.
If you are sentenced in the magistrates court, the levy is currently $118.80.
If you are sentenced in the Supreme or district court, the is currently $356.40.
The offender levy can be changed by regulation. You should check the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015 to confirm the amount of the levy.
If you do not pay all of the levy to the court at the time you are sentenced, your details will be registered with the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER).
You can contact SPER to make arrangements to pay by installments. The levy cannot be converted to a fine option order or imprisonment.
If you owe money to the court for compensation, restitution, damages or some other penalty, money you pay to the court or SPER will go towards those unpaid debts before you pay off the offender levy.
No. You are not able to appeal the imposition of the levy.
If you believe the levy has been incorrectly applied (eg you have had two levies applied and you believe there should have only been one), contact the registry of the court that applied the levy as soon as possible.
You may need legal advice if you
Legal Aid Queensland may provide advice on most areas of criminal law.
If you have been charged with a serious offence or have an urgent matter, we might suggest that you apply for a grant of legal aid if you are eligible, or that you seek private representation, rather than wait for a legal advice booking.
The following services may also be able to provide you with legal advice and assistance.
Community legal centres - many CLCs provide free legal advice and information on criminal law. Check with them to see if they can help with your matter.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation on criminal law matters.
Important: before seeking legal advice about a criminal charge, you should collect your QP9 from the police prosecutor at your first court date. If you were unable to collect it at your first court date, you should apply to the police/prosecutions office for your QP9. You will need to present photo identification and a written request to the police prosecutor. Contact your local police station if you are unsure where to apply.
These organisations may also be able to help with your matter. They do not provide legal advice.
Queensland courts provide information for people going to court (defendants and witnesses) and general information about the different types of courts in Queensland, eg Magistrates, District, Supreme, Mental Health Court, Childrens court, Coroners court, and more.
State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) is responsible for the collection and enforcement of unpaid infringement notice fines, court ordered monetary fines and Offender Recovery orders issued in Queensland. You can make arrangements to pay SPER an amount each week/fortnight/month.