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Paying a court fine

This advice applies to Scotland

You have to give priority to paying a fine

If you have received a court fine it is important that you give priority to paying it because, if you don’t, the collection and enforcement section of the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service can:

  • clamp your car or other vehicle and sell it to repay your fine
  • arrest wages through your employer
  • freeze any assets (funds) in your bank account
  • arrange with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to take direct deductions from your benefits

Fines from a court ,or the police for a fixed penalty offence, are a priority debt. If you are having difficulty paying your fine, because of other financial commitments, you can contact your local Fines Enforcement Officer. 

If you have a fine from your local authority for parking or other environmental offences you have to pay the local authority not the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service.

More about appealing a parking ticket issued by the local authority 

How to pay your fine

Check what instructions are on the notice of the fine you have received. The fine notice will usually provide contact details and addresses for paying online or by phone or post. You will need the reference number for your fine and may need the documents to hand when paying online or by phone for other details

Online

Many fines can be paid online using a debit card or other direct process like Paypal. You cannot pay a fine for a driving offence that attracts penalty points as you have to send your driving licence to the court where the fine was imposed to have the licence endorsed.

Phone

If you have a debit or credit card you can usually pay your fine by phone as long as it is not for a fine for which penalty points need to be added to a driving licence. 

Post

You can send payment for your fine by post normally by a cheque or postal order.

At court

You can usually pay your fine by cheque or postal order at the public payment counter of your local sheriff court.

Fines Enforcement Officers

Each sheriff court area has a Fines Enforcement Team. The job of the team is to enforce the payment of fines when someone won’t pay but also to provide advice and support for you if you are having difficulty paying.

Work out your budget

When you need to discuss what you can afford to pay with a Fines Enforcement Officer you can use the budgeting tool. You may also find it helpful to get some help from a debt adviser if you have other debts too.

More about how to sort out your debts

Individual Payment Plans

A Fines Enforcement Officer can discuss a range of options with you about how to pay your fine. You will need the details of your income and expenditure to come to an agreement. When financial circumstances change you may be able to have a new plan drawn up but only if the Fines Enforcement Officer agrees. You may be asked by the court to get help from a debt adviser. Get help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau

Fine not paid – what happens next

If you do not pay a fine the Procurator Fiscal can issue a warrant for your arrest. This may happen when a number of fines have remained unpaid for some time and no contact has been made with the Fines Enforcement Team in the local area.

More information

There is helpful information and more details about paying your fine and the services of the Fines Enforcement Officer on the website of the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service.

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