If you’ve committed an offense punishable by law in Singapore, you might be asked to pay a fine. While these could be small amounts you can easily afford, some fines are heavy. So, what do you do if you can’t afford such an amount? This article covers what you should know about what happens if you can’t pay a fine in Singapore.
A Brief Overview of What a Fine Is
A fine is a monetary punishment imposed on you for committing an offense. Once you get this verdict, paying it off before the due date is essential. Failure to do so only compounds the issue and may lead to a heavier penalty. You might incur even heftier fines or be arrested and sentenced to prison.
Types of Fines
Fines in Singapore are mainly of two types:
- Composition Fines
- Court Fines
A composition fine is paid to resolve a criminal charge outside of court. You get this for minor traffic or regulatory violations like unauthorized parking, exceeding the speed limit, and smoking in a forbidden area.
Sometimes, you may receive a notice or warning containing an “offer of composition.” This is your option to resolve the ticket by paying a certain amount without going to court. However, you might receive a notice that does not include a composition offer. This implies that you must appear in court, where you may be given a fine or jail time if proven guilty of the offense.
The court imposes these penalties for more serious offenses like theft. If so, the judge establishes a payment deadline, and you must have paid the fine in full before the time elapses.
How to Pay Fines
You can pay composition fines using either NETS or a credit card at any AXS kiosk in your area. If you don’t prefer a physical location, you can make payments online through the AXS website or mobile app.
The specific payment method for court penalties depends on which court issued the fine: the State Courts, Family Justice Courts (FJC), or the Supreme Court.
State Courts penalties can be paid through the Automated Collection System (ACS) kiosk in the State Courts Bail Centre. Payment for FJC penalties can be made at the cashier desk on Level 1 of the FJC Havelock building.
You can pay fines imposed by the Supreme Court at the Legal Registry on Level 2 of the Supreme Court. The accepted forms of payment are usually cash, NETS, cashier’s check, credit card, and GIRO.
What Do You Do if You Can’t Afford to Pay a Fine?
There are instances when you can’t pay a fine in Singapore due to the large amount. If so, there are three alternatives you should consider – extension, installments, and a loan.
When faced with a composition fine, you can ask the appropriate authority for a delay in payment by submitting a deferral request. It’s essential to verify with the proper authority how to submit a request to defer payment of a fine as it may vary from agency to agency.
For court fines, the court that levied the penalty has the discretion to give extra time for its payment. So, if you think you might be unable to meet the deadline, you can ask the court for more time to make the payment during your hearing.
You can also request to pay in installments, but you can only do this via an application. However, note that the relevant body has the authority to decide whether or not your application will be accepted.
If you cannot pay the installments on time, you can choose to change the original plan. If the fine is from the state, you have a chance to alter the original installment payment plan seven days before the due date. For Supreme court or the FJC fines, you can only change the installment plan 2 weeks before the actual payment plan is due.
Note that you must have a solid reason for your application, like financial or medical problems. You must also back up this cause with evidence when submitting your application. However, if your request to modify your installment plan is denied, you must pay the fine on or before the due date.
Another viable option if you can’t pay a fine in Singapore is getting a loan to offset the bill. i-Credit offers Singapore court fine loans that can help you with these penalties. All you need to do is visit their official website and apply.
Fines can be burdensome, but you should always strive to pay them before the deadline. Disregarding it might lead to more serious legal consequences, which you obviously would not want to deal with. We have provided the alternatives available if you can’t pay a fine in Singapore. However, you can always contact the government authorities to see if you have more options.