The offender levy is an administrative fee paid by an offender (other than a child) found guilty in a Queensland Court.
The levy applies to the offences in the Magistrates, District or Supreme Courts and becomes payable once you are sentenced. The levy is separate to your sentence and applies whether or not a conviction is recorded. The levy does not apply to re-Hearings or Appeals.
What is the offender levy?
The offender levy is an administrative fee paid by an offender (other than a child) who is found or pleads guilty in a Queensland Court.
The levy becomes payable once you are convicted (whether or not a conviction is recorded) in the Magistrates, District or Supreme Courts. It is imposed for each sentencing event. 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.
The Court does not choose whether or not to impose the levy and does not take the levy or your ability to pay into consideration when deciding your sentence. Most of the time, you will not even hear it mentioned in Court.
The offender levy is separate from your sentence, and 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 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 breaching 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. In fact, if you have lodged an Appeal against your conviction or sentence, you do not have to pay it unless you have a conviction remaining after your Appeal decision.
Does it affect my penalty or sentence?
The offender levy is separate from your penalty or sentence. The Court will not consider the payment of an offender levy when deciding your penalty or sentence.
Offender levy and Court diversion for a minor drug offence
You will 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.
Offender levy and pleading guilty online
If pleading guilty online, 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.
Offender levy and contesting a traffic infringement
You will be charged the offender levy if you unsuccessfully contest a traffic infringement, and are found guilty. This will be additional to any fine, summons cost and witness expenses (if any).
If you are successful in contesting the traffic infringement, and found not guilty, you will not have to pay the offender levy.
How much is the offender levy?
The amount of the levy is set out in the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015, and depends on which Court you are sentenced in.
If you are sentenced in the Magistrates Court, the levy is currently $128.10.
If you are sentenced in the Supreme or District Court, the is currently $384.00.
Failure to pay 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 a payment plan. 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, the money paid to the Court or SPER will go towards those unpaid debts before you pay off the offender levy.
Appealing the offender levy
You cannot Appeal the imposition of an offender levy.
What can I do if the offender levy is incorrectly applied?
Contact the registry of the Court that applied the levy as soon as is possible if you think the levy has been incorrectly applied (eg you have had two levies applied and you believe there should have only been one).
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