Navigating the legal system can be a daunting experience, especially if you find yourself facing criminal charges. In New South Wales (NSW), in addition to potential fines and penalties, you may also be required to pay specific levies if convicted of an offence. This article will summarise the critical information regarding the Victims Support Levy (VSL) and Court Costs Levy (CCL), updated as of July 2022. It aims to provide a straightforward guide to these levies, their amounts, exemptions, and other essential aspects.
What are the Levies?
In the State of NSW, two levies are often automatically imposed upon conviction for an offence. These are the Victims Support Levy (VSL) and the Court Costs Levy (CCL).
Victims Support Levy (VSL)
The VSL is levied on those found guilty of offences in NSW Courts and serves to fund the Victims Support Fund, which offers financial and counselling assistance to victims of violent crimes in the state. It amounts to $90 for summary offences and $199 for indictable offences.
Court Costs Levy (CCL)
The CCL, applicable only in summary proceedings before a Local Court, contributes to the operational costs of courts and the justice system. The levy stands at $85.
The VSL is imposed by the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013, and the CCL is imposed by the Criminal Procedure Act 1986. It’s crucial to note that neither of these levies are penalties imposed by the court or judicial officers; rather, they are automatically levied upon conviction.
Certain offences are exempt from these levies. For the VSL, exemptions include offences related to the use of offensive language, travelling on public transport without a fare or ticket, engaging in offensive conduct, and vehicle parking offences.
As for the CCL, exemptions include convictions resulting in imprisonment (excluding suspended sentences), convictions in proceedings before the Drug Court or the Children’s Court, and findings of guilt in relation to traffic offences when the accused is under the jurisdiction of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987.
Can You Appeal Against These Levies?
There is no right to appeal against either the VSL or the CCL. If you’re facing financial difficulty, you can contact the court for options like extended time for payment or paying by instalments. For those under 18, it is possible to request that the court directs you are not liable to pay either levy.
Understanding levies like the VSL and CCL is an essential part of preparing for legal proceedings in NSW. Though the levies are small compared to other financial penalties one might face in court, they are significant and automatic unless specific exemptions apply. Therefore, it’s advisable to be aware of these levies and prepare accordingly.
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Article is 2022 dated.