3. Understand what can happen if you don’t pay

If you don’t pay your victim fine surcharge (VFS), you’re at risk of:

  • and forfeiture proceedings: this means the unpaid fine becomes a in . It can be enforced by taking your property such as cash, cars, and real estate and selling it. Or by collecting it from your bank account or wages if you’re employed.
  • going to jail: a judge can send you to jail for an amount of time they think is suitable. This only happens if you don’t have a reasonable excuse for not paying. You should not be sent to jail if you truly can’t pay.

Before deciding to send you to jail for not paying the VFS, the judge has to look at other options. For example, suspending or not renewing your driving license, as well as civil enforcement and forfeiture.

If the judge sentences you to jail, they issue a of in default payment of a fine. The warrant gives police the right to you and bring you to jail.

VFS and record suspensions

If you don’t pay your VFS, you can’t apply for a . A record suspension used to be called a . If you get one, it means your criminal record can’t be accessed in a criminal record check. This makes it easier to apply for a job, for example. Your criminal record isn’t deleted or erased. It still exists, but can’t be accessed by others.

You can apply for and get a record suspension only after you’ve served your and a certain amount of time has passed. This time is called the waiting period. The waiting period is 5 or 10 years, depending on how serious your crime was.

The waiting period for a record suspension starts only after your sentence ends. And your sentence ends only after you’ve paid the full amount of your VFS.

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