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A fine or mulct (the latter synonym typically used in civil law) is a penalty of money that a
court of law A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, C ...
or other
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of Interpersonal ties, social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It use ...
decides has to be paid as punishment for a
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, definitions of", in C ...
or other offense. The amount of a fine can be determined case by case, but it is often announced in advance. The most usual use of the term is for
financial Finance is the study and discipline of money, currency and capital assets. It is related to, but not synonymous with economics, the study of Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics) ...
punishments for the commission of crimes, especially minor crimes, or as the settlement of a claim. One common example of a fine is money paid for violations of
traffic Traffic comprises pedestrians, vehicles, ridden or herded animals, trains, and other Public conveyance, conveyances that use public ways (roads) for travel and transportation. Traffic laws govern and regulate traffic, while rules of the roa ...
laws. Currently in
English common law English law is the common law list of national legal systems, legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly English criminal law, criminal law and Civil law (common law), civil law, each branch having its own Courts of England and Wales, ...
, relatively small fines are used either in place of or alongside community service orders for low-level criminal offences. Larger fines are also given independently or alongside shorter
prison A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention cen ...
sentences when the
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...
or magistrate considers a considerable amount of retribution is necessary, but there is unlikely to be significant danger to the public. For instance,
fraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compe ...
is often punished by very large fines since fraudsters are typically banned from the position or
profession A profession is a field of work that has been successfully '' professionalized''. It can be defined as a disciplined group of individuals, '' professionals'', who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted b ...
they abused to commit their crimes. Fines can also be used as a form of
tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal person, legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regiona ...
. Money for
bail Bail is a set of pre-trial restrictions that are imposed on a suspect to ensure that they will not hamper the judicial process. Bail is the conditional release of a defendant with the promise to appear in court when required. In some countries, ...
may be applied toward a fine. A
day-fine A day-fine, day fine, unit fine or structured fine is a unit of Fine (penalty), fine payment that, above a minimum fine, is based on the offender's daily personal income. A crime is punished with incarceration for a determined number of days, or wi ...
is a fine that, above a minimum, is based on personal income (similar to progressive taxation), as opposed to a fine of a fixed amount. Day-fines are often implemented as a way to alleviate some of the burden on the poor, who might otherwise have issues paying/affording some fines. Some fines are small, such as for loitering, for which fines (in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
) range from about $25 to $100. In some areas of the United States (for example
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located along the West Coast of the United States, Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territori ...
, New York,
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish language, Spanish: ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States. At 268,596 square miles (695,662 km2), and with more than 29.1 million residents in 2 ...
, and Washington D.C.), fines for petty crimes, such as criminal mischief (shouting in public places, projecting an object at a police car) range from $2,500 to $5,000.


Fines by country


England and Wales

In the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, unless the context otherwise requires, the expression "fine", except for the purposes of any enactment imposing a limit on the amount of any fine, includes any pecuniary penalty or pecuniary forfeiture or pecuniary compensation payable under a conviction. In section 32 of that Act, the expression "fine" includes a pecuniary penalty but does not include a pecuniary forfeiture or pecuniary compensation. In sections 15 to 32 and 48 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, the expression "fine" includes any pecuniary penalty. In England, there is now a system whereby the court gives the offender a 'fine card' which is somewhat like a
credit card A credit card is a payment card issued to users (cardholders) to enable the cardholder to pay a merchant for goods and services based on the cardholder's accrued debt (i.e., promise to the credit card issuer, card issuer to pay them for the ...
; at any shop that has a paying-in machine he pays the value of the fine to the shop, which then uses the fine card to pass that money on to the court's
bank account A bank account is a financial account maintained by a bank or other financial institution in which the financial transactions between the bank and a customer are recorded. Each financial institution sets the terms and conditions for each type of ...
. A related concept is the fixed penalty notice, a pecuniary penalty for some minor crimes that can be either accepted (instead of prosecution, thus saving time and paperwork, or taken to court for normal proceedings for that crime. While technically not a fine, which, under the
Bill of Rights 1689 The Bill of Rights 1689 is an Act of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the 13th century until 1707 when it was replaced by the Parliament of Great Britain. Parliam ...
, may be levied only following a conviction, it serves the same purpose of punishment. Early examples of fines include the
weregild Weregild (also spelled wergild, wergeld (in archaic/historical usage of English), weregeld, etc.), also known as man price (Blood money (restitution), blood money), was a precept in some archaic legal codes whereby a monetary value was establishe ...
or blood money payable under
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a Cultural identity, cultural group who inhabited England in the Early Middle Ages. They traced their origins to settlers who came to Britain from mainland Europe in the 5th century. However, the ethnogenesis of the Anglo- ...
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
for causing a death. The murderer would be expected to pay a sum of money or goods dependent on the social status of the victim. See also English criminal law.


The Netherlands


Criminal law


General information

The Dutch Criminal Code ''(Dutch: Wetboek van Strafrecht (WvSr))'' doesn't contain specific amounts for fines for every violation of the law. Instead of that the Criminal Code provides six fine categories. Every penalty clause of the Criminal Code contains a fine category. The categories are: These sums are only an upper limit, it's up to the judge or the prosecutor to determine the exact sum of the fine. However, the amount of the fine must be at least €3. The sums of categories are always 1, 10, 20, 50, 200 and 2000 times the amount of the first category. In addition to the fine, the convict also has to pay an administration fee of €9. The amounts are established by the government, via a royal order. When the judge convicts an individual to a fine, the judge must also set a term of substitute imprisonment. This substitute imprisonment will be executed in the case that the fine remains unpaid. The judge may count one day imprisonment for every unpaid €25, however normally judges reckon one day for every €50 which stays unpaid. Though, the substitute imprisonment must be at least one day (even though the fine was €3) and cannot exceed one year (even though the fine was €100,000).


Execution of a court imposed fine

Once a person is irrevocable convicted to a fine, it's up to the public prosecutor to collect the fine. To do so, the cjib ''(centraal justiteel incassobureau (English: central judicial collection agency))'' is established. First, the CJIB will send the convict the fine. If the convict pays the fine the case is closed (by paying, the convict loses the right to go into appeal as well), if he doesn't, the case will be continued. The CJIB will then send the convict a reminder, though this reminder will contain an increment of €15. If this doesn't lead to the payment of the fine, the CJIB will send another reminder, now with a raise of 20%, however, the raise must be at least €30. When the fine continues to be unpaid, the CJIB will instruct a bailiff to collect the fine nonetheless. This bailiff may, for example, seize the convict's income and sell his possessions. If these measures do not result in the full collection of the fine, the bailiff will return the case to the prosecutor. The prosecutor will order the police to arrest the convict, in order to execute the earlier written substitute imprisonment. The length of the imprisonment will be percentage-wise reduced if the convict has paid a sum, but not the entire amount of the fine. After the substitute imprisonment the convict will be a free man again. He also won't have to pay the fine anymore and the case will be closed.


Frequently committed traffic violations


=General information

= Before 1 September 1990, all traffic violations were punished via the criminal law. The suspects were first offered a sort of plea bargain. This mostly contains a fine. If the suspect didn't pay the fine of this plea bargain, the public prosecutor had to open a criminal case, otherwise he wasn't authorized to collect the fine through force. The case had to be withdrawn when the capacity of the courts or the prosecutor's office didn't allow the start of a criminal case for a traffic violation. This was the case very often. This situation led to a negative spiral, because traffic offenders hoped and expected their case to be withdrawn, and didn't pay the plea bargain fine. This led to a growing pressure on the capacity of the courts, which causes more sepots (decisions not to prosecute). This encouraged more offenders not to pay, etc. In order to stop this spiral, the secretary general of the justice department (at that time), Dr. Albert Mulder, designed a new system of law enforcement. Under this new system, the government acquired the right of summary foreclosure. The summary foreclosure means that the CJIB can execute the fine directly, unless the fined subject goes to appeal. The system regarding frequently committed traffic violations is regulated by Administrative Enforcement of traffic Rules Act ''(Dutch: Wet administratiefrechtelijke handhaving verkeersvoorschriften (WAHV))''. According to the WAHV the maximum sum of the administrative fine is the same as the maximum amount of the first category (Art. 2 section 3 WvSr Criminal Code). The exact fine per violation is determined by an annex of the WAHV. In addition to the fine, the fined subject will also have to pay €9 administration costs as well. The amount of the administration costs will also be determined by the minister.


Process of the administrative fine

Once a subject has been fined by an officer or photographed by a speed camera, he will receive a decision within four months. This decision will contain a short description of the violation, the place and time the violation was committed and sum of the fine. The subject will have two choices now. He can pay the fine or he can go into appeal. In contrast to the court imposed fine, when the subject has paid the fine, he will keep the right to go into appeal. The subject can go into appeal within six weeks. In the first instance, the subject appeals to the public prosecutor. The prosecutor shall withdraw the fine completely when he thinks the appellant has right. He will lower the sum of the fine if he thinks that the suspect is partially right. If the prosecutor thinks that the suspect isn't right, he will uphold the fine. As long as the prosecutor has not made a decision on the appeal, the suspect does not have to pay the fine yet. Once the prosecutor has made a decision, the suspect will again have two choices. He can pay or he goes into appeal at the sub-district judge of his arrondissement (or the arrondissement of the place where the disputed violation was committed). But now, the suspect has to pay the fine as a surety.Art. 11 section 3 Wahv
/ref> If the suspect doesn't pay the surety, the judge will declare him inadmissible (thus the fine will be upheld). The judge will have the same choices as the prosecutor. He can withdraw the fine, lower the fine, or uphold the fine. If the (remaining) fine is higher than €70 and the suspect or/nor the prosecutor doesn't agree with the sub-district judge's verdict, the suspect or the prosecutor can go into appeal for the last time. He does that at the court of appeal of Arnhem-Leeuwarden in Leeuwarden. This appeal will be in writing, unless the appellant, per se, wants to do it orally. If the fine is lower than €70, or the appellant's appeal is rejected in Leeuwarden, there will be no legal remedies anymore and the case will be closed. The appellant's surety will be transformed to a fine.Art. 21 section 2 Wahv
/ref>


See also

*
Amercement An amercement is a financial penalty in English law, common during the Middle Ages, imposed either by the court or by peers. The noun "amercement" lately derives from the verb to amerce, thus: the king amerces his subject, who offended some law. T ...
* Asset forfeiture — in which the results of a crime and items used in a crime are seized *
Civil penalty A civil penalty or civil fine is a financial penalty imposed by a government agency as restitution for wrongdoing. The wrongdoing is typically defined by a Codification (law), codification of legislation, regulations, and decrees. The civil fine ...
*
Damages At common law, damages are a legal remedy, remedy in the form of a money, monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury. To warrant the award, the claimant must show that a breach of duty has caused foreseeable loss. ...
*
Day-fine A day-fine, day fine, unit fine or structured fine is a unit of Fine (penalty), fine payment that, above a minimum fine, is based on the offender's daily personal income. A crime is punished with incarceration for a determined number of days, or wi ...
* Library fine * Nuisance fee * Penalty units *
Standard scale The standard scale is a system in Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth law whereby financial Criminal law, criminal penalties (Fine (penalty), fines) in legislation have maximum levels set against a standard scale. Then, when inflation makes it nec ...


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Fine (Penalty) Payments Punishments