Fine in the United States
A monetary punishment levied by a court on a person convicted of a crime. A fine is generally used as an exclusive penalty for less serious offenses and ordinance violations, but may often be used, in addition to imprisonment, for more serious crimes. A fine is also often coupled with the sanction of probation.
restitution, 182; Sentence (Criminal Process).
Analysis and Relevance
The fine is the oldest form of criminal sanction and remains the most frequently used. Fines do punish, but they do so without adding to the number of incarcerated persons, an important by-product in a time of great overcrowding in detention facilities. Fines are the punishment of choice for those who advocate alternatives to imprisonment for convicted offenders. Fines also generate substantial revenue for state and local governments. Most estimates place this amount in excess of $1 billion each year. Refusal to pay a fine may result in imprisonment. The Supreme Court ruled, however, in Williams v. Illinois (399 U.S. 925: 1970) that imprisonment of an indigent person for failure to pay a fine violates standards of due process and equal protection. A variation on the basic concept of the fine is forfeiture. Forfeiture involves the seizure of property and other assets of those engaged in criminal conduct. Typically, forfeiture judgments are sought against those in organized crime activities. Recently, drug traffickers have been the principal target of forfeiture processes. The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act, enacted by Congress in 1984, contains the current federal law on forfeiture. Most states have similar forfeiture statutes. The rationale for the forfeiture of assets is that law breakers ought not to profit from their criminal behavior. A person subjected to forfeiture may also be punished by imprisonment and/or fine upon conviction.
Notes and References
- Definition of Fine from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California
chance would be a fine thing, rain before seven, fine before eleven.
Further Reading (Articles)
Fines Bill set to cut number imprisoned for not paying, The Irish Times; May 29, 2010; JAMIE SMYTH
Fines for urinating in Selby streets. Selby Times (Selby, England); February 1, 2012
Fines, Encyclopaedia Judaica; January 1, 2007; Cohn, Haim Levitats, Isaac Elon, Menachem
Higher Fines Compel Uninsured Americans to Sign Up; Healthy Less Willing to Sign Up for Insurance Than Unhealthy, Gallup Poll News Service; April 16, 2014; Richter, Charlie Nichols, ord
EU fines Microsoft $357 million, threatens new fines, Deseret News (Salt Lake City); July 12, 2006; Aoife White AP business writer
Library waiving fines, lowering late fees, Dayton Daily News (Dayton, OH); July 1, 2007; Dayton Daily News
‘Scrap fines for criminals who cannot afford to pay’, The Scotsman; June 6, 2006; Hamish Macdonell Scottish Political Editor
Double-parking fines could climb; City Council to vote on proposed ordinance, Intelligencer Journal Lancaster, PA; August 22, 2002; Larry Alexander
Fines, Jail Time and Treatment Are Among the Punishments, The Washington Post; February 12, 2006
Finer shirtings in demand. (textile industry), Daily News Record; May 10, 1989; Stuart, Frank
‘FINE’ IS A WOMAN’S ULTIMATE REVENGE, Post-Tribune (IN); October 20, 1994
Increase in fines content and adhesion behavior in the pneumatic conveying of CB. Rubber World; August 1, 2001; Keuter, H.
“Fine Particle Sensor and Mounting Structure Therefor” in Patent Application Approval Process, Politics & Government Week; October 11, 2012
Collecting Fines; YOUR LETTERS TO THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF WALES, Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales); July 13, 2010
Fines payback; Refunds for motorists after scales reviewed.(News), The Independent on Saturday (South Africa); January 27, 2007
Regulation Project on Fines Was Published, Mondaq Business Briefing; April 16, 2014; Erdem, Ercumet
EU Fines Microsoft $357M, Threatens More, AP Online; July 12, 2006
FINE ARTS DEPARTMENT PRESENTS TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; January 29, 2007
‘Traffic Fines Unfair’ — Judge, Los Angeles Sentinel; April 30, 1997
Waiving Fines, Library Administrator’s Digest; December 1, 2012; Robinson, Charles W.