Fines imposed following criminal conviction

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Fines imposed following criminal conviction
  • Maximum fines
  • Magistrates’ court
  • Crown Court
  • The court’s approach to imposing financial penalties
  • Surcharges orders paid towards victims’ services
  • Criminal courts charge
  • Magistrates’ courts sentencing guidelines
  • Corporate defendants
  • Crown Court fines
  • More...

Fines imposed following criminal conviction

The key provisions relating to the imposition of fines following conviction are found in sections 118 to 132 of the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020) (also known as the Sentencing Code).

A fine is a financial penalty imposed on conviction either instead of, or in addition to, any other sentence if, under the relevant offence provision, that offence is liable to a fine. A fine can be imposed in the Crown Court or the magistrates’ court and should always be proportionate to the gravity of the offence.

Any fine imposed following conviction must not exceed the maximum specified amount provided by the relevant offence (if such a limit is specified).

A fine will never be appropriate when the seriousness of the offence requires an immediate custodial sentence and must not be imposed where the offence is one in relation to which a mandatory sentence requirement (such as life imprisonment for murder). See: A-G's Reference (No 41 of 1994) (1995) 16 Cr App Rep (S) 792 (not reported by LexisNexis®).

Maximum fines

Magistrates’ court

Certain criminal offences dealt with by the magistrates’ court, have a maximum fine prescribed by statute or subordinate legislation.

For many summary offences, the maximum fine levels are fixed by reference to levels on the standard scale. The standard scale is contained in SA 2020, s 122.

The fine levels in the magistrates are:

  1. level 1—£200

  2. level 2—£500

  3. level 3—£1,000

  4. level 4—£2,500

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