AC2.3 Assessing forms of sentencing to aims (FINES)

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  • Fines
    • normally given for less serious offences and therefore are very often used by magistrates' courts
      • detterence
        • A fine may make an offender reluctant to re-offend for fear of further punishment.
        • As the use of fines is a common way of disposing of first offenders, fines may be used as a signal that worse will follow if they re-offend.
    • 15% of those found guilty receive a fine
      • retribution
        • Hitting someone in the pocket can be a good way to make them suffer for the harm they have done.
        • 61% of fines are either written off or remain uncollected (Moss, 2015)- not actually punishing the offender.
    • magistrates can only impose fines up to £5,000 (or £10,000 for two or more offences).
      • fines may not always meet their aims of punishment- retribution or deterrence because the punishment is not actually carried out
    • A poorer defendant will probably receive a smaller fine, and/or be allowed to pay in instalments.
      • Courts can deduct fines from an offender's benefits or send in bailiffs to seize their property in the event of non-payment
      • many fines do not get paid. E.g. by 2016 the backlog of unpaid fines and court surcharges had reached £747m.


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