Definition - What does Fine mean?

A fine is one form of punishment imposed when someone admits to or is found guilty of breaking the law. The amount of money that the person must pay may vary based on several factors such as jurisdiction (state or federal) and the type of offense.

Whether fines are imposed in lieu of or in addition to other sanctions also depends on the type and severity of the offense.

Justipedia explains Fine

Paying a fine imposed as a punishment in a criminal case is not optional. Outright refusal to do so results in additional, and sometimes harsher consequences. The inability to pay may also be dealt with in one of several ways:

  • If someone convicted of a crime is working but claims that they still cannot afford to pay the resulting fine, a court will take matters into its own hands. Specifically, the court can demand that a certain amount is deducted from their paycheck until the fine is paid.
  • If that's not an option, the court can demand that the person's property is seized and auctioned off publicly, with the resulting funds going toward payment of the fine.
  • The last and most drastic option is that the court will enforce a lien on the person's home or land; profits from the ensuing sale will then be used to pay the fine.
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