Fines – Criminal Sentencing
Fines are also a very common penalty to see in criminal courts. Small fins of $200 or less are common for minor offences like drug possession. The maximum penalty for a summary offence is normally $5000. It is rare for someone to be charged that much for a minor offence but repeat offenders may face heavier fines.
The fine amount is set by the court and is normally determined by the seriousness of the offence. Courts try to avoid giving fines to people who can’t afford to pay them. For this reason, it’s a relatively uncommon sentence in youth courts. However, some offences have mandatory minimum fines. For these offences, the court must sentence the offender to pay a fine even if he or she is unable to pay it.
When someone is sentenced to pay a fine, the offender is normally given a deadline to pay it. However, it is extremely important to pay fines as soon as possible because the waiting period for a Pardon / Record Suspension cannot begin until all fines have been paid.
Technically, the court can sentence someone to serve prison time if they default on their fine payment. But in reality this almost never happens. Instead the fines just stay on the books indefinitely. Keep in mind that if you have an unpaid fine attached to your name you will be unable to get a pardon / record suspension. So if you are sentenced to pay a fine in court, pay it ASAP.