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Fines are the most commonly used sentence in England and Wales.

Fines are the most common type of sentence given. That’s because they are given for lower level crimes that are common such as minor driving offences or theft. The amount is set by the court after considering the seriousness of the offence and how much money the offender can pay. Fines can be given to organisations or companies as well as people.

The maximum fine allowed in a magistrates' court is £5,000. In the Crown Court, the fine can be unlimited.

In 2011, 66 per cent of all offenders received a fine, a total of 851,607.

More information about the assessment of fines in the magistrates’ court can be found in the:

Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines

    All of these statistics are taken from the Ministry of Justice’s criminal justice and sentencing statistics publications.