Court fine

This is part of our information section on understanding your criminal record. Details of other sentences/disposals can be found here.


Who is it issued by and how can I contact them?

Issued by the court – contact the relevant court.

Does it involve guilt?


Is it recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC)?


Is it classed as a conviction?


How long will it be on my record?

It will remain on the PNC indefinitely and can still be mentioned in future criminal proceedings even after it has become spent.

When does it become spent?

One year after conviction.

When do I have to declare it?

You do not have to declare it after it is spent except for an occupation exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, like working with children. Before it is spent you do need to declare it, when asked, to employers, insurers and others

Is it disclosed on DBS checks?

Yes, it will be disclosed by both standard and enhanced checks unless it is eligible for filtering. Once spent, it will not be disclosed on a basic check.

What guidance is there on fair process?

The court decides the amount for the fine based on the offence and your ability to pay, according to guidelines set by the Sentencing Council. Legislation can be found here.

Do I have the right to appeal and what is the process?

The maximum fine allowed in a magistrates’ court is £5000, but fines are unlimited in the Crown Court. If you can’t pay a court fine, contact the court saying why you can’t pay and include proof of your financial circumstances. The amount cannot be reduced by appeal but you can appeal the overall sentence.

What are the implications for life in the community?

You may need to speak to a debt adviser or the Citizens Advice Bureau. If you can’t pay the fine, action might include further court hearings, clamping/selling your car, taking money from your wages or benefits, bailiffs coming to your home to seize possessions.

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