The most commonly-used sentencing disposal is a fine. In the year to June 2019, 916,174 offenders were fined by courts in England and Wales, accounting for 78% of all sentences imposed. Fines are most frequently used in relation to summary offences (the least serious category of offences which can only be tried in the magistrates’ courts) and 83% of summary non-motoring offences and 95% of summary motoring offences in the year to June 2019 were dealt with by way of a fine. They are rarely used in cases involving an indictable only offence (the most serious offences that can only be tried in the Crown Court) with only 79 offenders fined for an indictable only offence in the year to June 2019. Both the magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court have the power to impose an unlimited fine but, in practice, the largest fines are likely to be imposed in the Crown Court as they deal with the most serious offences.
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