A fine is an amount of money that an offender must pay to the court. It is different from restitution or a charitable donation.
If an offender is given a fine, they will have a conviction registered against them and will have to apply for a pardon to have the fine removed from their record.
A fine can be given instead of, or in addition to, imprisonment, a conditional sentence, or an intermittent sentence. This is true unless the criminal offence requires minimum jail time. If this is the case, a fine can’t be given instead of jail, but can still be given in addition to the minimum jail time.
A fine cannot be given on top of an absolute discharge, a conditional discharge, or a suspended sentence.
Certain criminal offences, like impaired driving or driving over 80, have minimum fines.
If a judge is going to give the offender a fine, and the criminal offence does not have a minimum fine, the judge has to decide whether the offender can actually pay a fine. This usually means that the judge will ask the offender questions such as: Are you working? Do you have children to support? Does your spouse work?
If an offender can’t pay their fine in the time they are given, they may be able to apply to the court for an extension of time. Extensions aren’t automatic. To get an extension, the offender has to show that they have tried their best to pay the fine in the time they have been given.