Fine, in law, a sum of money paid by a person convicted of a crime as all or part of the punishment imposed by the court. Penalties levied for traffic law violations are the most common examples of fines. A fine may be levied in place of, or in addition to, imprisonment.
The size of a fine for a specific offense is set by statute. Generally the court is given some leeway in determining the exact amount. Money collected from fines becomes the property of the court or government, and its use is ordinarily prescribed by statute. The use of fines as a regular source of revenue is considered bad governmental practice because it leads to excessive or unjustified fines.