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CJB106

Author Steve Moffatt and Suzanne Poynton
Published March 2007
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 106
Subject Sentencing
Keywords fines, financial penalties

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Summary

Aim

This study investigates whether fine amount has an impact on reoffending. The study examines the history and subsequent reoffending of 70,000 persons who received a court imposed fine for a driving offence between 1998 and 2000.

Abstract

Each year in New South Wales more than 50,000 persons convicted by a court receive a fine as their principal penalty. Little is known about the deterrent efficacy of these penalties. This study investigates whether fine amount has an impact on reoffending. The study examines the history and subsequent reoffending of 70,000 persons who received a court imposed fine for a driving offence between 1998 and 2000. The problem of selection bias that has handicapped deterrence research in the past has been addressed by the use of two-stage models. The results provide little evidence to suggest the presence of marginal deterrent effects from court-imposed fines on driving offenders; the most consistent predictors of returning to court were individual attributes of offenders. As a result, it is suggested that substantial increases in fines and licence disqualifications would have limited potential in deterring recidivist offenders.

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