Penalty Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Penalty, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Penalty?

n.In a criminal trial after the crime is proved a person maybe ordered by the judge to pay monetary fine or his property can be forfeitted.The accused can also be put behind bars for a period of time.In civil law penalties can be imposed on business with improper licence or for “late payments” on promissory notes or lease.

History and Meaning of Penalty

The term penalty refers to a punishment that is imposed on an individual or entity for wrongdoing. The concept of penalties has its roots in ancient law, where crimes were often met with physical punishment or banishment. As legal systems developed, penalties evolved to include fines, imprisonment, and other forms of punishment such as community service. In criminal law, penalties are imposed after a person is found guilty of a crime, while in civil law, penalties may be imposed for violations such as failure to pay debts or comply with regulations.

Examples of Penalty

  1. A person found guilty of speeding may be required to pay a fine or have their license suspended as a penalty for their actions.
  2. A business that violates safety regulations may face penalties such as fines or shutdowns until they can demonstrate compliance.
  3. A person who fails to pay their taxes may face penalties such as interest and additional fees.

Legal Terms Similar to Penalty

  1. Sanction - a penalty imposed by a court or other authority for a violation of a law or regulation.
  2. Restitution - a penalty that requires a wrongdoer to compensate a victim for their losses.
  3. Damages - a penalty that requires a wrongdoer to pay compensation to a victim for their losses.