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Where Does My Money Go When I Pay a Court Fine?

Updated March 21, 2017

Court fines come in a variety of types and amounts, from small traffic violation fines to large labour or health and safety fines. The money can be distributed to a variety of government accounts depending on the nature of the fine.

Traffic Fines

Traffic ticket fines go into the state or local government coffers. In fact, some states have started increasing the use of traffic fines as a method of combating recession-driven budget cuts, according to the MSN Money website. The fines pay for public services and officials' salaries that may have been cut otherwise.

Civil Fines

Fines for violations of civil rules or regulations may go to fund programs of the departments or agencies that administer these regulations. For example, President Obama has backed recommendations to help pay for Gulf oil spill cleanup efforts with fines assessed on the responsible companies.

Crime Control Act

Section 5E1.2 of the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act allows federal courts to impose fines on individuals convicted of criminal charges in order to help pay for incarceration costs.

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About the Author

A freelance writer since 2007, Jack Spencer focuses primarily on legal and scientific topics. He also runs a copyrighting firm specializing in small-business marketing and academic research. Spencer received his B.A. in political science from the University of California.