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a monetary exaction; a means of applying financial pressure in certain cases, and in accordance with a certain procedure, established by law.
Under Soviet civil law, the fine is a type of penalty for nonfulfillment or improper fulfillment of a contract obligation. The amount of the fine is either a fixed sum or a set percentage of the value of the obligation; it is determined at the time the contract is drawn up as a means of ensuring the proper., fulfillment of the contract. The fine establishes liability for violating the contract. The fine must be paid only when the party that failed to fulfill its obligation is at fault, although fines are recovered regardless of fault in exceptional cases, as provided by the contract or by law; for example, fines are exacted when the plan for rail transport of goods is violated. The fine is widely used by socialist organizations as an effective means of applying pressure to a contracting party that violates its agreement to provide supplies, to transport goods, or to perform other services.
In Soviet criminal law, the fine is used as a primary and supplementary measure of punishment for certain crimes, as provided by the Basic Principles of Criminal Legislation of the USSR and of the Union republics and the criminal codes of the Union republics. A court may also impose a fine as a way of substituting a milder punishment for the unserved part of a sentence. A fine may be imposed as a supplementary punishment in cases of conditional conviction.
The amount of the fine is established by the court and depends on both the seriousness of the crime and the financial situation of the guilty party. If it should be impossible to exact a fine, the court may convert the fine to a sentence of correctional labor without deprivation of freedom; in such cases, one month of correctional labor is substituted for each ten rubles of the fine, but the sentence cannot exceed one year. The court is not permitted to convert a fine to a sentence of deprivation of freedom or vice versa. The procedure for the payment of a fine is determined at the time of sentencing.
Under Soviet administrative law, fines are imposed on persons guilty of administrative violations. The grounds and procedure for the imposition of fines, the amounts of fines, and the state agencies and officials empowered to impose them are determined by the legislation of the USSR and the Union republics. As a rule, an administrative fine that is imposed on an ordinary citizen should not exceed ten rubles, and one imposed on an official should not be greater than 50 rubles; in certain cases specified by law, however, the limits may be raised to 50 and 100 rubles, respectively. In exceptional cases that pertain to the fulfillment of obligations under international treaties of the USSR, or necessitate an increased administrative liability, still greater fines, specified by legislative acts of the USSR, may be imposed (Basic Principles of Civil Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics, art. 14). An administrative fine may be imposed only on a citizen or official. Such fines may be imposed by people’s judges (in such cases as petty hooliganism); by administrative commissions attached to the executive committees of soviets of raions, cities, settlements, and villages (in such cases as violation of public order and the regulations of public amenities); by the militia; and by authorized agencies and officials that are responsible for such areas of public protection as fire safety, sanitation, and quarantine of animals.
An administrative fine of up to 30 rubles may be imposed on parents or guardians of minors by commissions on juvenile affairs if the parent or guardian mistreats the child, willfully neglects obligations for the proper upbringing of the child, or brings a minor into a state of drunkenness. A parent or guardian may also be fined if a law is violated by the child.
An order imposing a fine may be appealed by the person concerned or by the aggrieved person to a higher administrative agency or a people’s court in raions and cities within ten days from the date the order is ruled. The submission of an appeal suspends the procedure for collecting the fine until the appeal is considered. A fine must be paid not later than 15 days from the delivery of the order; in case an appeal or a protest has been submitted, it is to be paid not later than 15 days from the delivery of a notice dismissing the appeal or the protest. A fine that has not been paid within the specified time is collected by enforcement measures from the wages of the offender on the order of the agency or the official that imposed the fine. In those cases in which the offender is unemployed, the fine is recovered by levying execution on his property by an officer of the court in compliance with the rules specified by law.
Under Soviet procedural law, courts may impose fines of specific amounts in certain cases, as provided by procedural legislation. These cases include the nonfulfillment of procedural obligations by a party to a proceeding and disorderly conduct in court.
As a measure of social influence, a fine may be applied in certain situations by a comrades’ court.