A civil penalty is a non-criminal remedy for a party’s violations of laws or regulations. Civil penalties usually only include civil fines or other financial payments as a remedy for damages. An action seeking a civil penalty can be brought by the government, or by a private party in the shoes of the government.
- First, one examines which penalty is the intent or preference of the legislature.
- Then, if the intent is a civil penalty, one looks at whether the statute’s purpose or effect will negate the intention.
- If the answer to the second question is no, the penalty is most likely a civil one.
[Last updated in August of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]