May 24, 2022

Justice: what is a day-fine sentence?

The Paris Criminal Court condemned, this Monday, January 17, Eric Zemmour, the candidate of the party “Reconquest!” in the presidential election, to a fine of 10,000 euros, in the form of a 100-day fine of 100 euros, for his remarks on unaccompanied minors. But what is this penalty of day-fine and what does it mean concretely?

The day-fine is a penal sanction provided for in the French Penal Code in article 131-5. This is the possibility of converting a prison sentence into a number of daily fines set by the court.

In the case of Eric Zemmour, the court could very well decide on an effective prison sentence in the event of non-payment.

Article 131-5 further provides that this calculation of the fine is made, “taking into account the resources and expenses of the defendant.” However, the daily amount of the fine cannot exceed 1,000 euros.

Apart from the financial ceiling fixed by the Penal Code, the law provides that the penalty of day-fine has a limited duration. Thus, the number of day-fines must be decided according to the circumstances of the offense and “cannot exceed three hundred and sixty” days. Thus, the cost of this sentence cannot exceed 360,000 euros.

This sentence is also used in connection with the sentencing of a minor. It is more severe than an educational sentence and makes it possible to avoid incarceration that is too young.

The day-fine, a correctional sentence

Thus, the person sentenced to the payment of day-fine must have paid the entirety of his sentence at the end of the period set by the court. Failing this, the court may request the incarceration of the convicted person for a period equal to the number of days unpaid.

To take a more concrete example, a person sentenced to a 200-day fine of 500 euros must have paid the total sum of 100,000 euros in fines within a maximum period of 200 days. In the event that only 50,000 euros have been paid to the Treasury by the convicted person, the latter will be imprisoned for a period of 100 days, since this is the number of unpaid day-fines.

It should be noted that the penalty of day-fine applies only within the framework of correctional condemnation and thus within a criminal and not criminal framework.