The Cabinet has approved a Draft Act on Disciplinary Fine (B.E. ….) (“Draft Act”) on 2 February 2021. The Draft Act will consider as a main legislation to consider and establish a new penalty measure for those who violate or fail to comply with the law which are not considered as serious offences. This new penalty measure is called a “Disciplinary Fine” in which it will require an offender to pay the fine as specified by the law. The said fine is not considered as criminal punishment and it will have no imprisonment or confinement applied in place of the fine punishment. Besides, the offence will not be recorded in the criminal record of the offender. The adoption of such new measure will be used in place of the administrative fine in order to create the same standard for the fine system of the laws.
Summaries of the Draft Act are as follow:
- The “disciplinary fine” will be defined as ordering a disciplinary offender to pay a fine as punishment not exceeding the amount as specified by the law.
- The “disciplinary offence” will be defined as an act or an act by negligence which is a violation of the law or non-compliance with the law and that law specifies the punishment as the disciplinary fine.
- The “fine for disciplinary punishment” will be defined as a fine that must be paid to the state in which it is a legal measure to be in place of the criminal punishment against an offender who does not conduct a serious offence without seriously affecting to the public order or good morals of the people or without affecting to the public at large (“Fine”).
- The Fine will be paid in the amount as determined by the government official or the court only.
- Some provisions of the Penal Code will be applied mutatis mutandis in determination of the disciplinary offence (i.e. general provisions, applications of penal law, criminal liabilities, attempted offences and principals and supporters).
- In determination of the disciplinary fine punishment, it must consider the severity of impact to the community or society, benefits that the offender or another person received from the disciplinary offence and economic status of the offender and that the Fine can be made by installments.
- In case that the offender is not able to pay the Fine, the court may order the offender to work for social services or to do other public benefit works instead of paying such Fine. In addition, if the offender commits an offence on account of poverty or necessity, the court may specify the Fine lower than as specified by the law or the court may just warn the offender without the Fine charged.
- The government official of the responsible authority, who is responsible for the enforcement of law, will be a person who has the power to apply the disciplinary, including to seek for the facts and gather evidence regarding the offence. However, such government official will have no power to arrest or detain the offender and when the Fine is paid within the specified period, the disciplinary fine will be lapsed.
- In case that the Fine is not paid within the specified period, the government official will submit the case to the prosecutor for further prosecution in the court.
- According to the disciplinary offence case, the provincial court will have its jurisdiction over such case and the court proceedings will be in accordance with the regulations of the President of the Supreme Court. In addition, the offender will be entitled to appeal the court verdict only against the legal issue and the judgement of the Appeal Court will become final.
This Draft Act will be passed to the Coordinating Committee of the House of Representatives before submitting to the Parliament for its consideration and approval before publishing in the Royal Gazette and then become enforced.