The guidelines state: 'The principle behind determining the amount of a fine should be that of equality of hardship rather than equality of monetary penalty. Punishment does not lie in the amount of the fine but in the degree of hardship and inconvenience caused by the need to pay it. The just deserts principle means that each offender should experience the loss of spending power which his or her offending behaviour merits and levels of fine should always be set with this principle in mind.'
Guideline fines for careless driving, for example, would be £75 for someone on low income, £180 for average income and £450 for high income. A speeding offence which would attract three penalty points, such as driving up to 40mph in a 30mph limit or up to 90mph in a 70mph zone, would lead to a suggested fine of £60 for low income, £150 for average income and £360 for high income.