Act on Imposition of Pinai Regulatory Fines, B.E. 2565 (2022): Striking a Balance between Justice and Compassion

Act on Imposition of Pinai Regulatory Fines, B.E. 2565 (2022): Striking a Balance between Justice and Compassion

The issue of over-criminalization has long been a concern, as minor offenses often lead to legal proceedings, potential imprisonment, or hefty fines. Such penalties can disproportionately affect financially disadvantaged individuals, exacerbating issues within the prison system and creating barriers for those seeking a fresh start.

Recognizing the need to ease the burden on the people and promote accessible and comprehensible legislation, section 77 of the Kingdom of Thailand's Constitution, B.E. 2560 (2017), emphasizes fostering proper compliance. To align with these principles, the Act on Imposition of Pinai Regulatory Fines, B.E. 2565 (2022), was enacted. This groundbreaking law aims to convert certain criminal penalties and administrative fines into "Pinai Regulatory Fines," thereby avoiding the categorization of these offenses as criminal in nature. By doing so, the Act aims to reduce unnecessary criminalization, establish an effective fine system, conform to international standards, and take into account the unique context of Thai society.

The Act on Imposition of Pinai Regulatory Fines, B.E. 2565 (2022), introduces essential provisions to address the issue of over-criminalization in Thailand's legal framework. Specifically, it replaces criminal penalties for specific offenses, as outlined in various statutes, with "Pinai Regulatory Fines." Offenders will be required to pay these fines to the state, and their records will not reflect a criminal offense.

Key highlights of this Act include:

  1. Transformation of Offenses: The Act mandates the conversion of specific criminal offenses, previously penalized with single penalties and administrative fines under 204 statutes, into "Pinai Regulatory Offenses." By adopting this approach, individuals who commit such offenses will be required to pay "Pinai Regulatory Fines" without incurring a criminal record.

  2. Nullification of Criminal Records: Criminal offenses that are reclassified as Pinai Regulatory Offenses will no longer have any legal implications if there are existing records of the individual's criminal history. These records will become invalid and cannot be used against the person in any penal matters.

  3. Imposition of Fines: State officials responsible for law enforcement have the authority to impose Pinai Regulatory Fines on offenders who willingly consent to pay within a specified timeframe. In such cases, the regulatory offense proceedings will be terminated. However, if the offender declines to pay the fine, the officials may refer the case to prosecution for further legal action.

  4. Fair and Flexible Penalties: The Act establishes criteria for imposing fines based on the severity of the offense and the economic status of the offender. It allows for fines to be paid in installments if a lump sum payment is not feasible and offers the option of community service or public service as an alternative for those unable to afford the fine. This approach ensures a just and flexible system of penalties, considering the individual circumstances of the offender.

  5. Compassion for Extreme Poverty: In cases where a Pinai Regulatory Offense is committed due to extreme poverty or unbearable livelihood circumstances, the offender has the right to submit a petition to request a lower fine than stipulated by law. Alternatively, they may request to perform community service or public service instead of paying the fine. 

  6. Enforcement Measures: If a person fails to pay the Pinai Regulatory Fine as ordered by the court within the specified time, the court may issue a court order to seize the person's assets or claim their rights to recover the fine.

In summary, the Act on Imposition of Pinai Regulatory Fines establishes a well-thought-out and comprehensive legislative framework to address the issue of over-criminalization in Thailand. By upholding fairness and flexibility in the imposition of penalties and considering the socioeconomic circumstances of its citizens, the Act strikes a delicate balance between law enforcement and compassion. It paves the way for Thailand's judicial system to become more equitable and just, reflecting the nation's commitment to justice and welfare for all.

Written by: Suthawan Boonmak & Laphisara Chokworasup

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