Fines are collected by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. They are payable online, by post, by phone or in person at any Sheriff Court in Scotland (at present you cannot pay in person as the counters are shut due to COVID).
When a Court imposes a fine and allows time to pay, it will generally impose a Fines Enforcement Order (FEO) at the same time. However, in some instances the Court can impose a fine with an order of “no time to pay” which usually results in an immediate period of imprisonment. However, this is rare, and only happens when the accused is likely to receive a custodial sentence for an offence and there is a second charge where the statute says the offence can only be punished by a fine.
If part or all of a fine is outstanding after a deadline for payment has passed, and the convicted person is not in prison, legislation requires the Court to enquire, in the convicted person’s presence, why the fine has not been paid. This tends to come about when a FEO has referred an unpaid fine back to the Court.
The Court has the choice to either send a citation to the convicted person or issue a warrant for their arrest.
Often, a Fines Enquiry Court will hear the convicted person’s reasons for not paying the fine and allow them further time to pay. It can also vary the instalments for payment, or remit (cancel) part or all of the outstanding fine.
Where the amount of the outstanding fine does not exceed £500, the Court can impose a Community Payback Order (CPO) with a level 1 (no more than 100 hours) unpaid work or other activity requirement. Where the outstanding amount does not exceed £200, the number of hours cannot exceed 50.