Police and fiscal warnings, fixed penalty notices and compensation

Last updated: 13 March 2018

The police or procurator fiscal can give you a 'direct measure' for an alleged offence (a crime you're accused of committing). For example, a warning, fine or unpaid community work.

Accepting a direct measure means you won't go to court or get a criminal conviction.

The procurator fiscal is the lawyer who decides if you should be prosecuted (officially accused). They're also known as prosecutors.

Direct measures from the procurator fiscal

The direct measures the procurator fiscal can give you include:

  • fixed penalty fines
  • compensation offers
  • combined offers (a fine and a compensation offer)
  • fiscal work offers
  • diversions from prosecution
  • procurator fiscal warnings

You can get information about these alternatives to prosecution from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service website.

Recorded police warnings

The police have the power to give you a recorded police warning if you're 16 or over and not on a compulsory supervision order.

If you refuse the warning when it's given to you

The police can change your warning to an 'antisocial behaviour fixed penalty notice' – a type of fine.

Or, they can report the case to the procurator fiscal. This means you might have to go to court.

Appeal your recorded police warning

You have 28 days to appeal your recorded police warning. You must do this in writing. Your appeal may mean that the police send a report to the procurator fiscal.

If the procurator fiscal decides that the case against you should go ahead, you may have to appear in court. If this happens you'll have the chance to challenge the case against you.

What happens with information about your warning

The police will keep information about your warning for 2 years. It can be taken into account if you commit another crime in that time.

Your police warning won't automatically be included on an enhanced disclosure certificate or Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme record.

But a chief constable can include information about your warning as Other Relevant Information, if they reasonably believe that:

  • it's relevant to the disclosure's purpose
  • the information should be included on the disclosure certificate

Police fixed penalty notices

The police have the power to give you a fixed penalty notice. This is a £50 on-the-spot fine for a minor offence.

The police can also give you an on-the-spot fine if you commit a minor road traffic offence.

How to pay your fine

You have 28 days to pay your fine. If you don't pay it within 28 days, it will go up to £75 and be registered with the court.

Information about your fine

The police will keep information about your fine for 2 years.

Appealing your fine

If you think your fine was issued unfairly you can ask for a court hearing. You must do this within 28 days. You should consider getting legal advice if you want to do this.