Billionaire’s EUR 25,000 drink driving fine puts means-tested penalties in the spotlight

Billionaire’s EUR 25,000 drink driving fine puts means-tested penalties in the spotlight

A Norwegian billionaire that recorded a BAC level three times higher than the legal limit has been banned from driving and handed a 250,000 krone fine (EUR 25,000).  But the fine could have been much higher as, under Norwegian law, fines are linked to monthly income and in some cases overall wealth.

22 year-old Katharina G. Andresen, one of the world’s youngest billionaires, reportedly could have been faced with a fine worth up to EUR 5 million.  However the judge concluded that Ms Andresen’s assets were based on shares and her actual regular income was much lower so imposed a corresponding lower penalty.

There are several examples of fines linked to income around Europe, in particular for speeding offences.  Finland has a ‘day fine’ system, with penalties linked to an offender’s wages.  In the United Kingdom judges can also impose higher fines linked to weekly income, but these are capped at £2,500, or £1,000 for offences committed on non-motorway roads.  Ireland is also considering a similar scheme.

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