All of the fines that Magistrates can impose are calculated as a multiple of the miscreant's "relevant weekly income" - which is the figure they've scrawled on their means form.
You'd expect that these figures are checked ? No, they are not.
Spot checked - maybe one percent of them ? Nope.
We have to take the offender's word as to how much they earn, and without wanting to be rude, some of these people have been repeatedly proven to be unreliable in other matters, so it's entirely possible they would lie here.
As a result, the fines imposed I suspect are often grossly under-calculated, except in the cases where the offender has been helpful enough to tell the truth.
So, here's an opportunity to increase government revenue and remove a penalty for honesty. Spot-check the forms when Magistrates have suspicions that the income is understated and check a small percentage of the rest.
I'll give you an example:-
A part-time security guard, who also ran a business trading cars, was caught driving his girlfriend's car which he claimed to be taking for an extended test drive of over three days with a view to buying it. When stopped by police, he protested that his motor trader's insurance covered him to drive any car for any length of time as long as he was thinking of buying it. To cut a long-ish story short, we decided that this wasn't on and found him guilty of driving without insurance.
When he filled in his means form, he disclosed his income as a security guard, but nothing relating to his income from motor trading. His solicitor had told us that his motor trader's policy was costing him over £1,000 per month, so presumably he was earning at least as much to make it worthwhile.
We had no alternative but to fine him a multiple of the extremely low earnings he had disclosed, despite knowing damn fine that he had other sources of income.
I don't think that's right.