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PENALTY Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

1. The sum of money which the obligor of a bond undertakes to pay by way of penalty, in the event of his omitting to perform or carry out the terms imposed upon him by the conditions of the bond. Brown; Tayloe v. Sandiford, 7 Wheat. 13, 5 L. Ed. 384; Watt v. Sheppard, 2 Ala. 445. A penalty is an agreement to pay a greater sum, to secure the payment of a less sum. It is conditional, and can be avoided by the payment of the less sum before the contingency agreed upon shall happen. By what name it is called is immaterial. Ilenry v. Thompson, Minor (Ala.) 209. 227. 2. A punishment; a punishment imposed by statute as a consequence of the commission of a certain specified offense. Lancaster v. Richardson, 4 Laus. (N. Y.) 136; People v. Nedrow. 122 111. 363, 13 N. E. 533; Iowa v. Chicago, etc., R. Co. (C. C.) 37 Fed. 497, 3 L. R. A. 554. The terms “fine.” “forfeiture,” and “penalty” are often used loosely, and even confusedly; but. when a discrimination is made, the word “penalty” is found to be generic in its character, including both fine and forfeiture. A “fine” is a pecuniary penalty, and is commonly (perhaps always) to be collected by suit in some form. A “forfeiture” is a penalty by which one loses his rights and interest in his property. Gosselink v. Campbell, 4 Iowa, 300. 3. The term also denotes money recoverable by virtue of a statute imposing a payment by way of punishment


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