Under the Hong Kong legal system, everyone is presumed innocent until the person has been proven guilty. A person will only be treated as guilty of an offence if he or she is convicted by the court. Upon conviction, that person will be sentenced (i.e. punished) by the court.
The maximum penalty for committing a particular offence is usually set out in the legislation of the relevant offence. The court will decide what sentence (i.e. penalties) to be imposed on an offender by taking into consideration all the relevant factors including for example the nature of the offence, the maximum penalty set out in the legislation, why and how the offence was committed, and the individual circumstances of the offender. The following list explains the usual types of penalties (i.e. sentencing options) that the courts in Hong Kong may impose on an offender.