[Outdated; Inaccurate] Overview -- Penalties

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Originally by John Carter:

Penalties are the last resort of a judge. The DCI has divided events into five categories and divided penalties into six categories.
The event categories are called Rules Enforcement Levels (RELs) and determine the seriousness of the event. The higher a REL is the more exact players and judges are expected to be in their gameplay. RELs are as follows:

1. Local and ancillary events, Prereleases: learning and improvement
2. GP Trials, State Championships: good play and preparation
3. Pro Tour Qualifiers, Regionals: quality play and knowledge of rules
4. Grand Prix: excellent play at very large events
5. Pro Tours and Worlds: immaculate play for large cash purses

The penalty structure increases in accordance with the severity of the infraction. The basic penalty structure is as follows:

1. Caution: a verbal reprimand affecting only small infractions at a single event
2. Warning: a written reprimand for an average breech of the rules
3. Game Loss: a reprimand reserved for major infractions resulting in a loss of the current or next game as appropriate
4. Match Loss: severe infractions resulting in a loss of the current or next game as appropriate
5. Disqualification: extreme infractions that threaten the integrity of the tournament that result in the immediate removal from the event-- a player who has performed well enough to receive points and prizes retains those awards
6. Disqualification Without Prize: reserved only for extreme and often intentional disruptions to an event’s integrity, a DQ w/o Prize player is immediately removed from the event, and any awards earned are stripped

All of the above penalties except a Caution require written statements to the DCI. The DCI Penalty Committee typically reviews the cases of disqualified players to guarantee a pattern of vice does not exist or continue. The DCIPC reserves the right to impose additional penalties in cases where a player has warranted extraordinary response. In reviewing the DCI Penalty Guidelines, it should be noted that the penalties for REL 1 mirror REL 2, and penalties for REL 4 mirror REL 5. The key difference being the level of scrutiny and the assumed knowledge level of the players in the event.

With all infractions of the Universal Tournament Rules and the Magic: the Gathering Floor Rules, if a player appears to be causing a disruption or breaking the rules intentionally, the offense should be reviewed with consideration for unsportsmanlike conduct or cheating as applicable.