Minor penalty cards

A card prematurely exposed (but not led, see Law 57) by a defender is a penalty card unless the Director designates otherwise (see Law 49 and Law 72C may apply).
A. Penalty Card Remains Exposed
A penalty card must be left face up on the table immediately before the player to whom it belongs, until a rectification has been selected.

B. Major or Minor Penalty Card
A single card below the rank of an honour exposed unintentionally (as in playing two cards to a trick, or in dropping a card accidentally) becomes a minor penalty card. Any card of honour rank, or any card exposed through deliberate play (for example in leading out of turn, or in revoking and then correcting), becomes a major penalty card; when one defender has two or more penalty cards, all such cards become major penalty cards.

C. Disposition of Minor Penalty Card
When a defender has a minor penalty card, he may not play any other card of the same suit below the rank of an honour until he has first played the penalty card, but he is entitled to play an honour card instead. Offender’s partner is not subject to lead restriction, but see E following.

E. Information from a Penalty Card
1. Information derived from a penalty card and the requirements for playing that penalty card are authorized for all players for as long as the penalty card remains on the table.
2. Information derived from a penalty card that has been returned to hand [as per Law 50D2(a)] is unauthorized for the partner of the player who had the penalty card (see Law 16C), but authorized for declarer.
3. Once a penalty card has been played, information derived from the circumstances under which it was created is unauthorized for the partner of the player who had the card. (For a penalty card which has not yet been played, see E1 above.)
4. If following the application of E1 the Director judges at the end of play that without the assistance gained through the exposed card the outcome of the board could well have been different, and in consequence the non-offending side is damaged (see Law 12B1), he shall award an adjusted score. In his adjustment he should seek to recover as nearly as possible the probable outcome of the board without the effect of the penalty card(s).

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