In court, an important man is sometimes found to be a culprit, and the judge may be able to find him a hundred thousand dollars and know that the man can pay it. But he may tell the man, “You just give one cent”. That is also punishment, but it is greatly minimized. Similarly, we have to suffer for our past deeds. That is a fact, and we cannot avoid it. But karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajan (Brahma-Samhita. 5.54): the sufferings of those who engage in devotional service in Krishna consciousness are minimized. For example, one may have been destined to be killed, but instead of being killed with a knife, he may instead get some little cut on his finger. In this way, for those who engage in devotional service, the reactions of past activities are minimized. Lord Krishna assures His devotees, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami: “I shall give you protection from the reactions of sinful life”. So even if a devotee has a history of very grievous criminal activities behind him, instead of being killed he may only get a little cut on his finger. Why then should a devotee fear danger? When a person gives up all other duties and simply takes to the transcendental service of Krishna, he has no desire and is not subjected to or likely to perform sinful activities. If however, he performs sinful activities (not willfully but by chance), Krishna gives him all protection.
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Teachings of Queen Kunti”, Page 55, 188
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2012 edition), “Teachings of Lord Caitanya, The Golden Avatara”, Page 147