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This bill would modify various parts of the code
pertaining to individuals who are economically unable to pay various fees,
fines and court costs. If passed, citations issued for non-arrestable offenses
would be updated to include information regarding alternatives to the full
payment if the individual is convicted and unable to pay the amount.
This bill would also require courts that impose fines or other costs to make a written determination that the defendant has sufficient resources to pay all or part of the fine. The court must consider their status as a full-time student, their poverty level, and whether they receive financial assistance from any level of government.
This bill would also prevent courts from issuing a capias pro fine without first holding a hearing on the defendant’s ability to satisfy the judgement. This bill adds some guideline for how the courts may determine if they can issue a capias pro fine. This bill also specifies that a court would be required to recall a capias pro fine if the defendant voluntarily appears to resolve the amount owed.
This bill would modify the portion of the code related to a warrant for arrest. Before issuing an arrest warrant for a defendant’s failure to appear the judge must provide certain information either by mail or phone. The information would include the date and time of the ordered appearance, the name and address of the court, information regarding alternatives to the full payment if they are unable to pay, and an explanation of the consequences if a defendant fails to appear. A defendant would have the right to request an alternative date or time to appear. In addition, a justice to judge shall recall an arrest warrant before it is executed if the defendant voluntarily appears and makes a good faith effort to resolve the arrest warrant.
This bill would also increase the options for
which to perform community service for certain individuals who are unable to
pay a fine or costs. If this bill passes, a judge may determine that the
defendant may fulfill the terms of their community service by attending a work
and job skills training, or by working with a participating religious
organizations, educational institutions, or neighborhood associations. In
addition, this bill would increase the rate at which a fine is discharged
through either manual labor in a confinement setting or community service in
satisfaction of fine or costs, or community service in satisfaction of fine.
Current law allows the denial of registration of a vehicle if the individual owes the county a fine, fee, or tax that is past due. If this bill passes, the information that is provided to make the determination that the individual owes the county money expires after two years and may not be used to refuse registration after that date. If an individual has deemed as economically unable to pay by a court they may not be refused the opportunity to register their vehicle or to attain a driver’s license.