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Relating to credit toward payment of certain fines, costs, fees, and surcharges imposed on certain offenders before, during, or after a period of confinement for another offense.
HB 3589 would require a notice to be sent to a defendant before a judge or justice may issue an arrest warrant for the defendant's failure to appear at an initial court setting. The notice must state that the defendant may be entitled to a credit toward any fine or costs owed by the defendant if he or she was confined in jail or prison after the commission of the offense. The bill would require a judge, in imposing a fine and costs in a case involving a fine-only misdemeanor, to credit the defendant for any time the defendant was confined in jail or prison while serving a sentence for another offense if that confinement occurred after the commission of the misdemeanor. The credit would be applied to the amount of the fine and costs at the rate of $200 for each day of confinement.
DPS would also be required to credit the amount stated in a notice toward the person's payment of any administrative fee imposed on a person who fails to appear for a complaint or citation for an applicable offense before or during the period of confinement stated in the notice, and toward the person's payment of any unpaid surcharges that were assessed on the person's license before or during confinement.
Texas Action supports HB 3589 because it promotes limited government. This bill would help to reduce incarceration and recidivism rates, and stop the cycle of debt associated with court costs and fines of a formerly incarcerated individual. Because this bill promotes fairness, justice, and cost efficiency, we support HB 3589.