Special Edition: Florida fee/fine/cost legislation in the 2017 session

HB 1017 AS COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTED:

  •  Amends existing law requiring the clerk of court to enter into a payment plan with an individual whom the court determines is indigent for costs and allows clerks to enter into payment plans with anyone. Provides that the monthly payment amount may not exceed two percent of the person’s annual net income, divided by 12, without the consent of the applicant.
  • Provides clerk may not assess any surcharge to refer the account to a private attorney or collection agent.
  • Provides collection agent or private attorney may not impose any additional fees or surcharges other than the contractually agreed upon amounts.
  • Requires traffic citation forms including information indicating
    that a person may enter into a payment plan with the clerk of court to pay a penalty.
  • Requires traffic citation forms indicate that a person ordered to pay a penalty for a noncriminal traffic infraction who is unable to comply due to demonstrable financial hardship will be allowed by the court to satisfy payment by participating in community service.
  • In civil citations/failure to appear, provides person’s driver license may not be suspended solely for failure to pay a penalty if the person demonstrates to the court that he or she is unable to pay, as evidenced by the person providing documentation to the appropriate clerk of court.
    1. The person receives reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation;
    2. The person is disabled and incapable of self-support or receives benefits under the federal Supplemental Security Income program or the Social Security Disability Insurance Program;
    3. The person receives temporary cash assistance;
    4. The person is making payments in accordance with a confirmed bankruptcy plan under chapter 11, chapter 12, or chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code;
    5. The person has been placed on a payment plan or payment plans with the clerk of court which in total exceed what is determined to be a reasonable payment plan; or
    6. The person has been determined to be indigent after filing an application with the clerk of court
  • In criminal cases, may not be suspended solely for failure to pay a penalty or court obligation if the person demonstrates to the court, after the court orders the penalty or obligation and before the suspension takes place, that he or she is unable to pay the penalty or court obligation. Specifies documentation (same as civil citations/failure to appear list, above) that demonstrates person is considered unable to pay to include
  • For traffic infractions, requires court to determine at the time a civil penalty is ordered whether the person is able to pay the penalty.

Approved by House Appropriation’s Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee 3/14/17.

HB 547

Requires specified reduction for civil penalty under certain circumstances. Deletes requirement that specified percentage of civil penalty be deposited in State Courts Revenue Trust Fund. Requires person to pay clerk of court specified percentage previously deducted under certain circumstances. In House Appropriation’s Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.

HB 1173 AS APPROVED IN SUBCOMMITTEE

  • Requires the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to immediately suspend the motor vehicle registration for the first offense of failing to comply with a civil traffic infraction.
  • Keeps the existing driver license suspension penalty for a subsequent offense.
  • Allows the clerk of the court to authorize community service for indigent applicants for noncriminal traffic infractions and provides guidelines for authorizing community service. Courts can currently authorize community service if a person shows demonstrable financial hardship.

Approved by House Appropriation’s Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee 3/21/17.

SB 302 AS COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTED

  • Removes suspension and revocation penalties for a number of specified non-driving-related offenses
  • Allows individuals whose licenses are suspended for failure to comply with a court order or failure to pay court financial obligations to apply for a hardship license issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • Requires the court to inquire about a person’s financial ability to pay a fine at the time a civil penalty is ordered in court
  • Prohibits a Driver’s License (DL) from being suspended solely for inability to pay a financial penalty or court obligation if the individual demonstrates to the court that he or she cannot pay
  • Adds criteria of what evidence demonstrates to the court that a person is unable to pay
    1. The person receives reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation;
    2. The person is disabled and incapable of self-support or receives benefits under the federal Supplemental Security Income program or the Social Security Disability Insurance Program;
    3. The person receives temporary cash assistance;
    4. The person is making payments in accordance with a confirmed bankruptcy plan under chapter 11, chapter 12, or chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code;
    5. The person has been placed on a payment plan or payment plans with the clerk of court which in total exceed what is determined to be a reasonable payment plan; or
    6. The person has been determined to be indigent after filing an application with the clerk of court
  • Prohibits court-approved payment plans from exceeding two percent of an applicant’s income, unless approved by the applicant

Approved as substituted by Senate Transportation Committee 2/7/17.

SB 1574 See HB 1173 as filed. In Senate Criminal Justice Committee.