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

HB 236 Provides court may, at sentencing, assign an amount not greater than 25% of the defendant’s gross salary, wages or other earnings to be used for the payment of court costs, restitution or fines. Approved by full House 3/20/17.

HB 510

  • Provides a judge shall (currently may) conduct hearing to determine whether defendant who defaults in paying fines, court costs, or restitution is financially able to pay.
  • Provides judge shall (currently may) provide for installment payment plans or community service if defendant unable to financially pay “without causing manifest hardship.”
  • Provides community service is to be credited as $20 per hour against unpaid balance of the fine or costs.
  • Defines “manifest hardship” to mean
    • The defendant is involuntarily unemployed.
    • The defendant’s household income is less than 200% of the Federal poverty level.
    • The defendant is receiving any kind of public assistance.
    • The defendant presents evidence to the judge during the hearing that would cause a reasonable person to believe paying the full amount of the penalty would cause manifest hardship to the defendant or their dependents.
  • Provides maximum monthly payments under installment plans
    • $100 for defendant whose household income is less than or equal to 100% of federal poverty level.
    • $150 if more than 100% but less than 150% of federal poverty level.
    • $200 if more than 150% but less than 200% of federal poverty level.

In House Judiciary Committee.

HB 615 For Vehicle Code violations, provides upon proof defendant is without financial means to pay fine or cost, court may order community service in lieu of payment up to 50% of the original fine or costs. In House Transportation Committee.

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

HB 1361 Prohibits imprisonment of defendants for nonpayment of fines, costs, fees and assessment. In House Judiciary – Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee.

HB 1476 Provides “It is the policy of this state that no person shall be incarcerated for debt.” Deletes authority of trial court to convert sentences to pay a fine, cost, fee, or assessment into jail sentences. Repeals provision allowing court to send nonpayment notice to Department of Public Safety in order to recommend suspension of driving privileges. In House Judiciary – Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee.

HB 2289

  • Authorizes courts to waive outstanding fines, costs and fees under certain circumstances.
  • Provides payment/installment plans ordered by court may not exceed 10% of “discretionary income” and defines “discretionary income” as 150% over federal poverty line.
  • Directs Supreme Court to promulgate rules related to reporting and payment requirements and collection and distribution methods.
  • Provides for the establishment of pilot financial obligation payment program to determine whether offenders can make consistent payments of their court-ordered financial obligations for two (2) years in exchange for a waiver of the remaining fines, fees and court costs.

In House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Public Safety Subcommittee.

SB 121 Provides the court may adopt an alternative procedure for collecting an outstanding payment in misdemeanor cases. In Senate Judiciary Committee.


  • Directs automatic 12 month deferral of certain fines, fees and court costs for certain individuals recently released from imprisonment.
  • Allows after 12 months for court to waive fines, fees, and costs outright, extend deferral, or enter into payment plan.

Approved as amended by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/21/17.


Provides if defendant convicted in municipal criminal court of record for violation of city ordinance is without means to pay the fine or costs, and no undue hardship would result, the municipal judge may direct the defendant to perform community service at a rate of not less than the current federal minimum wage.

Approved by full Senate 2/20/17.


Creates task force to analyze fines, fees and court costs assessed throughout criminal justice process. Requires task force report by November 30, 2019 on

  1. The percentage of owed fees, fines and costs that are actually paid;
  2. How local and state governmental budgets are supported by fees, fines and costs;
  3. How fees, fines and costs contribute to jail and prison populations; and
  4. Recommendations for improvement to the existing system.

Approved by full Senate 3/22/17.


  • Provides absent a finding of willful nonpayment by the offender, the failure of an offender to pay fines and costs may not serve as a basis for revocation or probation.
  • Authorizes courts to waive outstanding fines, costs and fees under certain circumstances.
  • Provides payment/installment plans ordered by court may not exceed 10% of “discretionary income” and defines “discretionary income” as 150% over federal poverty line.

Approved by full Senate 3/21/17.


Creates Corrections and Criminal Justice oversight task force. Requires Department of Corrections deliver to task force data on, among other things, the amount and percentage of discretionary income each person under DOC supervision or control pays monthly that goes towards court fees, fines, and costs and the number of supervision extensions made due to failure to pay fines and fees.

Approved by full Senate 3/21/17.

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

HB 125 Prohibits a municipal corporation that is not authorized to establish a mayor’s court from imposing or charging fines, fees, or other charges that are in excess of, or not included in, the applicable municipal or county court’s schedule of fines and costs for violations of state law. In House Criminal Justice Committee.

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

AB 3354 Provides notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, a defendant who has been sentenced or is required to pay an assessment, penalty, or fee imposed in accordance with the provisions of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes may at any time, including the time of sentencing, apply to the court which sentenced him for a waiver of the assessment, penalty, or fee or of any unpaid portion thereof in accordance with rules adopted by the Supreme Court. If it appears to the satisfaction of the court that the defendant has demonstrated that requiring such payment would impose an extreme financial hardship or that it would otherwise be unjust to require payment, the court may waive the assessment, penalty, or fee or the unpaid portion thereof in whole or in part, or establish an appropriate payment schedule that takes into account the defendant’s financial or other circumstance. In Assembly Judiciary Committee.

AB 4455 Requires “miscellaneous revenues” in municipal budget expected to be realized from municipal court to be listed under “Fines and Costs” line item. In Assembly Judiciary Committee.


Special Edition: Arizona fee/fine/cost legislation in the 2017 session (UPDATE)

Original here.


Fine Mitigation and Restitution (part of former SB 1158)

  • Modifies the court’s ability to waive civil penalties, forfeitures and fines, instead allowing the court to mitigate them. Maintains requirements related to hardship and division of the amount assessed.
  • Stipulates that the court cannot mitigate the Clean Elections surcharge.
  • Allows the court to mitigate mandatory fines and civil penalties. They are not currently allowed to be waived.
  • Permits the court to waive or mitigate mandatory community restitution due to a defendant’s medical condition. Specifies this ability does not apply to community restitution in lieu of a monetary obligation.
  • Allows the court to mitigate a fine imposed on conviction for a drug offense.
  • Eliminates the requirement that a probationer be current on the payment of monetary obligations to receive earned time credit. Maintains the requirement that the probationer be current on court-ordered restitution.
  • Expands the ability of the court to order a defendant to perform community restitution in lieu of paying all or part of a monetary obligation if the court finds the defendant is unable to pay.
  • Specifies that community restitution in lieu of a monetary obligation does not apply to the Clean Elections surcharge.
  • Reduces the interest that accrues on a criminal restitution order in favor of the state from 10 percent to 4 percent per year.
  • Allows the court to waive all or part of the interest on a criminal restitution order in favor of any person entitled to restitution on agreement of the prosecutor and victim.

Removal of Debt (part of former SB 1158)

  • Allows the superior court, a justice of the peace or a municipal court to order all or part of a debt due to the court be removed from the accounting system if
    a) 20 years or more have elapsed from the date of the initial fine or other monetary obligation in a criminal or civil traffic case that resulted in the debt;
    b) the court notifies the prosecutor, defendant and victim, if the defendant’s and victim’s addresses are known, that the court may remove all or part of the debt and that any party or the victim may file an objection to the removal within 30 days after notification;
    c) the court makes reasonable attempts to collect the debt, including billing the debtor on at least four different dates;
    d) the court submits the debt for collection to a licensed collection agency and does not order the removal for at least a year while the agency attempts collection;
    e) the court notifies the Department of Revenue of the debt pursuant to statute; and
    f) the court notifies the county or city treasurer, as appropriate.
  • Requires the court to consider any objection in determining whether to remove the debt.

Sentences of Community Restitution or Education or Treatment (part of former SB 1158)

  • Permits the court to impose a term of community restitution or education or treatment if a conviction is for a misdemeanor and the person is not granted a period of probation or probation is revoked, in addition to any sentence authorized by law.
  • Requires the court to determine and fix the sentence for a definite period of time if the court imposes a sentence to perform community restitution for a misdemeanor conviction.
  • Requires the court or probation officer to determine the program of education or treatment.
  • Prohibits the term of education or treatment the court imposes from exceeding the term of probation for such convictions.

Miscellaneous (part of former SB 1158)

  • Relieves court clerks of their duty to automatically report unpaid fines, fees, incarceration costs or restitution and instead requires clerks to make the person’s payment history available for free only on request by:

a) the prosecutor;
b) the victim;
c) the victim’s attorney;
d) the probation department; and
e) the court.

  • Eliminates the ability of the court to revoke a defendant’s probation, parole or community supervision and to sentence the defendant to prison if the court finds the defendant:

a) has willfully failed to pay a fine, fee, assessment, restitution or incarceration costs; or
b) has intentionally refused to make a good faith effort to obtain the monies required for payment.

  • Allows time spent in actual custody to be credited in each sentence against the term of imprisonment if the defendant is released from custody pending trial on at least one charge, but remains in actual custody because of not being released pending trial on any other charge.
  • Modifies how a person on intensive probation is paid. Instead of the chief adult probation officer administering the defendant’s account and making payments on behalf of the defendant, the defendant’s probation officer will monitor the defendant’s wages to ensure the collection of restitution, fees, fines and other payments.
  • Adds assessments to requirements related to consequences and garnishment for nonpayment

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


  • Provides that a defendant who is an indigent person may petition the court for full or partial waiver of court assessments imposed under the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act. Sets percentages that may be waived based on level of indigence
  • Provides for 100% waiver if person is “indigent person”, defined as
    • He or she is receiving assistance under one or more of the following means-based governmental public benefits programs: Supplemental Security Income; Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; General Assistance; Transitional Assistance; or State Children and Family Assistance.
    • His or her available income is 200% or less of the current poverty level as established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, unless the applicant’s assets that are not exempt Code of Civil Procedure are of a nature and value that the court determines that the applicant is able to pay the assessments.
    • He or she is, in the discretion of the court, unable to proceed in an action with payment of assessments and whose payment of those assessments would result in substantial hardship to the person or his or her family.
  • Allows for partial based on sliding scale of indigence
    • 75% waiver if 250-300% of the poverty level
    • 50% waiver if 300-350% of the poverty level
    • 25% waiver if 351-400% of the poverty level
  • Requires clerk provide notice “If you are unable to pay the required assessments, you may ask the court to allow you to proceed without paying them. Ask the clerk of the court for forms.”

Approved as amended by House State Government Administration Committee 3/22/17.

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


  • Provides no defendant shall be incarcerated after a final hearing for nonpayment of an assessment or nonperformance of community service unless counsel has been appointed for a defendant who is indigent or such defendant has executed a valid waiver of counsel for the final hearing.
  • Provides incarceration of such defendant may occur only if the court, after having conducted an ability to pay or ability to perform final hearing at which the court has made a specific inquiry of the defendant concerning his or her financial circumstances and his or her reasons for nonpayment or nonperformance, finds that the defendant willfully failed to pay the assessment or perform the community service.
  • Requires court prior to conducting an ability to pay or ability to perform final hearing
  • Provide the defendant with a financial affidavit and direct the defendant to complete the affidavit;
    1. Inform the defendant that he or she may be immediately incarcerated if the court finds that he or she has willfully failed to comply with the court’s prior order to pay an assessment or perform community service;
    2. Inform the defendant that he or she is entitled to counsel for the final hearing in which incarceration is a possible outcome and, if the defendant cannot afford one, the court will appoint one; and
    3. Explain the issues to be decided at the final hearing as well as the process provided.
    4. Requires court appoint counsel to represent an indigent defendant at a final hearing on an ability to pay or perform held pursuant to this section if incarceration is a possible outcome of the final hearing.

Approved by full Senate 2/16/17. Public Hearing in House Judiciary Committee 3/15/17.

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

HB 672

  • Requires appointment of counsel for indigent persons who face the possibility of incarceration due to a charge of failure to pay fines, fees, court costs, state assessments or restitution, or for a charge of failure to appear for court proceedings on a failure-to-pay charge.
  • Provides a court shall not order the imprisonment or revoke the probation of a person for nonpayment of a fine or restitution, or failure to make timely payments toward such penalties under a payment schedule approved by the court, without first holding a hearing, on the record, inquiring into the reasons for the nonpayment, the individual’s ability to pay and efforts to secure resources, and the adequacy of alternatives to incarceration.
  • Provides a court shall not order the imprisonment or revoke the probation of an individual for nonpayment of fees, state assessments, or court costs, or failure to make timely payments toward such penalties under a payment schedule approved by the court.’
  • Provides a person shall be presumed to be “unable to pay” a fine, fee, state assessment, court cost or restitution if the person:
    1. Has an annual income at or below the federal poverty level;
    2. Resides in a correctional or mental health facility;
    3. Is homeless;
    4. Is currently enrolled in one or more types of public assistance;
    5. Has a development disability or is totally and permanently disabled; or
    6. By the payment of fines, state assessments, fees, court costs, or restitution, would be deprived or the person’s dependents, including children and elderly parents, would be deprived of financial support needed to meet basic needs such as housing, food, child care, or transportation.

Died in House Judiciary A Committee.


      • Provides incarceration shall not automatically follow the nonpayment of a fine, restitution, court order or court costs.
      • Provides incarceration may be employed only after the court has conducted a hearing and examined the reasons for nonpayment and finds, on the record, that the defendant was not indigent or could have made payment but refused to do so.
      • Provides when determining whether a person is indigent, the court shall use the current Federal Poverty Guidelines and there shall be a presumption of indigence when a defendant’s income is at or below one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, subject to a review of his or her assets.
      • Provides a defendant at or below one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) of the Federal Poverty Guidelines without substantial liquid assets available to pay fines, fees, and costs shall be deemed indigent. In determining whether a defendant has substantial liquid assets, the judge shall not consider up to Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) in tangible personal property, including motor vehicles, household goods, or any other assets exempted from seizure under execution or attachment as provided under Section 85-3-1.
      • Provides if the defendant is above one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the judge shall make an individualized assessment of his or her ability to pay based on the totality of the circumstances including, but not limited to, the defendant’s disposable income, financial obligations and liquid assets. If the judge determines that a defendant who claims indigence is not indigent and the defendant could have made payment but refused to do so, the case file shall include a written explanation of the basis for the determination of the judge. In justice and municipal court, such finding shall be included in the court’s order.
      • Provides if it appears to the satisfaction of the court that nonpayment is not willful, the court shall enter an order that allows the defendant additional time for payment, reduces the amount of each installment, revokes the fine, in whole or in part, or allows the defendant to perform community service at the state minimum wage per hour rate.
      • Provides if the court finds nonpayment is willful after consideration of the defendant’s situation, means, and conduct with regard to the nonpayment, the court shall determine the period of incarceration, if any, subject to the limitations set by law
      • Provides if, at the time the fine, restitution or court cost is ordered, a sentence of incarceration is also imposed, the aggregate total of the period of incarceration imposed pursuant to this section and the term of the sentence originally imposed may not exceed the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for the offense.

Conference Committee report referred to House and Senate 3/27/17.

SB 2572

See HB 672. Died in Senate Judiciary A Committee.


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

HB 1209 Requires all moneys, except administrative costs, from minor traffic violations on state-maintained roads or highways to be sent to the Director of the Department of Revenue. In House (no committee).

HB 380 Allows court to order credit for time served when an individual has been held in custody for a show cause order pertaining to any matter related to a minor traffic violation. Requires any summons for a minor traffic violation to include the date and time a defendant is to appear in court when the defendant is first provided the summons. Provides if the summons does not include such information when first given to the defendant, the summons will be void. Approved by House General Laws Committee 2/21/17. In House Rules Committee.

HB 623 Prohibits the fine collection center from taking an individual’s drivers’ license for failure to appear for a traffic violation. Action postponed in House Judiciary Committee 3/7/17.