FFJC Policy Recommendations
The escalating public health and economic crisis wrought by COVID-19 is unlike anything in modern U.S. history. The worst harms of this crisis are falling heavily and disproportionately on the most vulnerable people in our country, especially people living paycheck-to-paycheck and people in the criminal justice system.
A recession is underway. People are losing their jobs and most low-paying jobs cannot be done remotely. Families are unable to pay their rent, buy food, or afford medical care — and they need their cars to access these basic necessities while social-distancing. In the midst of this crisis, paying fines and fees or accumulating additional court debt should be the last thing a family worries about.
People who are incarcerated are particularly vulnerable to the virus. The conditions in jails and prisons, coupled with the age and health of the incarcerated population, make the virus extremely dangerous. In response to the crisis, many jurisdictions have terminated in-person visitation between incarcerated people and their friends and families, yet continue to charge exorbitant rates for phone calls, emails and other vital forms of communication.
During the last recession, state and local governments dramatically increased the number and amount of fines and fees imposed on people for minor traffic and municipal code violations, misdemeanors and felonies in order to fill budget gaps. That regressive system of taxation continues to cause enormous harm in economically vulnerable communities, and particularly communities of color. Those communities suffered most in the last recession and will suffer again in this one. They cannot bear this unfair burden. State and local governments and courts should work to eliminate fees, make fines fair and proportionate, and never use fines and fees to balance their budgets.
In light of this ongoing national emergency, state and local governments and courts should make immediate changes to their criminal, traffic and municipal ordinance fines and fees policies to (1) increase public safety and health, (2) ensure that fines and fees are not a barrier to people’s basic needs throughout this emergency, and (3) promote the resiliency of our communities.
Below are evidence-based policies that jurisdictions around the country should take to help stem this public health and economic crisis.
Policy Recommendations For Our Communities:
- State and local jurisdictions should discharge all outstanding fines, fees and court debt. Where full discharge is not yet feasible, government and courts should implement immediately the following alternatives:
- End all collection of fines, fees, and court debt, including but not limited to: payments due under payment plans, wage garnishment, property liens, off-sets of tax refunds, unemployment insurance and other public benefits, especially those related to housing.
- Stop sending delinquent cases to private collection companies, and direct private collection companies and probation and parole officers to stop all collection efforts.
- Stop imposing penalties for late or missed payments of fines, fees and court debt.
- Suspend interest on unpaid fines, fees and court debt.
- Immediately cease issuing and enforcing warrants for unpaid fines and fees or for failure to appear at a hearing addressing unpaid fines and fees.
- State and local jurisdictions should stop driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees or for not appearing in court, and reinstate driver’s licenses suspended for non-safety reasons.
- Law enforcement officers should release individuals with a warning who are driving on a suspended license. Alternatively, law enforcement should cite and release any person apprehended for driving on a suspended driver’s license, when the underlying suspension is based on unpaid fines and fees or not appearing in court. Under no circumstances should these individuals be arrested and jailed.
- Local governments should stop issuing parking tickets and municipal code violations that do not impact public safety, and stop booting, towing and impounding vehicles for unpaid fines and fees.
- Judges should waive or reduce any fines they impose, recognizing people’s precarious financial circumstances.
- Jurisdictions should proactively and widely communicate any changes made in their fines and fees policies.
Policy Recommendations For People in the Criminal Legal System:
- Co-pays for medical visits of people in custody should be waived.
- Incarcerated people should be provided free liquid soap, hand sanitizer, and other disinfecting products.
- People who are incarcerated and their families and loved ones should be provided with free, easily accessible phone and email communication.
- Release any individuals incarcerated for outstanding fines and fees, and stop jailing or detaining individuals for unpaid fines and fees.
- Probation and parole should not be extended or revoked, nor sanctions imposed, for unpaid fines and fees or other technical violations.
COVID-19 Fines and Fees Policy Tracker
This page was last updated on October 12th 2020.
- Stimulus Bill: Prohibits state or local governments from intercepting the $1,200 recovery checks and using them to pay for outstanding fines and fees.
- The DOC is providing one free call per week (up to 15 minutes) and extended hours of availability through May 15. The DOC also suspended all co-pays (including for medical services not directly related to COVID-19) for 60 days.
- Athens: Anyone who has previously been sentenced and ordered to make monthly payments toward court costs, fines or other fees will be given a 60-day grace period and will not be penalized for inability to make payments for March or April.
- The DOC is providing two free 15-minute phone calls per inmate per week while visitation is suspended.
- Statewide: The Arizona Department of Corrections is waiving medical co-pays for incarcerated people experiencing flu-like symptoms and providing incarcerated people with free soap. Each person will receive two additional 15-minute phone calls per week and those with visitation privileges are eligible for one 15-minute video visit per week.
- Maricopa County is granting all applications to defer payment of any court fees and costs submitted between March 25th and June July 1st (no longer in effect).
- DCR and telephone provider GTL have partnered to provide free calls once a week in June.
- California’s state taxing authority (the Franchise Tax Board) has suspended collection of all criminal justice debt and most other government-owed debts via wage garnishments, bank levies, and tax intercepts.
- Lake County: The Clerk’s Office extended the period to pay for traffic tickets online from 30 days to 60 days.
- Lake County Superior Court suspended all juvenile billings and collections during the period of the pandemic
- Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Superior Court ordered a 90-day grace period on all Traffic and Non-Traffic Infraction matters including suspension of referrals to collections. Traffic Infraction defendants who have suspended driver’s licenses due to unpaid tickets can now call the Court to set a future hearing date and immediately have the Court request a release of their Driver’s License Hold from the DMV.
- Moreno Valley: City officials announce they are suspending penalties and interest for late payment of utility bills, parking citations, business license fees and library fines, for March 18 through April 15 (no longer in effect)
- Humboldt County: Humboldt County Probation placed an informal moratorium on the collection of all juvenile debt due to covid-19 and suspended active collection action at this time.
- Orange County: The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to end collection and discharge $18.5 million in fees charged to families with children in the juvenile system prior to 2018, amid the COVID-19 crisis.
- Riverside: The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution recommending the end of collection efforts for approximately $4.1 million in outstanding juvenile justice system fees and discharging all outstanding balances, as a part of efforts to minimize the financial hardship of COVID-19 on Riverside County residents.
- San Diego County: San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to discharge more than $40 million in old juvenile fees to provide financial relief to families due to the unintended consequences of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
- San Francisco
- The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has announced several reforms.
- Suspend new late penalties on citations.
- Extend deadlines for submitting citation protests.
- No longer forward additional delinquent citations to the Department of Motor Vehicles or Special Collections.
- Parking – Enforcement will be temporarily suspended for the following:
- 72-hour parking limit and towing.
- Residential Permit Parking (RPP) permits.
- Commuter shuttles.
- Peak-hour towaway zones.
- Parking violations for street sweeping will be enforced beginning on Monday, June 15.
- Stop towing for unpaid citations.
- Treasurer’s Office:
- The Treasurer’s Office has stopped the following activities for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis: post-judgment collections (for example, bank levy and wage garnishments), small courts claims filings, summary judgments, citation issuance, and property tax auctions.
- Public Library:
- All materials due from February 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020 are now due on June 1, 2020. As of September 2019, San Francisco Public Library is fine free—no late fees will accrue on your account
- San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
- The Public Utilities Commission has suspended the discontinuation or shut off of service for residents and businesses in San Francisco for non- payment of water, sewer and power bills and suspended the imposition of late payment penalties or fees
- San Fransico Superior Court:
- Traffic ticket payment timelines have also been extended for 60 days and anyone can request a discount on their traffic ticket based on their ability to pay, even if their traffic ticket is past-due.
- Department of Child Support Services:
- California Child Support Services is now temporarily stopping the automatic placement of bank levies and suspension of drivers’ licenses, effective on March 17, 2020.
- Sheriff’s Department:
- The Sheriff’s department will now provide 75 minutes of free phone calls every week to people incarcerated in the jails. This summer, all jail phone calls will be free.
- Effective immediately, the Sheriff’s Department will no longer take a commission on items in the jail store, and prices will decrease by an average of 43%.
- The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has announced several reforms.
- Stanislaus County discharged $6.9 million in juvenile fees to relieve the impact on families during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
- California Child Support Services is ending bank levy and driver’s license automated enforcement actions statewide.
- The Governor issued an order directing DPS to identify funding allocated in the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 to be utilized for the purposes of suspending the $17.00 a day subsistence payments required from community corrections clients (no longer in effect as of May 22)
- All incarcerated persons receive free masks and 2 free bars of soap per week. All co-pays have been waived for residents showing symptoms associated with COVID-19.
- The Department of Correction is offering two free phone calls per week and suspending co-pay obligations associated with medical services. DOC will also provide people at every facility with antiseptic to clean telephones between uses, two bars of soap each week, two cloth masks that can be traded in for cleaning or replaced if damaged, and antiseptic to clean living areas twice a week.
- Delaware State Courts have stopped issuing failure to pay warrants and suspended the active collection of payment for criminal, civil and traffic assessments.
- On March 16 the DOC began providing two free five-minute phone calls per week to everyone at every Level V prison and Level IV Violation of Probation and Work Release facility.
District of Columbia: The DOC is providing each resident with a new bar of soap every week, free of charge and two free 5-minute phone calls per week.
- Statewide: The Florida Department of Corrections is offering incarcerated individuals 1 free 15 minute phone call and 1 video call/week, 2 free stamps through August 2, 2020. The Department has also waived medical copays and issued cloth face coverings.
- The 2nd Judicial Circuit authorized Clerks of Court to postpone drivers’ license suspensions for non-court ordered sanctions in all civil traffic cases for the duration of the public health emergency.
- The 7th Judicial Circuit directed the Clerks of Court to cease issuance of D-6 drivers’ license suspensions.
- 10th Judicial Circuit: Issued an administrative order authorizing Clerks to grant a one time request for an extension of time to pay fines and costs imposed by county courts in criminal cases for a period of 60 days; for non criminal traffic violations, payment may be extended for a period of 120 days.
- The 15th Judicial circuit prohibited the Clerk and Comptroller’s Office from issuing D-6 license suspensions or defaulting anyone on civil or criminal traffic violations until June 1, 2020. (No longer in effect)
- The Clerk of Court in the 17th Judicial Circuit shall not issue a D-6 license suspension or default any defendant on any civil traffic infraction or default or issue a D-6 license suspension on any defendant who is currently on a payment plan until further order of the court. Also, an April 6 update to the order allows the clerk to grant a one time request for an extension of time for the payment of fines and/or costs imposed in circuit and county criminal cases and non criminal traffic violations, for a period of 60 days from the date imposed by the court. (no longer in effect as of June 1, 2020)
- Hillsborough County: Financial due dates set for March 18, 2020 through December 31, 2020 for all Criminal and Traffic cases have been extended for an additional 60 days.
- Indian River Clerk has suspended driver’s license suspensions and sending accounts to collection until further notice. (no longer in effect)
- Lake County: The Clerk’s Office extended the period to pay for traffic tickets online from 30 to 60 days.(No longer in effect)
- Lee County: Court Payment due dates have been extended until July 3rd. (No longer in effect)
- Miami Dade County: Persons whose criminal, misdemeanor, or traffic payment plans are cancelled due to non payment during the timeframe that the courthouses are closed to the public, can re-enroll without any penalty or additional fees. The Courts and Clerk of Courts will not be issuing driver’s license suspensions during the period that the courthouses are closed to the public due to COVID-19.
- Osceola County approved a 60-day extension for all criminal and traffic payments with due dates for the time period of March 13, 2020 – May 22, 2020.
- Pinellas: Court fines with due dates between March 16th and May 31st, have been extended by 60 days; individuals are encouraged to contact the Customer Information Center to discuss other outstanding court-ordered financial obligations.
- Statewide: The Georgia Department of Correction will issue all incarcerated individuals one free fifteen-minute phone call each week, two free e-stamps each week and waive the $5.00 medical co-pay for persons exhibiting COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, until further notice.
- Athens-Clarke County: All municipal fine payments and deadlines will be extended.
- Clayton County: The State Court of Clayton County and the Office of the Solicitor-General capped the fines for speeding, following too closely, improper lane change and other low-risk maintenance and/or moving violations at $50 plus surcharges.
- Macon County: The Macon County Circuit Court is extending the deadline for 90 days on fines, fees, costs and restitution due dates falling between March 20 and April 20. The extension will cover court-imposed charges and penalties due in traffic, driving under the influence, criminal felony, criminal misdemeanor and juvenile delinquency cases.
- Any court hearings to address unpaid fines and fees are continued for 60 days (i.e. rescheduled 60 days from when they were originally scheduled (no longer in effect)
- DOC is providing all incarcerated persons with two free 15-minute calls per week.
- The Supreme Court of Idaho has designated offenses that will be punished by book and release, instead of the assessment of a fine. The offenses include no license or invalid license, driving without privileges, failure to maintain liability insurance, to carry proof thereof, and operating a motor vehicle without liability insurance.
- The Illinois Department of Corrections is providing all people in custody with funds for two 20-minute phone calls and one 15-minute video visit until June 4th.
- Statewide: Illinois Tollway announced a comprehensive tolling reform package– changes include: customers with unpaid tolls will be mailed an invoice with a $3 fee per unpaid toll for passenger vehicles rather than an initial $20 violation, for the remainder of 2020, the Tollway is reducing all existing $20 and $50 dollar fines will be reduced to a $3 invoicing fee per missed toll, and any unpaid tolls that occurred between March 9 and June 25 during the stay-at-home order will not incur additional fines or fees aside from a $.01 invoice fee.
- Champaign County: Payment due dates for fines, fees, costs, restitution in traffic, DUI, felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile cases are extended for 180 days; no interest or late charges will be assessed.
- Chicago has announced several reforms. (order extended)
- Delay referral of parking, red light, speed camera tickets to collection firms until June 1, 2020.
- No defaults of payment plans until July 1, 2020 and no new interest accumulated on current compliance plans including city tickets, utility bills, parking and red-light citations, booting and other non-public safety related violations
- Delay driver’s license suspensions until after April 30, 2020.
- Through at least June 1, the city will suspend booting, late fees and defaults on payment plans for all city debts, and is suspending city debt checks for ride-share and taxi drivers.
- Until June 8, the city will be limiting ticketing, towing and impounding solely to what are public safety-related issues
- Extend utility bill due dates and referral to collection firms until June 1, 2020; customers with payment due dates prior to June 30 will not be assessed additional penalties until July 1.
- Ticketing enforcement will resume for illegal parking along street-sweeping routes on July 1st and on July 6th, booting will resume. Beginning, July 16, the city will resume ticketing for expired city stickers and residential parking permits.
- River Forest (Cook County): The Village Board passed an executive order suspending fines for late payments and non-payments for water service and refuse service. The order also extends the due date for ambulance bills from 30 days to 60 days after being issued and suspends the collection of ambulance bills and judgments on ordinance violations, including red light camera fees. The changes are in effect through May 31. (no longer in effect)
- DOC is providing one free phone call of up to 5-minutes per week through May 17th and waiving co-pay fees for people experiencing COVID symptoms. (no longer in effect)
- Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation temporarily suspending the delinquency of court debt not paid within thirty days after the date the debt was assessed, the date set out in a court order, or the date due in an installment agreement. (no longer in effect as of July 1)
- Iowa DOC is offering one free five-minute phone call and four free emails to each incarcerated person every week.
- Sioux City: Waiving all late penalties and fees for utility bills and parking fines through June 30 (No longer in effect)
Eliminated the $2 primary visit fee for incarcerated people making a first (primary) visit to the on-site medical team to report possible COVID-19 symptoms. The Kansas DOC is also offering two free 15-minute phone calls and three free 30-minute video calls per week to people behind bars until in-person visitation restrictions are lifted.
- All persons in state prisons are receiving one free phone call per week, two free messages via a secure electronic mail system, and a cloth mask.
- Show cause dockets for payment of fines and court costs can be scheduled no sooner than Nov. 1, and judges shall issue summonses and notices in lieu of bench warrants.
- Any court hearings to address unpaid fines and fees are continued for 60 days (i.e. rescheduled 60 days from when they were originally scheduled).
- The Supreme Court issued an order prohibiting the arrest or detention of any person served with a warrant for nonpayment of court costs, fees, or fines, or with a warrant for a failure to appear on a violation. The order requires that peace officers issue a citation in lieu of arrest and set a court date for after November 1, 2020.
- DOC is providing individuals in state-run prisons two free 15 minute calls a week, two free email stamps per week, as well as free soap and cloth masks.
- The 12th Judicial District Court has suspended the requirement to make scheduled payments of fines, fees and court costs until further notice. Requirements to attend substance abuse classes, domestic violence classes, life skill classes, anger management classes, driver improvement classes and MADD classes are also suspended until further notice.
- The Supreme Court drafted a letter to judges recommending actions to mitigate the financial burdens of fines and fees including re-evaluate ability to pay for individuals who have lost their jobs, suspend due dates for the payment of criminal fines, costs, or fees until 180 days past the end of all pandemic emergency orders, refrain from referring defendants to third party collectors and assessing interest or late penalties, release anyone who is currently detained for non-payment or for failure to appear at a payment hearing, and suspend court-supervised probation fines and fees.
- Maine’s court system is vacating warrants for unpaid fines, restitution, court-appointed counsel fees, failure to appear for unpaid fine hearings, and other failure to appear warrants.
- Courts extended the dates on which those who owe fines, fees, restitution and attorney fee reimbursements in criminal cases to June 1 or to another ordered due date in June, whichever is later. (no longer in effect)
- The DOC is providing video visitation as will access to alternative forms of communication including free phone minutes, free text messages and increased access to postage.
- Baltimore: State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her office will stop prosecuting low level offenses, including minor traffic offenses.
- DOC has offered two free 20 minute phone calls per week and free soap to everyone and all medical co-pays will be waived.
- Issued an order directing district courts to extend the due date for people who are unable to pay fines, fees, court costs, including probation costs due between 3/18 and 9/4, to 9/30. The deferment of the due date does not extend a person’s probation.
- The governor signed an executive order allowing local officials more flexibility in releasing vulnerable populations who do not pose a threat to public safety, including people who are aging or have chronic conditions, pregnant women or people nearing their release date, or anyone in jail for failure to appeal, failure to pay or for a traffic violation.
- The Department of Corrections is offering free soap and, 2 free stamps per week. Copays will be waived for COVID- 19 tests.
- Detroit: The 36th District Court in Detroit implemented an amnesty program that waives certain fees associated with traffic tickets and misdemeanor cases. Under the amnesty program, warrant, penalty and late fees can be waived if other case fees are paid in full. The program ends July 10. (no longer in effect)
- The Department of Corrections has provided gloves, masks and soap to all incarcerated persons. Co-pays related to influenza or COVID-19 have also been waived.
- Minnesota’s court system will stop sending out late penalty notices and assessing the late penalties for all citations; halt the automated process by which a person’s license is suspended for failure to appear; and stop referring past-due payment cases to the Department of Revenue for collections.
- Minnesota prison officials waived copays charged to people reporting respiratory/cold/cough symptoms and also provided two free phone calls and one free 15 minute video visit a week.
- The Supreme Court authorized the State Court Administrator to extend the time to respond to payable citations for an additional 60 days, to extend the time to pay fines and fees due to the court for an additional 60 days, to suspend penalties for failure to appear and late payments, and to suspend or modify Judicial Branch policies that implement payable citations.
- St. Paul waived vehicle towing and storage charges through the first week of May and suspended debt collection through June 30.
- Incarcerated people will receive up to two free 10-minute phone calls each week to help people stay in contact with family and friends while visits are suspended.
- Montana’s Supreme Court issued an order authorizing courts to delay time payments from defendants.
- DOC: Incarcerated persons receive a free call and video visit weekly, free masks and cleaning supplies.
- Nebraska’s Supreme Court suspended the execution of warrants between March 27th and June 30th for individuals who failed to pay their fines or costs.
- The Department of Correctional Services has provided all residents with free masks, 2 free phone calls per week, and free soap.
- The Nevada Department of Corrections is providing eligible residents up to two free phone calls per week and free masks.
- The Las Vegas Justice Court is suspending the enforcement of outstanding traffic warrants until 60 days after the state’s stay-at-home directive is lifted.
All incarcerated persons receive 2 free phone calls per week, masks and soap.
- The New Jersey Supreme Court ordered the release of any person currently serving a county jail sentence as a condition of probation, or as a result of a municipal court conviction.
- The DOC is providing free masks, telephone calls and stamps, and waiving all medical copays.
- Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that accelerates the rescinding of certain juvenile delinquency fines and makes post-incarceration supervision discretionary, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The state Supreme Court ordered a temporary moratorium on evictions for inability to pay rent during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- The New Mexico Supreme Court issued orders extending the deadline for the payment of fines and fees due between March 19, 2020 and June 30, 2020 for 30 days from the original due date.
- The New Mexico Corrections Department is providing all incarcerated persons 1 free call/week, free mailing materials and free video visits.
- The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision supplied all incarcerated individuals with a surgical-type mask and a cloth face covering. Officials continue to work with vendors to ensure continued access to some combination of weekly free calls and secure messages.
- New York (outside of NYC): Some parts of the state have temporarily stopped processing new driver’s license suspensions and associated fees for failure to pay traffic tickets or for failure to appear at a traffic court hearing.
- Late fees and interest on parking, traffic and other city accounts (water, etc) are suspended (no longer in effect)
- The Fair Fines and Fees Coalition is urging the city to place a moratorium on towing, impounds and low level traffic and parking tickets and forgive all outstanding parking and traffic tickets, and related fees.
- Brooklyn has adjourned all non-essential court dates (including payment dates) for either 60 or 90 days; no warrants or civil judgments will be issued for unpaid court debt in the meantime. District Attorney Eric Gonzalez also announced he won’t prosecute low level crimes.
- Patchogue: Mayor Paul Pontieri and the Village Board announced an amnesty program that will reduce the amount of open parking tickets by 50%, beginning July 1 and running for 45 days.
- Extends the payment due date for orders entered in a criminal or infraction case prior to April 6, 2020 with a payment due date before or on June 29, 2020 for 90 days and prohibits courts from reporting a failure to comply as a result of nonpayment during the 90 day extension period. Also prohibits courts from reporting a failure to comply for a criminal or infraction case with a payment due date before April 6, 2020 where the 40th day following nonpayment falls on or after April 6, 2020 and before or on June 29, 2020. If a court enters a judgment or order on or after April 6, 2020 and before or on June 29, 2020 in a criminal or infraction case, the payment due date must be at least 90 days after the date of entry of the judgment or order, and the installment fee shall not be assessed until after the due date has passed.
- Driver’s licenses won’t be suspended for non-payment during the extension as the Chief Justice’s order directs court clerks not to report unpaid court debts to the state Division of Motor Vehicles.
- The Department of Public Safety is providing residents with two free five-minute phone calls each week through May 16th. (no longer in effect)
- The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is offering residents two free 15‐minute phone calls each week and one free video communication per month. The department has also provided residents with 2 free emails per week and free cable, and suspended financial obligations.
- Statewide: All incarcerated individuals are receiving two free five minute calls per week and one free 15-minute video visit per week. Each incarcerated person also has 8 free emails per month.
- Butler County: During the period lasting until May 22, upon payment of court costs and half of the outstanding fines, the court will waive the remaining fine and any collection fees for people who have past-due fines in Oxford, Hamilton and West Chester Twp. At that time, the court will lift all license forfeitures and vehicle registration blocks associated with that fine. If people are unable to pay half the fine, but are able to pay at least $50, they will be given a new court date to appear in front of the judge to discuss payments of the remainder of the fine owed. Anyone with an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor who can pay $125 for the court costs will have the case rescheduled for a new hearing, when the warrant will be recalled. (no longer in effect)
- Toledo: All municipal court fines, costs, and fees due between March 15th and June 1 have been extended 90 days from the original due date. *** extended for an additional 90 days
- Statewide: Incarcerated individuals will receive free bars of anti-bacterial soap, protective masks, and up to 10 minutes of free phone calls each week.
- Osage County has stopped enforcement of cost warrants (or warrants in non-violent cases).
- In Pittsburg County, bench warrants previously issued by Pittsburg County District Court for failure to appear on a cost warrant are stayed and held in abeyance for 30 days or until further order of the court.
- Cleveland County is releasing on personal recognizance bonds all people arrested or detained for all cost warrants (issued for failure to pay court costs) and warrants for failure to appear for cost dockets.
- Statewide: Oregon state courts have stopped imposing late fees, suspending driver licenses for nonpayment, sending delinquency notices, imposing collection fees/referring new cases to collections, and issuing new garnishments. The Chief Justice has also issued orders allowing state courts to suspend or waive late fees until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency and encouraging state courts to waive or suspend fines, fees, and costs, for persons with limited financial resources. The order applies to juvenile fines and fees from delinquency cases filed in circuit courts.
- Statewide: A moratorium on Certain Traffic Offenses was put into effect with the passing of SB 1601; between March 1 and December 31, 2020, the moratorium will apply to the following violations:
- Unlawful parking in a handicap reserved space where the permit expired
- Driving without a license under
- Failure to register or to renew a vehicle registration
- Improper display of validating stickers
- Failure to obtain a trip permit when required
- Each adult in DOC custody will be provided two 5-minute, no-cost phone calls per week and will be offered two masks.
- The Benton County Circuit Court has issued an order stating that it will work with individuals to reduce monthly payments, offer more flexible payment plans, and allow individuals to stop making payments for a period of time. The Court will not impose fees for setting up payment plans, impose late fees on judgments more than 30 days old, suspend drivers licenses for being 30 days late on a fine, or send delinquency notices, refer cases to collections or issue new garnishments.
- Multnomah County: Parole and probation officers will continue to check in with individuals under supervision and respond to public safety concerns. Individuals who violate their probation terms — but don’t commit a new crime — will not be sanctioned to jail unless there is a public safety risk. The county also suspended probation and parole supervision fees.
- Jackson County: The Count Circuit Courts announced an amnesty program that will run from July 1 to October 1 and will allow citizens to pay half of the original amount of fines. Additional court fees (but not collection agency fees) for nonpayment will also be forgiven.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is providing incarcerated people with 1 free phone call weekly and 2 free outgoing messages per week, 5 free video visits and 12 free stamps per month, free masks, and waiving medical co-pays for flu-like symptoms.
- The Philadelphia Police Department is delaying arrests and/or not detaining people for a range of low-level offenses. They are also temporarily stopping enforcement of bench warrants against individuals who fail to show up for court.
- Reading announced several fines and fees reforms:
- Suspend new late penalties on citations.
- Extend deadlines for submitting citation protests.
- Grace period of fine payment from March 18-31.
- No barnacles or boots will be placed on cars from March 18-31.
- Discontinued the issuance of new parking tickets.
- Update: Starting May 4th the city will resume the issuance of parking citations for violations of parking rules during street sweeping hours.
- Suspension of parking meter enforcement.
- All provisions no longer in effect as of 7/6/2020
- All payment deadlines are continued until further notice (no longer in effect)
- The Supreme Court issued an order suspending bench warrants for failure to appear during the state of emergency.
- South Carolina Department of Corrections continues to offer all incarcerated persons two free 5-minute telephone calls each week.
- Each incarcerated person is receiving free masks, 1 free phone call and 1 free video visit. The Department of Corrections has also waived medical co-pays.
- The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is providing each incarcerated person 2 free 15-minute calls a week. (no longer in effect)
- The Harris County Commissioners Court agreed to terminate the county’s contract with the Texas Department of Public Safety resulting in the end of the Failure to Appear Program and the lifting of all existing holds courts placed on driver’s licenses for unpaid fees or fines.
- Tyler: Tyler Municipal Court is offering a ‘COVID special’ which will reduce the $50 warrant fee and the $300 failure to appear charge for people with traffic offenses, warrants, and city code violations who skip their court hearing because they cannot afford to pay, to a total of $10 plus court costs. The reduction for those fines will continue until Dec. 31. Also, starting at the beginning of September, there will be a two-week extension before payments for tickets, fines and fees begin. The court also offers virtual community service hours and donations to local food banks and animal shelters as an alternative to payment.
- The DOC will provide incarcerated persons with one free five-minute phone call beginning May 18th. The Department has also waived medical co-pays.
- Shelby County: Made phone calls and video chats free for incarcerated people.
- The Utah Department of Corrections is offering every incarcerated individual 10 free 15-minute phone calls per week, 2 free face coverings, and waiving co-pay for medical treatment related to COVID-19.
- Salt Lake City issued an order providing defendants who participate in Covid-19 related community service opportunities, the option of submitting community service hours in lieu of paying a court fine or fee during the period of the emergency. Defendants who are unable to complete court ordered community service have the option of converting their community service obligations to court payments at the rate of $10 per hour. The court will also give all defendants a dollar‐for-dollar credit toward their fines/fees if they submit documentation of charitable donations to the Salt Lake Education Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund or the Shelter the Homeless Fund between March 14, 2020, and June 1, 2020.
- The DOC will provide one free video visit per inmate per week, two free 5-minute calls per week, and a mask.
- The VADOC have credited each resident with two free JPay stamps per week during this time and 1 free phone call per week from May 1 through May 17 (no longer in effect).
- Under the authority of Virginia Supreme Court’s Declaration of Judicial Emergency, no court debt is being sent to collections until June 30th, no interest will accrue on debt owed until June 7th and the courts are giving people more flexibility to make and amend payment plans.
- The city of Richmond is waving additional fines and penalties on parking tickets issued on or after March 16 as long as the original ticketed amount is paid by August 31. Those who currently owe money for parking tickets or penalties will have their accounts frozen and will not accrue additional fines or penalties as long as the balance is paid by August 31.
- The Department of Corrections is providing their incarcerated population with free soap, free sanitizing products and waived co-pays for COVID-19 testing and treatment are waived. Until Aug 12 residents can participate in free Reply Wednesdays and will receive two free video visits weekly, two free JPay Stamps each week.
- Statewide: Delayed FTA Reporting to Dept. of Licensing Order postponing the practice of suspending licenses for failure to appear in court for the duration of the pandemic moratorium.
- Seattle: Seattle’s Municipal Court eliminated the $3.60 transaction fee for online and telephone payments for ticket fines and fees, suspended the default penalty for tickets that are not responded to within 15 days, and paused the referral of any outstanding tickets/fines.
- Seattle: Seattle Municipal Court judges voted to eliminate all discretionary fines and fees imposed in criminal cases, recognizing that people are struggling due to COVID-19 pandemic and that people of color and people with low incomes are weighed down by the burden of having these fees placed on them. The fees eliminated include the probation supervision fee, records check fee, work crew fee, and community service setup fee, totaling an average of $268,000 annually to the City’s General Fund. Changes are effective beginning September 16th.
- Medical co-pays have been suspended and weekly allotments of free phone calls and video visits provided to Division of Correction and Rehabilitation residents.
- Each person in the care of the Department of Corrections will receive a free pre-embossed stamped envelope on a bi-weekly basis and 5 free emails per week. The Department is also issuing four (4) disposable ear loop masks and suspending medical co-pays.