This rule guides courts’ decision-making processes for ordering restitution and fines. It outlines factors that courts should consider when assessing fines and fees and how the court should act in the event that a person fails to pay their court-ordered fines and restitution. Broadly speaking, it protects people (especially indigent individuals) from immediate incarceration when they don’t pay their fines and restitution.
You can read the full text of the rule here.
- When imposing a fine, courts should consider the defendant’s ability to pay and whether a fine amount would constitute a burden. Courts should also consider ability to pay when setting payment plans, and prioritize payment of restitution to victims over fines.
- No one may be sentenced to incarceration for inability to pay fines, fees, or restitution. However, the court may incarcerate a person for nonpayment of fines and fees after holding an ability to pay hearing and determining that the failure to pay was willful (i.e. the defendant had the ability to pay but did not). In those cases, nonpayment incarceration cannot exceed 1 day per $15 of the fine (or 1 year in total for felony fines).