Nickel and Diming the Criminal Defendant: A Look at Financial Penalties in Felony Cases

  • The $60 DNA fee and the $150 Forensic lab fee were eliminated on October 1, 2003. 
  • If a person who is in prison does not cooperate with the county’s efforts to collect daily prison costs, up to $60 a day, he or she may not receive the ¼ reduction of their sentence for good behavior.

This article details the costs, fees, and financial assessments that may be imposed as part of a felony sentence in Michigan and the authorizing statutes. 

You can read the full text of the article here

Key findings

  • If a person’s commissary account contains more than $50, restitution payments may be deducted from their account and the sheriff may charge 5% of the restitution payment for an administrative fee. 
  • Michigan courts must impose minimum state costs of $60 for each count of a felony offense and and $40 for each count of a misdemeanor offense. 
  • The average range of court costs as shown by a survey of the State Appellate Defender’s Office cases was $300 to $600. 
  • Before fees for court-appointed counsel are assessed, the court must consider a person’s current and future ability to pay and the court should not order attorneys fees if there is no ability to pay.
  • Monthly supervision fees range from $10 to $40 and the amount of the fee is determined by a person’s projected monthly income according to graduated assessment schedules.
  • A $12 entry fee is imposed upon each person admitted to jail, pretrial or post conviction. Failure to pay this fee can result in a civil infraction and a $100 fine, but people are entitled to a refund of the entry fee if they are found not guilty or if the charges against them are dismissed. 
  • If costs and fees are not paid within 56 days of their due date, a 20% late penalty may be assessed.  
Anne Yantus
Michigan State Appellate Defender Office’s Special Unit on Pleas and Sentencing