Nevada AB 434 makes several changes regarding collection of fines, fees, and restitution. Previously, the law allowed courts to enter a civil judgment; garnish property or wages; suspend driver’s licenses; and incarcerate defendants for nonpayment.
You can read the full text of the bill here.
- Courts shall consider a defendant indigent (unable to pay) if they receive public assistance, reside in public housing, or have a household income below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
- Courts may only suspend driver’s licenses for nonpayment if the defendant (1) has the ability to pay the amount due and is willfully avoiding payment, or (2) is indigent, was given the opportunity to perform community service, and failed to perform community service.
- If a defendant fails to pay fines and fees, and the court finds that they are able to pay and willfully not paying, the court may sentence them to incarceration at a rate of 1 day per each $150 owed (under previous law, it was $75). Courts may also sentence indigent defendants to incarceration if they were provided the opportunity to perform community service and failed to perform it.
- Section 5.1 of this bill establishes the intent of the Legislature to provide that the incarceration of a person for failing to appear in court or failing to pay any administrative assessment, fine or court fee imposed for the commission of a traffic violation should generally be disfavored unless failing to incarcerate such a person would substantially jeopardize public safety.
- State or local entities responsible for collecting fines and fees can no longer report nonpayment to credit reporting agencies, but may contract with a licensed collection agency to collect the unpaid amount if the defendant has been found guilty of the offense for which the fine, fee, or restitution was owed.
- Courts can no longer request that a prosecuting attorney collect unpaid fines and fees.
Primary sponsor(s): Nevada House Judiciary Committee
Bill number: 434