This bill describes how Nebraska courts should proceed in instances where a person cannot pay their fines and fees. It prohibits incarcerating people who cannot afford to pay and allows courts to reduce or waive fines and fees, or offer community service as an alternative.
The legislation provides protocol for how courts can authorize payment plans, deferred payments, and community service in lieu of immediate, full monetary payments.
In misdemeanor and felony cases, Tennessee automatically revoked a person’s driver’s license if they failed to pay court fines and fees one year after they were imposed.
On a rainy night, James took shelter under a bridge and was arrested for criminal trespass. Mr. Thomas was found guilty and assessed court costs. He advised the clerk of his circumstances and never heard anything else about the outstanding debt until 2016, when he was denied a Tennessee’s driver’s license.
This bill directs Oregon’s Department of Transportation to create a program that allows certain individuals who have had their driver’s licenses suspended to apply for a reduction or waiver of the criminal justice debt that prevents them from regaining driving privileges.
Alameda County Court informed the California Department of Motor Vehicles when someone failed to pay their traffic debt. Failure to pay resulted in the suspension of the person’s driver’s license.
ArchCity Defenders organized a court watching program at the Davidson County General Sessions Criminal Court in Nashville on Monday, September 12, 2016. The goal of the program was to learn more about the administration of right to counsel in misdemeanor courts in Nashville, and to learn if defendants were being incarcerated for inability to pay fines and fees.
She was a single black woman, age 37, with three children, ages 14, 10, and 8. Her disabled grandmother also lived with her. She worked two jobs to take care of her family and brought home just under $1200 monthly. After paying rent of $715, she had very little left to meet everyone’s needs. She reported having been to Court 1A five times in the past two years, facing charges of driving on a suspended license.
This Guide for Policy Reform by Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program is organized into four issue areas: conflicts of interest, poverty penalties and poverty traps (when people are forced to pay more or face harsher sanctions because of their poverty), the ability-to-pay determination, and transparency and accountability. Under each of these sections, a description of the problem is followed by legislative, judicial, and executive reform suggestions for people at the state level to use and incorporate into their efforts.
This guide aims to inform litigators about various strategies to defend and gain relief for individual clients burdened by criminal justice debt. It also serves to foster communication and understanding among stakeholders who work in this particular area of the justice system.