Today's Law As Amended

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AB-351 Payment options for criminal fines and fees.(2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today


 Section 19.51 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

 (a) Except for an order of victim restitution, if a provision of this code or any other law requires or authorizes imposition of a fine, fee, or assessment related to a criminal proceeding or conviction, or juvenile proceeding involving a misdemeanor or felony, the defendant or ward shall be given the opportunity to pay the fine, fee, or assessment with a payment plan.
(b) The defendant or ward shall sign a written agreement to comply with the payment plan according to an installment schedule as agreed upon with the court.
(c) A judgment granting a payment plan shall order, if the defendant or ward fails to complete any payment plan or to make any installment on a payment plan on the date that it is due, that the defendant or ward may be required to appear in court for further proceedings and that a willful violation of the order is punishable as contempt.
(d) (1) The terms of a payment plan may require a defendant or ward to pay to the clerk of the court or the collecting agency a fee for the processing of installment accounts. This fee shall equal the administrative and clerical costs, as determined by the board of supervisors or by the court, except that the fee shall not exceed thirty-five dollars ($35).
(2) The court may offer a reduction of a fine, other than a fine imposed pursuant to Section 76104.6 of the Government Code, if the defendant or ward establishes a payment plan through autopayment linked to a valid bank account.
(3) The court shall not assess a fee for the use of a credit card transaction that exceeds the amount of the transaction fee charged to the court for the transaction and the court shall not impose a fee in excess of 10 percent of the amount of the payment.
(e) This section does not prohibit a court from converting a fine to jail time pursuant to Section 1205 or to community service pursuant to Section 1209.5, or affect the court’s duty, prior to imposing a fine, fee, or assessment, to evaluate the defendant’s or ward’s overall ability to pay the total fine, fee, or assessment, or any portion thereof, without undue hardship.
(f) The Judicial Council shall prescribe the form of the payment plan agreement and adopt Rules of Court to implement this section.
(g) For purposes of this paragraph, “payment plan” means a schedule for payments to be made within a specified time period or in specified installments to pay a court-ordered fine, fee, or assessment.
SEC. 2.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.