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AB-412 Courts: civil assessments.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/17/2017 04:00 AM
AB412:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 16, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 412


Introduced by Assembly Member Ting

February 09, 2017


An act to amend Section 1214.1 of the Penal Code, relating to court fines and fees.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 412, as amended, Ting. Courts: civil assessments.
Existing law authorizes the court, in addition to any other penalty in an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony case, to impose a civil assessment of up to $300 against any defendant who fails, after notice and without good cause, to appear in court for any proceeding authorized by law, or who fails to pay all or any portion of a fine ordered by the court or to pay an installment of bail, as specified. Existing law provides that the assessment shall not become effective until at least 20 calendar days after the court mails a warning notice to the defendant, and requires the court, if the defendant appears within the time specified in the notice and shows good cause for the failure to appear or for the failure to pay a fine or installment of bail, to vacate the assessment.
This bill would provide that the assessment shall not become effective until at least 60 days after the court mails a warning notice to the defendant. The bill would require the court to vacate a civil assessment if the underlying charge is dismissed, refund any payments made by a defendant towards that assessment, and terminate any collection action. The bill would require the court to vacate a civil assessment imposed pursuant to those provisions, if the defendant certifies that he or she had good cause to not appear or not pay a fine, or is unable to pay the assessment. The bill would define good cause for this purpose. The bill would also require a court to allow a defendant to file a motion to vacate a civil assessment at any time. Finally, the bill would require the court to include a form to petition the court to vacate a civil assessment with any notice of or request to pay the civil assessment.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1214.1 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

1214.1.
 (a) In addition to any other penalty in infraction, misdemeanor, or felony cases, the court may impose a civil assessment of up to three hundred dollars ($300) against a defendant who fails, who, after notice and without good cause, fails to appear in court for a proceeding authorized by law or who fails to pay all or any portion of a fine ordered by the court or to pay an installment of bail as agreed to under Section 40510.5 of the Vehicle Code. This assessment shall be deposited in the Trial Court Trust Fund, as provided in Section 68085.1 of the Government Code.
(b) (1) The assessment imposed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not become effective until at least 20 60 calendar days after the court mails a warning notice to the defendant by first-class mail to the address shown on the notice to appear or to the defendant’s last known address. If the defendant appears within the time specified in the notice and shows good cause for the failure to appear or for the failure to pay a fine or installment of bail, the court shall vacate the assessment.
(2) Payment of bail, fines, penalties, fees, or a civil assessment shall not be required in order for the court to vacate the assessment. assessment. Payment of a civil assessment shall not be required to schedule a court hearing on a pending underlying charge.
(3) If the underlying charge is dismissed, the court shall vacate the assessment, refund any funds deposited by the defendant towards the assessment, and terminate any collection action, including any action initiated through a collection agency.
(c) If a civil assessment is imposed pursuant to subdivision (a), no bench warrant or warrant of arrest shall be issued with respect to the failure to appear at the proceeding for which the assessment is imposed or the failure to pay the fine or installment of bail. An outstanding, unserved bench warrant or warrant of arrest for a failure to appear or for a failure to pay a fine or installment of bail shall be recalled prior to the subsequent imposition of a civil assessment.
(d) The assessment imposed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be subject to the due process requirements governing defense and collection of civil money judgments generally.
(e) Each court and county shall maintain the collection program that was in effect on July 1, 2005, unless otherwise agreed to by the court and county. If a court and a county do not agree on a plan for the collection of civil assessments imposed pursuant to this section, or any other collections under Section 1463.010, after the implementation of Sections 68085.6 and 68085.7 of the Government Code, the court or the county may request arbitration by a third party mutually agreed upon by the Administrative Director of the Courts and the California State Association of Counties.
(f) (1) The court shall vacate an assessment imposed pursuant to subdivison subdivision (a), at adjudication, or while the judgment remains unpaid, including when a case is delinquent or has been referred to a comprehensive collection program, if a defendant establishes good cause for the underlying failure to appear or failure to pay, for which the assessment was imposed.
(2) A defendant seeking to have a civil assessment vacated pursuant to paragraph (1), shall petition the court to vacate the assessment and shall provide documentation to establish good cause or certify to the good cause circumstances under penalty of perjury. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, the following reasons:
(A) The defendant’s hospitalization or incapacitation.
(B) The defendant’s incarceration.
(C) The defendant’s required military duty.
(D) The death or hospitalization of the defendant’s dependent or immediate family member.
(E) The defendant’s inability to pay.
(F) Any other extraordinary reason, beyond the defendant’s control, that prevented the defendant from making an appearance or payment on or before the date listed on the notice to appear.

(3)The court shall vacate an assessment imposed pursuant to subdivison (a), at adjudication, or while the judgment remains unpaid, including when a case is delinquent or has been referred to a comprehensive collection program, if a defendant is unable to pay the civil assessment.

(4)A defendant seeking to have a civil assessment vacated pursuant to paragraph (3), shall petition the court to vacate the assessment and shall provide documentation of, or certify under the penalty of perjury, his or her inability to pay.

(5)

(3) A defendant who petitions the court to vacate their civil assessment pursuant to subparagraph (F) (E) of paragraph (2), or pursuant to paragraph (3) (2) must be indigent, homeless, or be a full-time or part-time student receiving financial aid.

(6)

(4) For purposes of this subdivision, a defendant is considered indigent if he or she meet meets any of the following criteria:
(A) Has a net income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level by family size.
(B) Is receiving public benefits under one or more of the following programs:
(i) California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act (CalWORKs) (Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code) or a federal Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF) grant program (Section 10553.25 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(ii) CalFresh, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Chapter 51 (commencing with Section 2011) of Title 7 of the United States Code) or the California Food Assistance Program (Chapter 10.1 (commencing with Section 18930) of Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(iii) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and State Supplementary Payment (SSP) (Article 5 (commencing with Section 12200) of Chapter 3 of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(iv) State Disability Insurance (SDI).
(v) Cash Assistance Program for Aged, Blind, and Disabled Legal Immigrants (CAPI) (Chapter 10.3 (commencing with Section 18937) of Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(vi)  In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) (Article 7 (commencing with Section 12300) of Chapter 3 of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(vii) County Relief, General Relief (GR), or General Assistance (GA) (Part 5 (commencing with Section 17000) of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(viii) Medi-Cal (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(ix) Extended foster care benefits.
(x) Child care assistance administered by the State Department of Education.
(xi) Unemployment Insurance.
(xii) Health care provided under Part 5 of Division 9 (commencing with Section 17000) of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(C) Is unable, as determined by the court, to pay the relevant fine, fee fee, or assessment without using money that would pay for the common necessities of life for the defendant and his or her family.
(5) For purposes of this subdivision, a defendant is considered homeless if he or she meets any of the following criteria:
(A) Meets the definition of homeless provided in Section 16523 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(B) Would become homeless upon exiting a publicly funded institution or system of care including, but not limited to, a hospital, skilled nursing facility, mental health facility, jail, or prison.

(7)

(6) A court shall allow a defendant to file a petition to vacate the civil assessment at any time, including at adjudication, while the judgment remains unpaid, when a case is delinquent or when the case has been referred to a comprehensive collection program.

(8)

(7) Any notice sent to a defendant by the court that includes a request for payment of a civil assessment shall also include a petition to file to vacate a civil assessment.