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AB-927 Crimes: fines and fees: defendant’s ability to pay.(2019-2020)



Current Version: 09/13/19 - Enrolled         Compare Versions information image


AB927:v96#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  September 13, 2019
Passed  IN  Senate  September 05, 2019
Passed  IN  Assembly  September 10, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  August 30, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 27, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 927


Introduced by Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer

February 20, 2019


An act to add Section 19.5 to the Penal Code, relating to crimes.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 927, Jones-Sawyer. Crimes: fines and fees: defendant’s ability to pay.
Existing law requires or authorizes a court to impose various fines, fees, and assessments on criminal defendants, including fines assessed as a penalty for a crime, restitution fines, and fees and assessments for the support and maintenance of the courts, as specified.
This bill would require a court imposing a fine, fee, or assessment related to a criminal or juvenile proceeding involving a misdemeanor or a felony to make a finding, as specified, that the defendant or minor has the ability to pay, as defined. The bill would require that a defendant or minor be presumed to not have the ability to pay if the defendant or minor is homeless, lives in a shelter, or lives in a transitional living facility, receives need-based public assistance, is very low income, or is sentenced to state prison for an indeterminate term or a term of life without the possibility of parole. The bill would also specify factors establishing inability to pay, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 19.5 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

19.5.
 (a) Except for an order of victim restitution, whenever a provision of this code or any other law requires or authorizes imposition of a fine, fee, or assessment related to a criminal or juvenile proceeding involving a misdemeanor or felony, prior to imposition, the court shall make a finding, based on a contested hearing or on stipulation of counsel, that the defendant or minor has the ability to pay. In making the finding, the court may rely on any relevant credible evidence, including, but not limited to, information provided in a report from the probation department.
(b) “Ability to pay” means the overall capability of the defendant or minor to pay the court-ordered fines, fees, and assessments, or a portion thereof, without undue hardship.
(c) It shall be presumed that the defendant or minor does not have the ability to pay under any of the following circumstances:
(1) The defendant or minor is homeless, lives in a shelter, or lives in a transitional living facility.
(2) The defendant or minor receives need-based public assistance.
(3) The defendant or minor is very low income, as defined in Section 50105 of the Health and Safety Code.
(4) The defendant is sentenced to state prison for an indeterminate term or for a term of life without the possibility of parole.
(d) Other factors establishing inability to pay include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The defendant’s or minor’s present financial circumstances.
(2) Whether the defendant or minor is receiving any type of government benefits, including means-tested benefits.
(3) Whether the defendant or minor was represented by court-appointed counsel.
(4) The defendant’s or minor’s reasonably discernible future financial circumstances, taking into consideration the imposed term of incarceration.
(5) The likelihood that the defendant or minor will be able to obtain employment within a six-month period from the date of the court’s consideration of the issue.
(6) The amount of victim restitution ordered, if any.
(7) Any other factor that may bear upon the defendant’s or minor’s inability to pay.
(e) The prosecution shall bear the burden of rebutting the presumption that the defendant or minor does not have the ability to pay.