Ability to Pay

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State Statute Description/Statute Name Statutory language Level of offense Definition of ability to pay Timeline Burden of proof Method of determination Mandatory Remedies if unable to pay
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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-101(b)(2) Assault - Domestic Abuse
if the relationship between the defendant and the victim of the assault is such that the victim is a domestic abuse victim as defined in § 36-3-601, and if, as
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determined by the court, the defendant possesses the ability to pay a fine in an amount not in excess of two hundred dollars ($200), then the court shall impose a fine at the level of the defendant's ability to pay, but not in excess of two hundred dollars ($200).
Misdemeanor

No definition of ability to pay is provided. However, in imposing fines, courts must consider the defendant's ability to pay, prior criminal history, potential for rehabilitation, financial means, and other

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mitigating and enhancing factors.

Before imposition of fine or fee Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing Yes

Imposition of a lower fee

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-102(e)(2) Aggravated Assault - Domestic Abuse
In addition to any other punishment that may be imposed for a violation of this section, if the relationship between the defendant and the victim of the assault is such
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that the victim is a domestic abuse victim as defined in § 36-3-601, and if, as determined by the court, the defendant possesses the ability to pay a fine in an amount not in excess of two hundred dollars ($200), then the court shall impose a fine at the level of the defendant's ability to pay, but not in excess of two hundred dollars ($200).
All

No definition of ability to pay is provided. However, in imposing fines, courts must consider the defendant's ability to pay, prior criminal history, potential for rehabilitation, financial means, and other

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mitigating and enhancing factors.

Before imposition of fine or fee Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing Yes

Imposition of a lower fee

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-111(c)(5) Domestic Assault - Additional Fee
In addition to any other punishment that may be imposed for a violation of this section, if, as determined by the court, the defendant possesses the ability to pay a
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fine in an amount not in excess of two hundred twenty-five dollars ($225), then the court shall impose a fine at the level of the defendant's ability to pay, but not in excess of two hundred twenty-five dollars ($225).
All

No definition of ability to pay is provided. However, in imposing fines, courts must consider the defendant's ability to pay, prior criminal history, potential for rehabilitation, financial means, and other

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mitigating and enhancing factors.

Before imposition of fine or fee Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing Yes

Imposition of a lower fee

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-709(e) Sex Offender Conviction Tax
The court may waive all or any portion of the tax required by this section if the court finds that a person convicted of a sex offense is indigent or
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financially unable to pay.
All

No definition of ability to pay is provided. However, in imposing fines, courts must consider the defendant's ability to pay, prior criminal history, potential for rehabilitation, financial means, and other

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mitigating and enhancing factors.

Not provided for Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing No

Reduction or waiver of the fee

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-428(d) Fines and Penalties; Mandatory Minimums; Allocation
(1) Unless the judge, using the applicable criteria set out in § 40-14-202(c), determines that a person convicted of violating this section is indigent, or that payment of the minimum
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fine would result in a severe economic hardship, or such fine would otherwise not be in the interests of justice, the minimum fines imposed by this section shall be mandatory and shall not be reduced, suspended, waived or otherwise released by the court. No plea agreement shall be accepted by a court if the agreement attempts to reduce or suspend all or any portion of the mandatory fines imposed by this section unless the judge determines that one (1) of the conditions set out in the first sentence of this subdivision (d)(1) exists.(2) If the judge of a court of general sessions determines that it is necessary to reduce, suspend, waive or otherwise release the minimum fines imposed by this section, the judge shall assess the fine, and write on the warrant the amount of the fine, the fact that it is reduced, suspended, waived or released and the reasons for the reduction, suspension, waiver or release. If done by the judge of a court of record, the judge shall assess the fine and make a specific finding of fact on the record relative to the reduction, suspension, waiver or release and the reasons for the reduction, suspension, waiver or release.
All

No definition of ability to pay is provided. However, in imposing fines, courts must consider the defendant's ability to pay, prior criminal history, potential for rehabilitation, financial means, and other

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mitigating and enhancing factors.

Not provided for Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing Yes

Reduction or waiver of the fee

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-305(b) Sexual Offender Fee
The department may waive all or any portion of the fees required by this section if it determines that an offender is indigent or financially unable to pay all or
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any portion of the fee. The department shall waive only that portion of the surcharge which the offender is financially unable to pay.
All

No definition of ability to pay is provided. However, in imposing fines, courts must consider the defendant's ability to pay, prior criminal history, potential for rehabilitation, financial means, and other

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mitigating and enhancing factors.

Not provided for Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing No

Reduction or waiver of the fee

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-2-128(5) Prisoners who may apply for release -- Procedure.
(5)(A) The judge shall, at the time of sentencing, cause the sentencing order to reflect the defendant's cost of incarceration and treatment and shall affix to the order, taking into
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consideration the defendant's ability to pay, the time and manner in which the costs are to be paid. The court shall enter the necessary orders requiring that the costs of incarceration and treatment be paid or secured, including, but not limited to, orders of probation that include, as a condition thereof, the payment of costs covered by this subdivision (c)(5).(B) When a defendant alleges inability to pay pursuant to the terms set out by the order, the defendant may petition the court for modification as to the terms of payment. When it is determined that the defendant is unable to pay the entirety of the costs covered by this subdivision (c)(5) in the time and manner imposed by the court, any costs imposed against the defendant shall be pursuant to a schedule promulgated by the chief administrative officer of the county, or the officer's designee, with the schedule to be based upon the defendant's ability to pay the same.(C) In promulgating the schedule governing costs and the amount thereof to be paid by the defendant, the chief administrative officer of the county, or the officer's designee, shall consider the defendant's ability to pay and the disbursement schedule set forth in § 41-2-129 and shall incorporate payments ordered in this subsection (c) into the schedule.(D) In no event shall a person be denied access to this program or be denied discharge from incarceration as a result of that person's inability to pay.
All Not provided for Not provided for Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Not provided for Yes

Reduction or waiver of the fee

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-21-401(m) Fees for particular services
(m) Indigent parties. No clerk shall be permitted to collect any fee authorized by this section without permitting any person the opportunity to institute a cause of action by means
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of a pauper's oath, in accordance with Rule 29 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
All Not provided for At enforcement of fine or fee Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Not provided for Yes

Not specified

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-15-105(a)(2)(F) Memoranda of Understanding
(a)(2) Prosecution of the defendant shall not be suspended unless the parties in the memorandum of understanding also agree that the defendant observe one (1) or more of the following
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conditions during the period in which the prosecution is suspended: . . . (F) That the defendant pay, in addition to the payment of ten dollars ($10.00) per month required by this section, any or all additional costs of the defendant's supervision, counseling or treatment in a specified manner based upon the defendant's ability to pay;
All Not provided for Not provided for Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Not provided for Yes

Reduction or waiver of the fee

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-24-104 Nonpayment; Crimes and Offenses
(a) If the defendant fails to pay the fine as directed, or is unable to pay the fine and so represents upon application to the court, the court, after inquiring
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into and making further investigation, if any, which it may deem necessary with regard to the defendant's financial and family situation and the reasons for nonpayment of the fine, including whether the nonpayment was contumacious or was due to indigency, may enter any order that it could have entered under § 40-24-101, or may reduce the fine to an amount that the defendant is able to pay, or may direct that the defendant be imprisoned until the fine, or any portion of it, remaining unpaid or remaining undischarged after a pro rata credit for any time that may already have been served in lieu of payments, is paid. The court shall determine and specify, in the light of defendant's situation and means and of defendant's conduct with regard to the nonpayment of the fine, the period of any imprisonment in default of payment of the fine within the limits of the penalties for a Class C misdemeanor.(b) Whenever a court orders a defendant to pay a fine, imposed as a result of a traffic violation, in installment payments, the court shall revoke the defendant's privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state upon the failure of the defendant to comply with the order of the court. If the defendant's privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been revoked for the failure to comply with the court order, the privilege shall remain so revoked until the total amount of the fine imposed is paid.
All

No definition of ability to pay is provided. However, in imposing fines, courts must consider the defendant's ability to pay, prior criminal history, potential for rehabilitation, financial means, and other

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mitigating and enhancing factors.

At enforcement of fine or fee Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing No

A reduction of a fine or any other alternative mechanism available to the court

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Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-24-105(c) Stay of License Revocation
A person who is unable to pay any portion of assessed litigation taxes, court costs, and fines may apply one (1) time to the court having original jurisdiction over the
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offense for an order staying the revocation of the license issued under title 55. An order to stay the revocation of the license shall be granted if the court finds that the person would experience extreme hardship from the revocation of the license and that no other means of transportation are reasonably available to the person. Grounds for finding of extreme hardship are limited to travel necessary for:(i) Employment; or (ii) Serious illness of the person or an immediate family member. (B) The offender seeking a hardship exception shall make application to the court in the form of a sworn affidavit stating with particularity the grounds and circumstances of hardship. The court may enter a one-time stay for a period of not longer than one hundred and eighty (180) days. The court clerk shall promptly notify the commissioner of safety of the issuance or termination of any stay of revocation. The commissioner of safety shall not revoke any license under this subsection (b) while the stay is in effect. (4) A person who is unable to pay all of the assessed litigation taxes, court costs, and fines but is able to pay some of them on a monthly or weekly basis may apply to the court having original jurisdiction over the offense for an order setting up a payment plan for such taxes, costs and fines. If the person and court agree to such a weekly or monthly payment plan, the court shall so order and such order shall have the effect of staying the revocation of the license pursuant to this subsection (b). The order staying the revocation of license shall remain in effect for as long as the person is current and in compliance with the payment plan. If the person fails to make payments according to the plan for three (3) consecutive months without good cause, the court may revoke the order and notify the clerk. The court clerk shall promptly notify the commissioner of safety of the issuance or termination of any stay of revocation. The commissioner of safety shall not revoke pursuant to this subsection (b) while the stay is in effect. (5) The revocation provided in this subsection (b) is cumulative and does not limit or otherwise affect any license revocation pursuant to title 39, title 55, or any other law. (6) Nothing in this subsection (b) shall be construed to apply to any license issued pursuant to title 55, chapter 17. (c) The district attorney general or the county or municipal attorney, as applicable, may, in that person's discretion, and shall, upon order of the court, institute proceedings to collect the fine, costs and litigation taxes as a civil judgment..
All

No definition of ability to pay is provided. However, in imposing fines, courts must consider the defendant's ability to pay, prior criminal history, potential for rehabilitation, financial means, and other

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mitigating and enhancing factors.

At enforcement of fine or fee Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing No

A stay rather than immediate suspension of license

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-355 Petition of defendant
(a) In determining whether the defendant is unable to pay such fine forthwith, the court may require such defendant to file a petition, under oath, with the court, upon a
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form provided by the court, setting forth the financial condition of the defendant. (b) Such form shall be a questionnaire, and shall include, but shall not be limited to: the name and residence of the defendant; his occupation, if any; his family status and the number of persons dependent upon him; his monthly income; whether or not his dependents are employed and, if so, their approximate monthly income; his banking accounts, if any; real estate owned by the defendant, or any interest he may have in real estate; income produced therefrom; any independent income accruing to the defendant; tangible and intangible personal property owned by the defendant, or in which he may have an interest; and a statement listing the approximate indebtedness of the defendant to other persons. Such form shall also include a payment plan of the defendant, if the court should exercise its discretion in permitting the payment of such fine and costs in installments or other conditions to be fixed by the court.
All Not provided for Before imposition of fine or fee Not provided for Not provided for No

permitting the payment of such fine and costs in installments or other conditions to be fixed by the court

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-358(C) Show cause hearing on default
B. Following the order to show cause or following a capias issued for a defendant's failure to comply with a court order to appear issued pursuant to subsection A of
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§ 19.2-354, unless the defendant shows that his default was not attributable to an intentional refusal to obey the sentence of the court, or not attributable to a failure on his part to make a good faith effort to obtain the necessary funds for payment, or unless the defendant shows that any failure to appear was not attributable to an intentional refusal to obey the order of the court, the court may order the defendant confined as for a contempt for a term not to exceed sixty days or impose a fine not to exceed $500. The court may provide in its order that payment or satisfaction of the amounts in default at any time will entitle the defendant to his release from such confinement or, after entering the order, may at any time reduce the sentence for good cause shown, including payment or satisfaction of such amounts. C. If it appears that the default is excusable under the standards set forth in subsection B hereof, the court may enter an order allowing the defendant additional time for payment, reducing the amount due or of each installment, or remitting the unpaid portion in whole or in part.
All Not provided for At enforcement of fine or fee Burden on defendant to show inability to pay Determined by judge after hearing No

additional time for payment, reducing the amount due or of each installment, or remitting the unpaid portion in whole or in part

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-363 Authority of Governor to grant relief from fines and penalties in case of deceased defendant
provided, that when the party against whom the fine or penalty has been imposed and judgment rendered therefor has departed this life leaving a spouse or children surviving, the Governor
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may remit such fine or penalty upon the certificate of the judge of the circuit court of the county or city wherein such fine or penalty was imposed and judgment rendered, that to enforce the same against the estate, real or personal, of the decedent, would impose hardship upon the spouse or children
All

would impose hardship upon the spouse or children

At defendant's request at enforcement Not provided for Determined by judge after hearing No

remittance

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-299.2(C) Local alcohol safety action program - ability to pay
If the referral is to the local alcohol safety action program, the program may charge a fee for the education and intervention component, or both, not to exceed $300, based
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upon the defendant's ability to pay.
All Not provided for Not provided for Not provided for Not provided for Yes

Not specified

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 53.1-150.1 Substance abuse treatment as condition of parole - exemptions
Any person who is granted parole and who is required to receive substance abuse treatment as a condition of parole shall contribute towards the cost of such treatment based upon
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his ability to pay, as established pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Board of Corrections. The regulations shall provide that (i) any fees collected for such treatment shall be paid directly to the service provider and (ii) any person may be exempt from the payment of such fees on the grounds of unreasonable hardship.
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unreasonable hardship

Before imposition of fine or fee Not provided for Administrative decision Yes

exemption from payment of fees

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-57.3(D) Education/treatment program sliding scale fee structure
The court shall require the person entering such education or treatment program or services under the provisions of this section to pay all or part of the costs of the
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program or services, including the costs of any assessment, evaluation, testing, education and treatment, based upon the person's ability to pay. Such programs or services shall offer a sliding-scale fee structure or other mechanism to assist participants who are unable to pay the full costs of the required programs or services.
All Not provided for Before imposition of fine or fee Not provided for Not provided for Yes

sliding scale fee structure

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-251 Program costs - ability to pay
The court shall require the person entering such program under the provisions of this section to pay all or part of the costs of the program, including the costs of
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the screening, assessment, testing, and treatment, based upon the accused's ability to pay unless the person is determined by the court to be indigent.
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Indigence

Before imposition of fine or fee Not provided for Other Yes

exemption from payment of fees

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-251.01(A) Education fee - based upon ability to pay
The services agency or program may require the person entering such program or services under the provisions of this section to pay a fee for the education and treatment component,
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or both, based upon the defendant's ability to pay.
Felony Not provided for Before imposition of fine or fee Not provided for Not provided for Yes

Not specified

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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-258.1(H) Program costs - indigency
The court shall require the person entering such program under the provisions of this section to pay all or part of the costs of the program, including the costs of
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the screening, evaluation, testing and education, based upon the person's ability to pay unless the person is determined by the court to be indigent.
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Indigence

Before imposition of fine or fee Not provided for Other Yes

exemption from payment of fees