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|State||Citation||Description/Statute Name||Question||Brief answer||Language from the opinion||When does the case apply?|
|Mississippi||1981 WL 39784 (Miss.A.G.); Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-20 (2)||Mississippi-Attorney General opinion||Does allowing different municipalities to set their own indigency standards or fines/fees violate the equal protection afforded by the state’s constitution?||apparently not, because judges rule on indigency on a case-by-case basis||
In the event an indigent is unable to pay his fine, a justice court judge may rely upon Section 99-19-20 of the Mississippi Code, 1972 , as amended, as an+ See more
alternative procedure in working with indigents.
|Ability to pay|
|Mississippi||1994 WL 497828 (Miss.A.G.)||Mississippi-Attorney General opinion||Which fines and/or fees may be collected by a private vendor?||Any kind of fine or fee, at least for municipalities.||
Section 21-17-l, Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended, provides that a “. . .municipality may contract with a private attorney or privatecollection agent or agency to collect any type of delinquent payment owed to the municipality including, but+ See more
not limited to, past due feesand fines.”
|Mississippi||1996 WL 224005 (Miss.A.G.)||Mississippi-Attorney General opinion||What authority do county or municipal courts have to set fines or fees?||The court has the authority to impose "reasonable" fees for costs incurred by the court system.||In response, see the Primeaux opinion which states that Mississippi Code Annotated Section 21-23-7(11) allows a municipal court to impose reasonable costs of court which could include a service of process fee.||Fines and fees|
|Mississippi||1996 WL 369442 (Miss.A.G.)||Mississippi-Attorney General opinion||Other applicable opinions||Court costs that are statutorily mandated must be collected from defendant by the country clerk, whether a judge decides to impose them or not.||
In response, we direct your attention to Mississippi Code Annotated Section 99-19-73 (Supp. 1995), which sets forth the standard state monetary assessments for criminal violations. Specifically, subsection (7) states: If a+ See more
fine or other penalty imposed is suspended, in whole or in part, such suspension shall not affect the state assessment under this section. No state assessment imposed under the provisions of this section may be suspended or reduced by the court. Based on the above quoted statute, the state assessment court costs are collected by the clerk of the court regardless of whether the judge imposes them or not. There are several statutorily imposed fees or costs which are to be collected regardless of whether the judge imposes them or not, e.g. Mississippi Code Annotated Section 19-7-31 allows the boards of supervisors to impose a court cost for the support of a public county law library in their respective counties. This court cost is automatically assessed regardless of whether the judge imposes it or not. Also, upon conviction for writing a bad check, Section 97-19-67(4) directs the court to impose a fee in the amount of up to 85% of the face value of a bad check in addition to any other fine, fee, cost or penalty imposed by the judge. Section 37-26-9(4) imposes a supplemental court education and training cost in all criminal cases where a fine of $10 or more is imposed by the judge. The general rule is that if the cost is statutorily imposed, there is no need for the judge to impose the cost. However, from time to time, a court cost may be incurred in which there is no statutory imposition. In such a case it is within the judge's discretion to impose such a court cost on the defendant.
|South Carolina||S.C.A.G. Oct. 8, 2012 (informal opinion)||Civil contempt||
Are the same procedural protections that are required in criminal proceedings required in civil collection/contempt proceedings arising from criminal justice debt when those proceedings may result in incarceration? What if+ See more
the proceedings may only result in additional fines or non-incarceration penalties?
|No - the rationale for punishment based on contempt proceedings rather than criminal proceedings is different||
The principal purpose of criminal contempt is punishment. In civil contempt, however, the contemnors "carry the keys of prison in their own pockets" as the contempt serves to secure "compliance+ See more
with judicial decrees." 287 S.E.2d at 919. The Court concluded that "[t]he conditional nature of the imprisonment, based entirely upon appellant's refusal to pay respondent's expenses, justified the civil contempt proceeding without a jury trial.
|South Carolina||S.C.A.G. July 15, 1996 (informal opinion)||Setting fees||Does allowing different municipalities to set their own indigency standards or fines/fees violate the equal protection afforded by the state’s constitution?||Not answered as to indigency - however, municipalities cannot set their own fees not in accordance with State statutes||
it is the opinion of this Office that all fee schedules used in the various counties based upon ordinances and special statutes are unconstitutional and that the only fee schedule+ See more
available for the services enumerated is to be found under South Carolina Code Section 27-53 (1976) [replaced by Act No. 164 of 1979]
|Fines and fees|
|South Carolina||Robert L. McCrudy, S.C.A.G. Dec. 14, 1999 (informal opinion)||Collection by private vendor||Which fines and/or fees may be collected by a private vendor?||Collection of criminal fines and fees are the job of the magistrate||
With respect to the physical collection and handling ofpublic monies such as fines, restitution, etc. such should be done exclusively by the court and its officers rather than by the+ See more
company, in the absence of legislative authorization therefore.
|South Carolina||1987 S.C. Op. Att'y Gen. 255 (1987)||Bearden||Should ability to pay be considered when imposing fines or fees or only when collecting fines or fees?||Not answered - however, cannot implement a surcharge if defendant fails to pay fee||
In the circumstances where an indigent fails to comply with the schedule of payments established by the court and the court determines that the indigent has wilfully refused to pay+ See more
or failed to make bona fide efforts to pay, the court is authorized to imprison the defendant for contempt. As provided in Section 17–25–350, where part of the fine has been paid, the imprisonment cannot exceed the remaining pro rata portion of the sentence. I am unaware of any basis for a court to impose a fine in addition to the sentence originally imposed.
|Ability to pay|
|South Carolina||1978 S.C. Op. Att'y Gen. 140 (1978)||South Carolina-Attorney General opinion||What authority do county or municipal courts have to set fines or fees?||By implication, they may set fees at least as far as reimbursement for public defense||
Since the Defense of Indigents Act, supra, does not prohibit the municipal court from ordering reimbursement as a condition of suspended sentences and since such orders are not generally unconstitutional+ See more
or improper, it is the opinion of this Office that certain municipal courts may order as a condition of a suspended sentence, a convicted indigent defendant to reimburse the Judicial Department for the costs of his representation by a public defender, pursuant to Section 17–3–40 of the Code of Laws.