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|State||Citation||Description/Statute Name||Question||Brief answer||Language from the opinion||When does the case apply?|
|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.