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Below are the attorney general opinions that meet your search criteria.
|State||Citation||Description/Statute Name||Question||Brief answer||Language from the opinion||When does the case apply?|
|California||65 Cal. Op. Att'y Gen. 581 (1982)||"May a penalty assessment be levied against a criminal defendant who does not have a present ability to pay such assessment?"||
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?
Indigent defendants cannot be imprisoned solely because they cannot pay a penalty. However, when indigent defendants refuse or fail to meet the terms of an alternative option, they can be+ See more
imprisoned, as the court sees them the same as a non-indigent defendant.
The effect of Antazo was to bar a trial judge from sending a defendant to jail or prison solely because he was unable to pay the monetary penalty. (In re+ See more
Siegel (1975) 45 Cal.App.3d 843, 846.) However, as Antazo makes clear, such a penalty may nevertheless be imposed upon an indigent in certain circumstances (3 Cal.3d 100, 116):‘[O]ur holding is simply that an indigent who would pay his fine if he could, must be given an option comparable to an offender who is not indigent. When the indigent offender refuses to avail himself of such alternatives at the inception, or defaults or otherwise fails to meet the conditions of the particular alternative which is offered him without a showing of reasonable excuse, the indigent offender becomes in the eyes of the court exactly the same as the contumacious offender who is not indigent. When either of these conditions obtain the offender's indigency ceases to be dispositive and he may, consistently with the mandate of the equal protection clause, be relegated to ‘working out’ his fine by imprisonment.' 65 Cal. Op. Att'y Gen. 581 (1982).
|Ability to pay|
|California||66 Cal. Op. Att'y Gen. 440 (1983).||Personal use of fines and fees prohibited||Under what circumstances does a conflict of interest in the imposition or enforcement of court debt violate state law?||Judges cannot receive fines or fees for personal use.||
Article VI, section 17, of the California Constitution, provides: “A judge of a court of record may not practice law and during the term for which the judge was selected+ See more
is ineligible for public employment or public office other than judicial employment or judicial office. A judge of the superior or municipal court may, however, become eligible for election to other public office by taking a leave of absence without pay prior to filing a declaration of candidacy. Acceptance of the public office is a resignation from the office of judge. “A judicial officer may not receive fines or fees for personal use.” 66 Cal. Op. Att'y Gen. 440 (1983).
|Pennsylvania||10 Pa. D. & C. 390, 392 (1927)||Pennsylvania-Attorney General opinion||What authority do county or municipal courts have to set fines or fees?||Counties and cities may pass ordinances regulating traffic and may provide financial penalties||
It is, therefore, the opinion of this department that cities, boroughs, incorporated towns and townships may lawfully pass ordinances providing for the regulation of traffic by means of traffic officers,+ See more
semaphores, traffic-control lights or other signaling devices on any portion of the highways within their proper jurisdiction where traffic is heavy or continuous. In such cases, the municipal law-making bodies are to be the judges as to where such traffic policemen, semaphores or other signaling devices or traffic control lights shall be maintained. In addition, such municipalities may regulate or prohibit parking or prohibit other than one-way traffic upon certain highways within their respective jurisdiction, and they may regulate the use of highways by processions or assemblages. In such ordinances, the penalties provided may be a fine of not more than fifty ($50) dollars, to be collected by summary conviction in the manner provided by section 1216 of the act. Such fines belong to the municipality for the construction, repair and maintenance of the highways thereof.
|Fines and fees|
|Pennsylvania||14 Pa. D. & C. 205, 207 (1930)||Pennsylvania-Attorney General opinion||Other applicable opinions||
1. In Philadelphia, if fines or penalties are collected by magistrates, your department does not have either the power or the duty to demand that they be turned over to you for+ See more
payment into the State Treasury. Such fines and penalties are clearly payable to the County of Philadelphia. However, we desire to point out, parenthetically, that magistrates may collect fines and penalties only if and when the legislature has expressly given them jurisdiction to do so. Otherwise, they can merely hold the defendants for trial in the Quarter Sessions or other criminal courts of record. 2. On the other hand, fines and penalties collected by the courts of record in Philadelphia are payable into the State Treasury through your department, if there is legislation distinctly providing that the fines shall be paid into the State Treasury. 3. Outside of Philadelphia, your department has authority to collect for payment into the State Treasury any fines or penalties, whether imposed by courts of record or courts not of record, in all cases in which the legislature has provided that such fines and penalties shall be paid into the State Treasury. However, in the absence of specific direction to this effect, the fines and penalties are payable into the respective county treasuries, if they were collected by the criminal as distinguished from the civil courts. 4. In all cases in which fines and penalties are collected by administrative agencies of the state government without any specific direction by the legislature as to the disposition to be made of the moneys collected, it is the duty of your department to collect the amounts of the fines and penalties and pay them into the State Treasury. 5. Whenever penalties are imposed by law and the collection thereof is committed to either the Department of Justice or any other administrative agency of the state government and such penalties are collected by civil suit, the amounts recovered are payable into the State Treasury, whether or not the act imposing the penalties specifically so provides. There is neither constitutional nor statutory provision to the contrary, and the rule which prevails in the absence of specific direction to the contrary is that moneys collected by a state department, with or without the aid of the civil courts, is payable into the State Treasury.
|Fines and fees|
|Virginia||2000 Va. Op. Att'y. Gen. (2000)||Costs and fines dischargeable in bankruptcy||Other applicable opinions||
"Criminal costs, which may or may not be contingent upon sentence but are associated with conviction, and traffic fines are nondischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. Debt for restitution or+ See more
criminal fine included in criminal sentence is nondischargeable in Chapter 13 bankruptcy; criminal fines not contingent upon sentence, traffic fines arising from traffic infractions, and civil traffic fines are dischargeable in Chapter 13 bankruptcies."