Keyword search across all of the laws in the states. Subject-area tabs above allow you to narrow results. Click the advanced search for further refinement.
Every law can be saved to the Reform Builder
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).
|Indiana||2003 Ind. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2 (Jan. 31, 2003)||RE: Local Ordinances and State Laws||What authority do county or municipal courts have to set fines or fees?||Cities and towns may not enact local ordinances similar to state laws in order to generate revenue||
The Home Rule Act expressly prohibits local units of government from adopting local ordinances which assign a penalty for an act that constitutes a crime or infraction under state statute.+ See more
A state statute must be evaluated to determine if the statute deals comprehensively with a subject matter; local ordinances might not be preempted if a state statute does not deal comprehensively with a subject matter and there is room for supplemental local regulation. However, a city or town may not enact a local ordinance where there is an existing state statute dealing comprehensively with the subject matter and local law is considered preempted by state law.
|Indiana||2010 Ind. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 1 (May 12, 2010)||Re: Civil Forfeitures and the Common School Fund||Other applicable opinions||Civil forfeitures are not committed to the common school funds like criminal fines and fees under the state constitution||
It is our opinion that Article 8, § 2 of the state constitution does not apply to forfeiture actions brought under Ind. Code ch. 34-24-1. Article 8 of the Indiana+ See more
Constitution provides for the funding of the common school fund, part of which is derived “from the fines assessed for breaches of the penal laws of the State; and from all forfeitures which may accrue.” Art. 8, § 2. A proceeding under Indiana's forfeiture law is civil in nature, and it is only fines and forfeitures from criminal proceedings that must be paid into the common school fund.
|North Carolina||N.C.A.G. Mar. 21, 1996||RE: Advisory Opinion; Exceptions to Statutory Exemptions for Execution of Judgment on Criminal Restitution Orders||Other applicable opinions||North Carolina is not barred from structuring a program to collect costs; however, the state's initiatives, must be narrowly drawn so as to avoid chilling the indigent's right to counsel||
North Carolina [is not] barred from structuring a program to collect the amount it is owed from a financially-able defendant through reasonable and fairly administered procedures. The state's initiatives in+ See more
this area naturally must be narrowly drawn to avoid either chilling the indigent's exercise of the right to counsel, or creating discriminating terms of repayment based solely on the defendant's poverty. Beyond these threshold requirements, however, the State has wide latitude to shape its attorneys fees recoupment or restitution program along the lines it deems most appropriate for achieving lawful state objectives. Id. at 123-124. (emphasis added.)
|North Carolina||N.C.A.G. June 10, 1980||Criminal Law and Procedure; Sentences; Probation; Restitution; Bankruptcy Proceedings||Person who received illegal gains as a part of criminal activity may not discharge legal financial obligations in bankruptcy||
It would thus be against our statute and public policy to permit a defendant who has received illegal gains and who was ordered to make restitution as a condition of+ See more
his sentence to vacate such conditions by a discharge in bankruptcy." People v. Mosesson, 356 N.Y.S. 2d 483, 484-85, (1974). See also: People on Inf. of Anerbach v. Topping Bros., 359 N.Y.S. 2d 985 (1974).