Poverty Penalties and Poverty Traps

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State Statute Description/Statute Name Statutory language Type of poverty penalty or poverty trap Level of offense Mandatory
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2B:12-23 Community Service
a. A person, sentenced by a municipal court to pay a fine, who defaults in payment may be ordered to perform community service in lieu of incarceration or other modification
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of the sentence with the person's consent. b. The county or municipal official in charge of the community service program shall report to the municipal court any failure of a person subject to a court work order to report for work or to perform the assigned work. Upon receipt of the report, the court may revoke its community service order and impose any sentence consistent with the original sentence.
Community service All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2B:12-23.1 Community Service
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, if a municipal court finds that a person does not have the ability to pay a penalty in full on the date
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of the hearing or has failed to pay a previously imposed penalty, the court may order the person to perform community service in lieu of the payment of a penalty; or, order the payment of the penalty in installments for a period of time determined by the court. If a person defaults on any payment and a municipal court finds that the defendant does not have the ability to pay, the court may: (1) reduce the penalty, suspend the penalty, or modify the installment plan; (2) order that credit be given against the amount owed for each day of confinement, if the court finds that the person has served jail time for the default; (3) revoke any unpaid portion of the penalty, if the court finds that the circumstances that warranted the imposition have changed or that it would be unjust to require payment; (4) order the person to perform community service in lieu of payment of the penalty; or (5) impose any other alternative permitted by law in lieu of payment of the penalty. b. For the purposes of this section, “penalty” means any fine, statutorily-mandated assessment, surcharge or other financial penalty imposed by a municipal court, except restitution or a surcharge assessed pursuant to subsection f. of section 1 of P.L.2000, c. 75 (C.39:4-97.2).
Payment plan/installment plan All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:46-2 Consequences of Nonpayment
If the court finds that the person defaulted on payment of a court-imposed financial obligation, restitution, or child support or other support or maintenance ordered by a court without good cause and finds
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that the default was willful, the court may, in addition to the action required by paragraph (1) of this subsection a., impose a term of imprisonment or participation in a labor assistance program or enforced community service to achieve the objective of the court-imposed financial obligation, restitution, or child support or other support or maintenance ordered by a court. These options shall not reduce the amount owed by the person in default. The term of imprisonment or enforced community service or participation in a labor assistance program in such case shall be specified in the order of commitment. It need not be equated with any particular dollar amount but, in the case of a fine it shall not exceed one day for each $50 of the fine nor shall it exceed a period of 90 consecutive days. In no case shall the total period of imprisonment in the case of a disorderly persons offense for both the sentence of imprisonment and for failure to pay a fine exceed six months.
Incarceration All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:46-2 Consequences of Nonpayment
If the court finds that the person defaulted on payment of a court-imposed financial obligation, restitution, or child support or other support or maintenance ordered by a court without good cause and finds
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that the default was willful, the court may, in addition to the action required by paragraph (1) of this subsection a., impose a term of imprisonment or participation in a labor assistance program or enforced community service to achieve the objective of the court-imposed financial obligation, restitution, or child support or other support or maintenance ordered by a court. These options shall not reduce the amount owed by the person in default. The term of imprisonment or enforced community service or participation in a labor assistance program in such case shall be specified in the order of commitment. It need not be equated with any particular dollar amount but, in the case of a fine it shall not exceed one day for each $50 of the fine nor shall it exceed a period of 90 consecutive days. In no case shall the total period of imprisonment in the case of a disorderly persons offense for both the sentence of imprisonment and for failure to pay a fine exceed six months.
Incarceration All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:46-2 Consequences of Nonpayment
If the court finds that the person defaulted on payment of a court-imposed financial obligation, restitution, or child support or other support or maintenance ordered by a court without good cause and finds
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that the default was willful, the court may, in addition to the action required by paragraph (1) of this subsection a., impose a term of imprisonment or participation in a labor assistance program or enforced community service to achieve the objective of the court-imposed financial obligation, restitution, or child support or other support or maintenance ordered by a court. These options shall not reduce the amount owed by the person in default. The term of imprisonment or enforced community service or participation in a labor assistance program in such case shall be specified in the order of commitment. It need not be equated with any particular dollar amount but, in the case of a fine it shall not exceed one day for each $50 of the fine nor shall it exceed a period of 90 consecutive days. In no case shall the total period of imprisonment in the case of a disorderly persons offense for both the sentence of imprisonment and for failure to pay a fine exceed six months.
Incarceration All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:46-2 Consequences of Nonpayment
Except where incarceration is ordered pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection a., if the court finds that the person has defaulted the court may take one or more of the
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following actions: (a) the court shall take appropriate action to modify or establish a reasonable schedule for payment; (b) in the case of a fine, if the court finds that the circumstances that warranted the fine have changed or that it would be unjust to require payment, the court may revoke or suspend the fine or the unpaid portion of the fine; or (c) if the defendant has served jail time for default on a court-imposed financial obligation, the court may order that credit for each day of confinement be given against the amount owed. The amount of the credit shall be determined at the discretion of the court but shall be not less than $50 for each day of confinement served.
Payment plan/installment plan All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:46-2 Consequences of Nonpayment
When a defendant sentenced to make restitution to a public entity other than the Victims of Crime Compensation Office, defaults in the payment thereof or any installment, the court may, in lieu of
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other modification of the sentence, order the defendant to perform work in a labor assistance program or enforced community service program.
Community service All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:158A-17 Public Defender: Lien on Property of Defendant
The reasonable value of the services rendered to a defendant pursuant to P.L.1967, c. 43 (C.2A:158A-1 et seq.) may in all cases be a lien on any and all property
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to which the defendant shall have or acquire an interest. The Public Defender shall effectuate such lien whenever the reasonable value of the services rendered to a defendant appears to exceed $150.00 and may effectuate such lien where the reasonable value of those services appears to be less than $150.00. To effectuate such a lien, the Public Defender shall file a notice setting forth the services rendered to the defendant and the reasonable value thereof with the Clerk of the Superior Court. The filing of said notice with the Clerk of the Superior Court shall from the date thereof constitute a lien on said property for a period of 10 years, unless sooner discharged and except for such time limitations shall have the force and effect of a Judgment at Law. Within 10 days of the filing of the Notice of Lien, the Public Defender shall send by certified mail, or serve personally, a copy of such notice with a statement of the date of the filing thereof to or upon the defendant at his last known address. If the Public Defender shall fail to give notice, the lien shall be void. In any case where the defendant is awarded damages pursuant to P.L.1997, c. 227 (C.52:4C-1 et seq.) on grounds that the defendant did not commit the crime for which he was convicted and imprisoned, the Public Defender shall discharge any lien for services rendered concerning that crime.
Property liens All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-15 Reformative service
A person required to pay a penalty under this section may propose to the court and the prosecutor a plan to perform reformative service in lieu of payment of up
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to one-half of the penalty amount imposed under this section. The reformative service plan option shall not be available if the provisions of paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section apply or if the person is placed in supervisory treatment pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:36A-1 or N.J.S.2C:43-12. For purposes of this section, “reformative service” shall include training, education or work, in which regular attendance and participation is required, supervised, and recorded, and which would assist in the defendant's rehabilitation and reintegration. “Reformative service” shall include, but not be limited to, substance abuse treatment or services, other therapeutic treatment, educational or vocational services, employment training or services, family counseling, service to the community and volunteer work. For the purposes of this section, an application to participate in a court-administered alcohol and drug rehabilitation program shall have the same effect as the submission of a reformative service plan to the court.
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-15 Rehabilitation Program
The court may suspend the collection of a penalty imposed pursuant to this section; provided the person is ordered by the court to participate in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation
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program approved by the court; and further provided that the person agrees to pay for all or some portion of the costs associated with the rehabilitation program. In this case, the collection of a penalty imposed pursuant to this section shall be suspended during the person's participation in the approved, court-ordered rehabilitation program. Upon successful completion of the program, as determined by the court upon the recommendation of the treatment provider, the person may apply to the court to reduce the penalty imposed pursuant to this section by any amount actually paid by the person for his participation in the program. The court shall not reduce the penalty pursuant to this subsection unless the person establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he has successfully completed the rehabilitation program.
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 17:29A-35 Motor vehicle violations surcharges for private passenger automobiles
If, upon written notification from the commission or its designee, mailed to the last address of record with the commission, a driver fails to pay a surcharge levied under this section and
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collectible by the commission, the driving privilege of the driver shall be suspended forthwith until at least five percent of each outstanding surcharge assessment that has resulted in suspension is paid to the commission; except that the commission may authorize payment of the surcharge on an installment basis over a period of 12 months for assessments under $2,300 or 24 months for assessments of $2,300 or more. The commission, for good cause, may authorize payment of any surcharge on an installment basis over a period not to exceed 36 months. If a driver fails to pay the surcharge or any installments on the surcharge, the total surcharge shall become due immediately, except as otherwise prescribed by rule of the commission.
Payment plan/installment plan All No
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 17:29A-35 Motor vehicle violations surcharges for private passenger automobiles
As an additional remedy, the commission may issue a certificate to the Clerk of the Superior Court stating that the person identified in the certificate is indebted under this surcharge
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law in such amount as shall be stated in the certificate. The certificate shall reference the statute under which the indebtedness arises. Thereupon the clerk to whom such certificate shall have been issued shall immediately enter upon the record of docketed judgments the name of such person as debtor; the State as creditor; the address of such person, if shown in the certificate; the amount of the debt so certified; a reference to the statute under which the surcharge is assessed, and the date of making such entries. The docketing of the entries shall have the same force and effect as a civil judgment docketed in the Superior Court, and the commission shall have all the remedies and may take all of the proceedings for the collection thereof which may be had or taken upon the recovery of a judgment in an action, but without prejudice to any right of appeal.
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New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 39:5-36 39:5-36. Incarceration on default of payment of penalty or surcharge; court action upon default on payment of a penalty
he court may incarcerate in the county jail or workhouse of the county where the offense was committed any person upon whom a penalty or surcharge pursuant to subsection f. of section
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1 of P.L.2000, c. 75 (C.39:4-97.2) has been imposed for a violation of any of the provisions of this subtitle where the court finds that the person defaulted on payment of the penalty or surcharge pursuant to subsection f. of section 1 of P.L.2000, c. 75 (C.39:4-97.2) without good cause and that the default was willful. Incarceration ordered under this subsection shall not reduce the amount owed by the person in default. In no case shall such incarceration exceed one day for each $50 of the penalty or surcharge so imposed, nor shall such incarceration exceed a period of 90 consecutive days.
Incarceration All No