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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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, § 31 Default Warrant for Failure to Pay — Additional Fees — Payment to Court's Administrative Office.

Whenever a court issues a default warrant solely due to the person’s failure to pay a fine, assessment, court cost, restitution, support payment or other amount as ordered by the

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court or required by law, the court shall specify the amount owed, including an additional assessment of $50 which assessment may be waived by the court upon a finding of good cause or upon a finding that such an assessment would cause a substantial financial hardship to the person, the person’s immediate family or the person’s dependents, with a statement that the warrant against the person may be discharged upon payment of the amount and the assessment, if any, and shall note the same in the warrant management system. The administrative office of the trial court shall accept payment of such fine, assessment, court cost, restitution, support payment or other amount as ordered by the court, along with any assessment, to be remitted by mail, telephone or other electronic means, in any form deemed acceptable by the trial court. Upon receipt of payment, the warrant against the person shall be discharged, the discharge shall be noted in the warrant management system and the individual shall receive notice of the discharge within seven days.

Incarceration, Increased fine All Yes
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, § 32 Default Warrant for Failure to Pay — Additional Fees — Payment of Person Before Court.

Whenever a person, brought before a court, against whom an outstanding warrant was issued, solely due to the failure of the person brought before the court to pay a fine

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assessment, court cost, restitution, support payment, or other amount, the court may accept payment of such amount and assess an additional fifty dollars which assessment may be waived by the court upon a finding of good cause and if the person is not being held on other process, the court may direct that the person be released from custody and shall notify the jurisdiction in which the warrant was issued of the payment and the assessment, if any. Upon notice of the release the court that issued the warrant shall recall the warrant and cause such information to be entered in the warrant management system.

Incarceration, Increased fine All No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 279, § 1 Suspension of execution; payment of fine; probation; revocation of suspension; exceptions

When a person so convicted is sentenced to pay a fine and to stand committed until it is paid, the court may direct that the execution of the sentence, or

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any part thereof, be suspended for such time as it shall fix and in its discretion that he be placed on probation on condition that he pay the fine within such time . . . If during or at the end of said period the probation officer shall report that the fine is in whole or in part unpaid, and in his opinion the person is unwilling or unable to pay it, the court may either extend said period, place the case on file or revoke the suspension of the execution of the sentence. When such suspension is revoked, in a case where the fine has been paid in part, the defendant may be committed for default in payment of the balance.

Incarceration All No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 279, § 1A Suspended Sentences — Fines and Imprisonment.

When a person convicted before a court is sentenced to fine and imprisonment, the court may direct that the execution of the sentence, or any part thereof, be suspended, and

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that he be placed on probation for such time and on such terms and conditions as it shall fix. The court may direct, as one of such terms and conditions, that payment of the fine may be made to the probation officer in one payment, or in part payments, during the period of probation or any extension thereof, and when such fine shall have been fully paid the order of commitment as to the fine shall be void, but the order of commitment as to imprisonment shall not be affected by such payment . . . If during or at the end of said period the probation officer shall report that the fine is in whole or in part unpaid, and in his opinion the person is unwilling or unable to pay it, the court may either extend said period, place the case on file or revoke the suspension of the execution of the sentence. When such suspension is revoked, in a case where the fine has been paid in part, the defendant may be committed for default in payment of the balance, and may also be committed for the term of imprisonment fixed in the original sentence. 

Incarceration All No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 279, § 7 Sentence — Conviction of Crime Punishable by Fine; Imprisonment for Non-Payment.

Whoever is convicted of a crime punishable by a fine, and is liable to imprisonment in the jail for its non-payment, may be sentenced to such imprisonment in the house

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of correction, or to confinement at hard labor either in the jail or house of correction.

Incarceration All No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 279, § 9 Sentence — Second Sentence for Non-Payment of Fine.

Except as provided in section one hundred and forty-six of chapter one hundred and twenty-seven, if a convict is sentenced to pay a fine in more than one case and

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has been committed to a jail, house of correction or other prison or other correctional institution for refusing to pay such fine, the subsequent sentence shall take effect upon the expiration of the imprisonment under the former sentence.

Incarceration All Yes
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 279, § 10 Sentence — Conditional.

If a person has been convicted of a crime punishable, at the discretion of the court, by fine or imprisonment in the jail or house of correction or by fine

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or imprisonment in the state prison, the court may impose upon him a conditional sentence, and order him to pay a fine within a limited time which shall be expressed in the sentence, and in default thereof to suffer such imprisonment as is provided by law. He shall be forthwith committed to the custody of an officer in court or to the jail, to be detained until the sentence is complied with; and if he does not within the time limited pay the fine imposed, the sheriff shall cause the other part of the sentence to be executed forthwith.

Incarceration All No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 111B Fraudulent Motor Vehicle Insurance Claims; Penalties; Reimbursement of Insurer.

If a defendant who is required to make restitution defaults in any payment of restitution or installment thereof, the court shall hold him in contempt unless said defendant has made

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a good faith effort to pay such restitution.

Incarceration All Yes
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 270, § 16 Disposal of Refuse on Highways, Public Land, Private Property, or in Coastal or Inland Waters.

If a motor vehicle is used in committing such an offense where the offense involves the unlawful disposal of more than seven cubic feet of trash, bottles or cans, refuse,

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rubbish, garbage, debris scrap, waste or any other materials and the motor vehicle is observed while the offense is in progress by an officer authorized to enforce this section, the officer may seize the vehicle and remove and store it or otherwise immobilize it by a mechanical device until (1) payment is made to the enforcing authority of a fine set by such enforcing authority up to the maximum fine which may be imposed under this section, (2) the illegally disposed of material is removed and legally disposed of, and (3) payment is made to the enforcing authority of its reasonable towing and storage charges, if any, for the seized vehicle. If, after payment of the above fine and towing and storage charges, the use of the seized vehicle is necessary to dispose of the material, the enforcing authority shall release the seized vehicle upon the posting of security sufficient to pay for the cost of legal disposal of the material...If a motor vehicle is used in committing such an offense, a conviction under this section shall forthwith be reported by the court to the registrar of motor vehicles, and the registrar may suspend the license of the operator of such vehicle for not more than thirty days, and if it appears from the records of the registrar of motor vehicles that the person so convicted is the owner of the motor vehicle so used, the registrar may suspend the certificate of registration of said vehicle for thirty days.

Property liens Misdemeanor No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D Drivers Convicted of Operating Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquors or Controlled Substances.

An additional fee of two hundred and fifty dollars shall be paid to the chief probation officer of each court by each person placed in a program of driver alcohol

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or controlled substance abuse education pursuant to this section and all such fees shall be deposited with the state treasurer, subject to appropriation, for the support of programs operated by the secretary of public safety, the alcohol beverage control commission, and the department of public health for the investigation, enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation of those persons convicted of or charged with driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs . . . Failure to pay the fees required under this section shall, unless excused, constitute sufficient basis for a finding by the court at a hearing held pursuant to section twenty-four E that the person has failed to satisfactorily comply with the program.

Incarceration Traffic No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, § 30 Default Warrants — Warrant for Forfeiting or Defaulting on Bail Bond or Recognizance — Fees.

Any person arrested on a warrant issued because such person has forfeited or defaulted on his bail bond or recognizance or has been surrendered by a probation officer shall be

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required by the court to pay a fee of $75 payable to the city or town in which such arrest was effected...

Collection fee/interest All Yes
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119, § 58B Delinquency — Motor Vehicle Violations by Juveniles; Non-Criminal Fines Authorized.

Any fine imposed under the authority of this section shall be collected, recovered and paid over in the manner provided by chapters two hundred and seventy–nine and two hundred and

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eighty; provided, however, that if any child shall neglect, fail or refuse to pay a fine imposed under this section, he may be arrested upon order of the court and brought before the court, which may thereupon place him in the care of a probation officer or commit him to the custody of the department of youth services; but no such child shall be committed to any jail, house of correction, or correctional institution of the commonwealth.

Condition or extension of supervision, Other Traffic No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, § 92A Restitution for Motor Vehicle Thefts or Fraudulent Motor Vehicle Insurance Claims.

If a defendant who is required to make restitution defaults in any payment of restitution or installment thereof, the court may hold him in contempt unless said defendant has made

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a good faith effort to make restitution.

Incarceration All No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 280, § 6 Expenses of Prosecution — When Paid by Defendant.

Costs shall not be imposed by a justice as a penalty for a crime. A justice may, as a condition of the dismissal or placing on file of a complaint

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or indictment, or as a term of probation, order the defendant to pay the reasonable and actual expenses of the prosecution. A justice may impose reasonable costs as a result of a default by a criminal defendant that was intentional or negligent and without good cause.

Increased fine All No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211D, § 2A(g) Proof of Indigency Required.

The court may authorize a person for whom counsel was appointed to perform community service in lieu of payment of the counsel fee. A person seeking to work off a

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counsel fee in community service shall perform 10 hours of community service, in a community service program administered by the administrative office of the trial court, for each $100 owed in legal counsel fees, which may be prorated. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a court proceeding shall not be terminated and the person shall not be discharged if the person owes any portion of the legal counsel fee imposed by this section. The clerk shall not release any bail posted on such court proceeding until the legal counsel fee is satisfied in accordance with this chapter.

Community service, Property liens All No
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 27A Removing or Concealing Motor Vehicles or Trailers to Defraud Insurers; Reimbursement of Insurers.

If a defendant who is required to make restitution defaults in any payment of restitution or installment thereof, the court shall hold him in contempt unless said defendant has made

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a good faith effort to pay such restitution. 

Incarceration Felony Yes
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 29 Theft of Motor Vehicle; Owner’s Complaint or Information; Restitution by Defendants.

If a defendant who is required to make restitution defaults in any payment of restitution or installment thereof, the court shall hold him in contempt unless said defendant has made

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a good faith effort to pay such restitution. 

Incarceration Felony Yes
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Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 108 Destroying Vessel to Defraud Owner or Insurer.

If a defendant who is required to make restitution defaults in any payment of restitution or installment thereof, the court may hold him in contempt unless said defendant has made

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a good faith effort to make restitution.

Incarceration All No
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Massachusetts Ma. Dist./Mun. Ct. R. Prob. Violation Rule 8(d) Finding and disposition

After the court has entered a finding that a violation of probation has occurred, the court may order any of the following dispositions set forth below, as it deems appropriate.

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These dispositional alternatives shall be the exclusive options available to the court. The court shall proceed to determine disposition promptly following the entry of a finding of violation. General continuances are prohibited. Awaiting the disposition of an underlying criminal charge shall not constitute such good cause for any continuance. In determining its disposition, the court shall give such weight as it may deem appropriate to the recommendation of the Probation Department, the probationer, and the District Attorney, if any, and to such factors as public safety; the circumstances of any crime for which the probationer was placed on probation; the nature of the probation violation; the occurrence of any previous violations; and the impact of the underlying crime on any person or community, as well as any mitigating factors.

(i) Continuance of Probation. The court may decline to modify or revoke probation and, instead, issue to the probationer such admonition or instruction as it may deem appropriate.

(ii) Termination. The court may terminate the probation order.

(iii) Modification. The court may modify the conditions of probation. Such modification may include the addition of reasonable conditions and the extension of the duration of the probation order.

(iv) Revocation, statement of reasons. The court may order that the order of probation be revoked. If the court orders revocation, it shall state the reasons therefor in writing. 

Condition or extension of supervision All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-18-114 Record and disbursement of wages; exemption from process; confidentiality of amount

(a) Wages earned by an inmate, parolee or offender while in an adult community corrections program shall be retained and accounted for by the program operator and shall be disbursed

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for the purposes provided in this subsection and in the order specified: (i) Personal necessities; (ii) Room and board to the program operator at a rate to be established by the department; (iii) Support of dependent relations; (iv) Court ordered restitution, fines, sanctions and reimbursement for the services of public defender or court appointed counsel, the surcharge imposed under W.S. 1-40-119, victims compensation obligations under W.S. 1-40-112(g) and the surcharge imposed under W.S. 7-13-1616; (v) Repealed by Laws 1999, ch. 62, § 2. (vi) Costs of health insurance; and (vii) Remaining funds shall be paid to the inmate, parolee or offender upon parole or final discharge.

(b) Wages earned by offenders, other than parolees or inmates, while in a residential adult community corrections program shall be retained and accounted for by the program operator and shall be disbursed only for the purposes and in the order specified in subsection (a) of this section unless otherwise ordered by the sentencing court. Any remaining funds shall be paid to the offender upon his satisfactory discharge from the program. Upon revocation of an offender's probation, the program operator shall forward any remaining funds to the court or to the institution to which the offender is sentenced as directed by the court.

(c) Program operators shall keep an accurate record and account of all wages earned by inmates, parolees and offenders pursuant to the rules promulgated by the department.

(d) The earnings of inmates under this act are not subject to garnishment, attachment or execution.

(e) Information relating to the amount of wages earned by an inmate, parolee or offender in an adult community corrections program is confidential and is not subject to public inspection.

Wage/bank account garnishment All Yes