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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Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13 § 7180(4)(b) Remedies for failure to pay fines, costs, surcharges, and penalties

(4)  Contempt. (A) The court may conclude that the defendant is in contempt if the court finds that: (i) the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that he or she

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owed the amount due; (ii) the defendant had the ability to pay all or any portion of the amount due; and (iii) the defendant failed to pay all or any portion of the amount due.

(B) If the court concludes that the defendant is in contempt, the court may: (i) Order payment of the amount due on a specific date. (ii) Assess an additional penalty not to exceed ten percent of the amount due. (iii) Direct that the matter be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus. The Court Administrator or the Court Administrator's designee is authorized to contract with one or more credit bureaus for the purpose of reporting information about unpaid Judicial Bureau judgments. (iv)  Refer to Small Claims Court for the purpose of issuing writs of attachment for property and trustee process pursuant to 12 V.S.A. § 5534. Filing fees shall be waived in such cases. (v) Sentence the defendant to serve a term of imprisonment on furlough to participate in a program supervised by the Department of Corrections pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a) that provides reparation to the community in the form of supervised work activities. For each day the defendant participates in supervised work activities, the defendant shall be given credit against the amount owed at the hourly rate for minimum wage. A defendant who is determined by the Department of Corrections to be ineligible for the preapproved furlough supervised work program may be ordered by the court to serve a sentence in a correctional facility, in which event the defendant shall be given credit against the amount owed for every day served at a rate determined by the court.

Incarceration, Increased fine, Property liens, Work program/jail industry program All No