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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West Virginia W. Va. Code § 62-11A-1a(a)(3) Other sentencing alternatives.

Any person who has been convicted in a circuit court or in a magistrate court under any criminal provision of this code of a misdemeanor or felony, which is punishable

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by imposition of a fine or confinement in a regional jail or a state correctional institution, or both fine and confinement, may, in the discretion of the sentencing judge or magistrate, as an alternative to the sentence imposed by statute for the crime, be sentenced under one of the following programs: (3) The community service program under which a sentenced person would spend no time in jail, but would be sentenced to a number of hours or days of community service work with government entities or charitable or nonprofit entities approved by the circuit court. Regarding any portion of the sentence designated as confinement, eight hours of community service work is to be credited as one day of the sentence imposed. Regarding any portion of the sentence designated as a fine, the fine is to be credited at an hourly rate equal to the prevailing federal minimum wage at the time the sentence was imposed. In the discretion of the court, the sentence credits may run concurrently or consecutively. A person sentenced under this program may be required to provide his or her own transportation to and from the work site, lunch and work clothes.

Community service All No
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West Virginia W. Va. Code § 50-3-2a(b)-(c)(1), (f)(1) Payment by credit card or payment plan; suspension of licenses for failure to make payments or appear or respond; restitution; liens

(b) Unless otherwise required by law, a magistrate court may collect a portion of any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties at the time the amount is imposed by the

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court so long as the court requires the balance to be paid in accordance with a payment plan which specifies: (1) The number of payments to be made; (2) the dates on which the payments are due; and (3) the amounts due for each payment. The written agreement represents the minimum payments and the last date those payments may be made. The obligor or the obligor's agent may accelerate the payment schedule at any time by paying any additional portion of any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties.

(c) (1) If any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed by the magistrate court in a criminal case are not paid within one hundred eighty days from the date of judgment and the expiration of any stay of execution, the magistrate court clerk or, upon judgment rendered on appeal, the circuit clerk shall notify the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles of the failure to pay: Provided, That in a criminal case in which a nonresident of this state is convicted of a motor vehicle violation defined in section three-a [§ 17B-3-3a], article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code, the appropriate clerk shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of the failure to pay within eighty days from the date of judgment and expiration of any stay of execution. Upon notice, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall suspend any privilege the person defaulting on payment may have to operate a motor vehicle in this state, including any driver's license issued to the person by the Division of Motor Vehicles, until all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties are paid in full. The suspension shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of section six [§ 17B-3-6], article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code: Provided, That any person who has had his or her license to operate a motor vehicle in this state suspended pursuant to this subsection and his or her failure to pay is based upon inability to pay, may, if he or she is employed on a full- or part-time basis, petition to the circuit court for an order authorizing him or her to operate a motor vehicle solely for employment purposes. Upon a showing satisfactory to the court of inability to pay, employment and compliance with other applicable motor vehicle laws, the court shall issue an order granting relief.

(f) (1) If all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed by a magistrate court and ordered to be paid are not paid within one hundred eighty days from the date of judgment and the expiration of any stay of execution, the clerk of the magistrate court shall notify the prosecuting attorney of the county of nonpayment and provide the prosecuting attorney with an abstract of judgment. The prosecuting attorney shall file the abstract of judgment in the office of the clerk of the county commission in the county where the defendant was convicted and in any county wherein the defendant resides or owns property. The clerks of the county commissions shall record and index the abstracts of judgment without charge or fee to the prosecuting attorney and when so recorded, the amount stated to be owing in the abstract shall constitute a lien against all property of the defendant.

Driver's license suspension/impoundment, Payment plan/installment plan, Property liens All No
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West Virginia W. Va. Code § 50-3-2c(a) Withholding from personal income tax refunds for unpaid fines and costs in magistrate criminal actions, in magistrate criminal appeals to circuit court and for failure to appear in court

(a) If costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed by the magistrate court upon conviction of a person for a criminal offense as defined by this code, imposed by the

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circuit court upon judgment on an appeal to circuit court of that conviction, or imposed by either court for failure to appear are not paid in full within one year of the judgment, the magistrate court clerk or, upon a judgment rendered on appeal, the circuit clerk shall notify the Tax Commissioner that the defendant has failed to pay the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties assessed by the court. The notice provided by the magistrate clerk or the circuit clerk to the Tax Commissioner must include the defendant's Social Security number. The Tax Commissioner, or his or her designee, shall withhold from any personal income tax refund due and owing to a defendant the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties due, the Tax Commissioner's administration fee for the withholding and any and all fees or other amounts that the magistrate court and the circuit court would have collected had the defendant appeared: Provided, That no withholding shall be made under this section if there is an unsatisfied withholding request made pursuant to section two-b [§  8-10-2b], article ten, chapter eight of this code. The Tax Commissioner's administration fee shall not exceed $25, unless this maximum amount is increased by legislative rule promulgated in accordance with article three [§§  29A-3-1 et seq.], chapter twenty- nine-a of this code. The administrative fees deducted shall be deposited in the special revolving fund hereby created in the State Treasury, which shall be designated as the Magistrate Fines and Fees Collection Fund, and the Tax Commissioner shall make such expenditures from the fund as he or she deems appropriate for the administration of this subsection.

Wage/bank account garnishment All Yes
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West Virginia W. Va. Code § 61-3-33 Entry upon inclosed lands; penalty; liability for damages

If any person shall, without the consent of the owner or occupier thereof, enter upon the enclosed lands of another and do any damage, or shall, without such consent, pull

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down in whole or in part, or injure, any fence of another, or without permission open and leave open the gate or drawbar of another, or enter upon the enclosed lands of another after being forbidden so to do, or enter thereon and curse, or insult, or annoy, the owner thereof or any person rightfully there, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, be fined not less than five nor more than one hundred dollars; and, in default of the payment of the fine, the offender may, in the discretion of the judge or justice, be committed to jail for not less than five days. He shall, moreover, be liable to the party injured for the damages sustained by such injury; and it shall be no defense to any prosecution or suit under this section, that such fence was not a lawful fence.

Incarceration Misdemeanor No
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West Virginia W. Va. Code § 62-4-9 Capias pro fine; release of defendant on bond

When a judgment for fine and costs is rendered by a circuit court, or other court of record having jurisdiction in criminal cases, the court may order a capias pro

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fine to be issued thereon at any time during the term at which the judgment is rendered, and if not such order be made, such capias shall be issued by the clerk of the court in vacation if he be ordered to do so by the prosecuting attorney. If the judgment of the court in such case be that the defendant be imprisoned and fined, or that he be fined and imprisoned until the fine and costs be paid, or if the defendant be imprisoned by virtue of such capias pro fine, in either event, the defendant may be released from such imprisonment, where he is detained for a failure to pay such fine and costs, only upon his giving bond with good security before the court, or before the clerk thereof in vacation, or before the sheriff of the county in which such judgment is rendered, payable to the state of West Virginia, for the payment of such fine and costs, at a time not exceeding twelve months after the date of such bond. If default be made in the payment of such bond, the same may be proceeded against to judgment and execution as if it were a forthcoming bond.

Incarceration All No
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West Virginia W. Va. Code § 62-4-16 Community service work may be substituted in lieu of a fine in municipal court

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, a municipal judge may substitute in lieu of the imposition of a sentence of incarceration or imposition of a fine,

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substitute community service work for such incarceration or fine. Where community service work is ordered as a substitute on a sentence of incarceration an eight hour work day shall extinguish one day of any sentence of incarceration. The minimum wage established by the prevailing federal minimum wage in effect at the time of sentencing is imposed shall be used to compute the amount of community service work necessary to extinguish the fine. In the discretion of the court, the sentence credits may run concurrently or consecutively.(b) Any community service ordered pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be performed for government entities or charitable or nonprofit entities and be supervised by the chief of police of the municipality or his or her designee.

(c) Persons sentenced under the provisions of this section remain under the jurisdiction of the municipal court. The court may withdraw the community service sentence at any time by order entered with or without notice and order a person previously sentenced to community service to serve the term of incarceration or to pay the fine available to the court upon the person's conviction: Provided, That any community service work performed before the community service sentence is withdrawn shall be credited against any term of incarceration or fine imposed.

Community service All No
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West Virginia W. Va. Code § 62-4-17 Suspension of licenses for failure to pay fines and costs or failure to appear in court

(a) If costs, fines, forfeitures, penalties or restitution imposed by the circuit court upon conviction of a person for any criminal offense under this code are not paid in full when

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ordered to do so by the court, the circuit clerk shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of such failure to pay: Provided, That at the time the judgment is imposed, the court shall provide the person with written notice that failure to pay the same when ordered to do so shall result in the suspension of such person’s license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state and that such suspension could result in the cancellation of, the failure to renew or the failure to issue an automobile insurance policy providing coverage for such person or such person’s family: Provided, however, That the failure of the court to provide such notice shall not affect the validity of any suspension of such person’s license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state. For purposes of this section, such period of time within which the person is required to pay shall be stayed during any period an appeal from the conviction which resulted in the imposition of such costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties is pending.

Upon such notice, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall suspend the person’s driver’s license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state until such time that the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties are paid.

 

Driver's license suspension/impoundment All Yes
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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
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-16-101 Persons subject to required work

(a) The sentencing court may require the following persons to perform work pursuant to W.S. 7-16-101 through 7-16-104: (i) Persons sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment in the county jail,

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whether or not a fine is imposed as a part of the sentence; (ii) Persons committed to jail pursuant to W.S. 6-10-105 for refusal to pay a fine or costs; and (iii) Persons for whom work is imposed as a condition of probation pursuant to W.S. 7-13-304(b). (b) No person charged with a crime and awaiting the action of the grand jury or awaiting trial shall be required to perform work pursuant to W.S. 7-16-101 through 7-16-104.

Condition or extension of supervision, Work program/jail industry program All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-10-105 Commitment for refusal to pay fine or costs; rate per day

A person committed to jail for willfully refusing to pay a fine or costs may be imprisoned if the court determines that the defendant has an ability to pay or

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that a reasonable probability exists that the defendant will have an ability to pay, until the imprisonment, at the rate of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per day, equals the amount of the fine or costs, or the amount shall be paid or secured to be paid when he is discharged.

Incarceration All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-11-504 Commitment until fine and costs paid

If a defendant sentenced to pay a fine or costs defaults in payment, the court may order the defendant to show cause why he should not be committed to jail.

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If the court finds that the defendant's default is willful or is due to a failure on defendant's part to make a good faith effort to obtain the funds required for the payment and the court determines that the defendant has an ability to pay or that a reasonable probability exists that the defendant will have an ability to pay, the court may order him committed until the fine or costs, or a specified part thereof, is paid. The defendant shall be given a credit for each day of imprisonment at the rate provided by W.S. 6 10 105, and may earn additional credits against his fine or costs for work performed as provided by W.S. 7 16 101 through 7 16 104.

Incarceration All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-16-104 Labor by prisoners. County jail. Credits.

7-16-104. Credits. (a) The sentencing court may reduce the term of a sentence, fine, costs or attorney fees of a prisoner sentenced to imprisonment or placed on probation, for work

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performed under W.S. 7-16-101 through 7-16-104.

(b) If a reduction is ordered pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the reduction shall be: (i) At the rate of one (1) day for each eight (8) hours of work performed under W.S. 7-16-101 through 7-16-104, provided the reduction in sentence shall not exceed one-half (1/2) of the original sentence; (ii) In an amount equal to the federal minimum hourly wage for each hour of work performed provided that the total amount of reduction in the fine, costs or attorney fees shall not exceed one-half (1/2) of the total amount of the fine, costs and attorney fees.

(c) The court shall direct whether the credits under subsection (b) of this section shall apply against the prisoner's term of imprisonment, his fine, court costs, attorney fees or other fees imposed by the court.

(d) A person committed to county jail for refusal to pay a fine or costs shall, in addition to the credit allowed by W.S. 6-10-105, be granted a credit against his fine or costs in an amount equal to the federal minimum hourly wage for each hour of work performed.

Work program/jail industry program All Yes
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-10-105 Commitment for refusal to pay fine or costs; rate per day

A person committed to jail for willfully refusing to pay a fine or costs may be imprisoned if the court determines that the defendant has an ability to pay or

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that a reasonable probability exists that the defendant will have an ability to pay, until the imprisonment, at the rate of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per day, equals the amount of the fine or costs, or the amount shall be paid or secured to be paid when he is discharged.

Incarceration All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 31-9-305 Payment of judgments in installments; failure to meet payments

(a) A judgment debtor upon notice to the judgment creditor may apply to the court in which judgment was rendered for the privilege of paying the judgment in installments and

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the court, in its discretion and without prejudice to any other legal remedies which the judgment creditor may have, may order and fix the amounts and times of payment of the installments.

(b) The division shall not suspend a license, registration or a nonresident's operating privilege, and shall restore any license, registration or nonresident's operating privilege suspended following nonpayment of a judgment, when the judgment debtor gives proof of financial responsibility and obtains an order permitting the payment of the judgment in installments, and while the payment of any installment is not in default.

(c) If the judgment debtor fails to pay any installment as specified by the order, then upon notice of default, the division shall suspend the license, registration or nonresident's operating privilege of the judgment debtor until the judgment is fully satisfied, as provided in this act.

Driver's license suspension/impoundment, Payment plan/installment plan All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 5-6-111 Execution on judgments

Upon assessment of any fine and costs for the conviction of a violation of any ordinance of a city or town, judgment shall be entered against the defendant in favor

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of the city or town. If the judgment is not paid within ninety (90) days from the date of the judgment the city or town may collect judgment by execution in circuit court in the manner provided by law. Except as otherwise provided by law all amounts recovered pursuant to this section shall be deposited with the city or town treasurer, used for the benefit of the city or town, and credited against the fine and reasonable costs of collection.

Civil judgment Misdemeanor Yes
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-6-207 Assessment of tax when permanent injunction issues; collection; continuing liability for other penalties

Whenever a permanent injunction issues against any person for maintaining a nuisance or against the owner or agent of any building kept or used for the purposes prohibited by this

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article, there shall be assessed against the building and the ground upon which it is located and against the person or persons maintaining the nuisance, and the owner or agent of the premises, a tax of three hundred dollars ($300.00). The assessment of the tax shall be made by the assessor of the county in which the nuisance exists and shall be made within three (3) months from the date of granting of the permanent injunction. If the assessor fails or neglects to make the assessment, it shall be made by the sheriff of the county and a return of the assessment shall be made to the county treasurer. The tax may be enforced and collected in the manner prescribed for the collection of taxes under the general revenue laws and shall be a perpetual lien upon all property, both personal and real used for the purpose of maintaining the nuisance. The payment of the tax does not relieve the person or building from any other penalties provided by law and when collected shall be applied and distributed in the manner prescribed by law for the application and distribution of monies arising from the collection of fines and penalties in criminal cases.

Collection fee/interest, Property liens All Yes
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-13-421 Restitution as condition of parole

(b) The board shall provide for restitution in the amount determined by the court pursuant to W.S. 7-9-103 unless the board finds the parolee is not reasonably capable of making the payments,

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in which case the board may modify the amount of restitution to be paid, taking into account the factors enumerated in W.S. 7-9-106.

(c) If the parolee fails to pay the restitution as provided by this section the board may: (i) Modify the amount of the restitution; (ii) Repealed By Laws 2011, Ch. 30, § 2. (iii) Revoke the parole.

Condition or extension of supervision, Payment plan/installment plan All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-9-109 Failure to comply; modification or extension of plan

Failure of the defendant to comply with W.S. 7 9 104 or to comply with the plan of restitution as approved or modified by the court is a violation of

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the conditions of probation. If the probation period has expired, the restitution order may be enforced by either civil or criminal contempt proceedings. Criminal contempt under this section is punishable by imprisonment for not more than one (1) year. The court may modify the plan of restitution or extend the period of time for restitution, but, except for those cases falling within the provisions of W.S. 7 9 113 through 7 9 115, the court may not extend the period of time for restitution beyond ten (10) years following the date of the defendant's discharge from sentence or expiration of probation under W.S. 7 13 301.

Incarceration All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-9-115 Modification of order

 

After a long-term physical health care restitution order has been entered, the court may from time to time, on the petition of either the defendant or the victim, or upon

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its own motion, modify the order as to the amount of monthly payments. Any modification of the order shall only be based upon a substantial change of circumstances relating to the cost of long-term physical health care or the financial condition of either the defendant or the victim. The petition shall be filed as part of the original criminal docket.

Payment plan/installment plan All No
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Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-13-306 Payment of fine in installments

When imposing a fine and also placing the defendant on probation, the district judge may permit the fine to be paid in installments over a reasonable period of time.

Payment plan/installment plan All No