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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Washington DC DC ST § 11-741 Contempt powers (DC Court of Appeals)
(a) Subject to the limitation described in subsection (b), and in addition to the powers conferred by section 402 of title 18, United States Code, the District of Columbia Court
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of Appeals, or a judge thereof, may punish for disobedience of an order or for contempt committed in the presence of the court.... (3)(A) An individual imprisoned for 6 consecutive months for civil contempt for disobedience of an order in a proceeding described in paragraph (1) who continues to disobey such order may be prosecuted for criminal contempt for disobedience of such order at any time before the expiration of the 12-month period that begins on the first day of such individual's imprisonment, except that an individual so imprisoned as of the date of the enactment of this subsection may be prosecuted under this subsection at any time during the 90-day period that begins on the date of the enactment of this subsection. ...
Incarceration All No
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Washington DC DC ST § 11-944 Contempt power (Superior Court of DC)
(a) Subject to the limitation described in subsection (b), and in addition to the powers conferred by section 402 of title 18, United States Code, the Superior Court, or a
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judge thereof, may punish for disobedience of an order or for contempt committed in the presence of the court.... (3)(A) An individual imprisoned for 6 consecutive months for civil contempt for disobedience of an order in a proceeding described in paragraph (1) who continues to disobey such order may be prosecuted for criminal contempt for disobedience of such order at any time before the expiration of the 12-month period that begins on the first day of such individual's imprisonment, except that an individual so imprisoned as of the date of the enactment of this subsection may be prosecuted under this subsection at any time during the 90-day period that begins on the date of the enactment of this subsection.
Incarceration All No
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Pennsylvania 42 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 9730(b)(2) Failure to pay court costs, restitution and fines
(b) Procedures regarding default.--(1) If a defendant defaults in the payment of a fine, court costs or restitution after imposition of sentence, the issuing authority or a senior judge or
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senior magisterial district judge appointed by the president judge for the purposes of this section may conduct a hearing to determine whether the defendant is financially able to pay. (2) If the issuing authority, senior judge or senior magisterial district judge determines that the defendant is financially able to pay the fine or costs, the issuing authority, senior judge or senior magisterial district judge may turn the delinquent account over to a private collection agency or impose imprisonment for nonpayment, as provided by law.
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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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-358(B) Incarceration for Default
A. When an individual obligated to pay a fine, costs, forfeiture, restitution or penalty defaults in the payment or any installment payment, the court upon the motion of the Commonwealth
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in the case of a conviction of a violation of a state law, or attorney for a locality or for the Commonwealth in the event of a conviction of a violation of a local law or ordinance, or upon its own motion, may require him to show cause why he should not be confined in jail or fined for nonpayment. A show cause proceeding shall not be required prior to issuance of a capias if an order to appear on a date certain in the event of nonpayment was issued pursuant to subsection A of § 19.2-354 and the defendant failed to appear. B. Following the order to show cause or following a capias issued for a defendant's failure to comply with a court order to appear issued pursuant to subsection A of § 19.2-354, unless the defendant shows that his default was not attributable to an intentional refusal to obey the sentence of the court, or not attributable to a failure on his part to make a good faith effort to obtain the necessary funds for payment, or unless the defendant shows that any failure to appear was not attributable to an intentional refusal to obey the order of the court, the court may order the defendant confined as for a contempt for a term not to exceed sixty days
Incarceration All No
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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-340 presentment, indictment, information or warrant in recovery of fine
When any statute or ordinance prescribes a fine, unless it is otherwise expressly provided or would be inconsistent with the manifest intention of the General Assembly, it shall be paid
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to the Commonwealth if prescribed by a statute and recoverable by presentment, indictment, information or warrant and paid to the locality if prescribed by an ordinance and recoverable by warrant. Fines imposed and costs taxed in a criminal or traffic prosecution, including a prosecution for a violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to § 46.2-1220, for committing an offense shall constitute a judgment and, if not paid at the time they are imposed, execution may issue thereon in the same manner as upon any other monetary judgment, subject to the period of limitations provided by § 19.2-341.
Incarceration All Yes
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Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-341 warrant, presentment, indictment, or information in recovery of other costs
When any statute or ordinance prescribes a monetary penalty other than a fine, unless it is otherwise expressly provided or would be inconsistent with the manifest intention of the General
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Assembly, it shall be paid to the Commonwealth if prescribed by a statute and paid to the locality if prescribed by an ordinance and recoverable by warrant, presentment, indictment, or information. Penalties imposed and costs taxed in any such proceeding shall constitute a judgment and, if not paid at the time they are imposed, execution may issue thereon in the same manner as upon any other monetary judgment.
Incarceration All Yes
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Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 176.064 (3)(d)  Collection fee for unpaid administrative assessment, fine, fee or restitution; use of collection agency; report to credit agencies; civil judgment; attachment or garnishment; suspension of driver's license; imprisonment
3.  The court may, on its own motion or at the request of a state or local entity that is responsible for collecting the delinquent fine, administrative assessment, fee or restitution,
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take any or all of the following actions, in the following order of priority if practicable: . . . (d) For a delinquent fine or administrative assessment, order the confinement of the person in the appropriate prison, jail or detention facility, as provided in NRS 176.065 and 176.075.
Incarceration All No
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Louisiana LA Rev Stat §1381.2. Orleans ParishSheriff's detention and prison security fee fund
A. Any defendant, other than an indigent, who pleads guilty or is convicted of an offense by the Criminal District Court for the Parish of Orleans shall be assessed a
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fee of not less than twenty-five dollars, such costs to be in addition to any fine, clerk's fees, costs due to the criminal court cost fund or sentence imposed by the court. When any defendant, other than an indigent, fails to pay the costs referred to hereinabove, he shall be sentenced to a term of thirty days in the parish prison in default of the payment of same.
Incarceration All Yes
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Louisiana CCRP 885 fine and costs
A defendant who has been imprisoned for default in the payment of a fine, or fine and costs, under a sentence imposed pursuant to Article 884, may, at any time
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before expiration of the term of imprisonment, obtain his release by paying to his custodian all of the costs imposed and a sum of money that bears the same proportion to the imposed fine as the term of alternate imprisonment yet to run bears to the whole of such term of imprisonment.
Incarceration All No
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Louisiana La. Stat. Ann. § 13:4611 Contempt
For any other contempt of court, including disobeying an order for the payment of child support or spousal support or an order for the right of custody or visitation, by
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a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisonment for not more than three months, or both.
Incarceration All No
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Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. § 99-37-5(2) Payment and orders
(2) When a defendant sentenced to pay a fine or costs or ordered to make restitution is also placed on probation or imposition or execution of sentence is suspended, the
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court may make payment of the fine or costs or the making of restitution a condition of probation or suspension of sentence. Such offenders shall make restitution payments directly to the victim. As an alternative to a contempt proceeding under Sections 99-37-7 through 99-37-13, the intentional refusal to obey the restitution order or a failure by a defendant to make a good faith effort to make such restitution may be considered a violation of the defendant's probation and may be cause for revocation of his probation or suspension of sentence.
Incarceration All No
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Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. § 99-37-7(2) Contempt for default
(2) Unless the defendant shows that his default was not attributable to an intentional refusal to obey the order of the court or to a failure on his part to
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make a good faith effort to make the payment, the court may find that his default constitutes contempt and may order him committed until the fine or the restitution, or a specified part thereof, is paid.
Incarceration All No
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Mississippi Miss. Code. Ann. § 47-1-3 Working out fine, costs, sentence
It is the imperative duty of the board of supervisors in each county in this state to require each convict sentenced to imprisonment in the county jail and the payment
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of a fine and costs, or to imprisonment and payment of costs, or to payment of fine and costs, to work out the sentence on the county convict farm or on the public roads or other public works of the county, or in a contiguous county, as herein provided. But any convict who is sentenced to the payment of a fine and costs and who pays such fine and costs shall thereby be relieved from working out such fine and costs, but the payment in full of such fine and costs shall not relieve such convict from working out the full time of his imprisonment as adjudged in his sentence.
Work program/jail industry program All Yes
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Louisiana CCRP 903.3 B Substance abuse treatment - inability/failure to pay
B. If the defendant does not have the financial resources to pay all the related costs of the probation program, the court may do either of the following: (1)
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To the extent practicable, arrange for the defendant to be assigned to a treatment program funded by the state or federal government. (2) With the recommendation of the treatment program, order the defendant to perform supervised work for the benefit of the community in lieu of paying all or a part of the costs related to his treatment and supervision. The work shall be performed for and under the supervising authority of a parish, municipality, or other political subdivision or agency of the state or a charitable organization that renders service to the community or its residents.
Work program/jail industry program All No
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Louisiana CCRP 895.1.D Work program for failure to pay probation fee
The court may, in lieu of the monthly supervision fee provided for in Paragraph C, require the defendant to perform a specified amount of community service work each month if
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the court finds the defendant is unable to pay the minimum supervision fee provided for in Paragraph C
Work program/jail industry program All No
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South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 17-25-340. Incarceration
If the sheriff or his deputy return on oath that such offender refused to pay or has not any property or not sufficient whereon to levy, then a writ of
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capias ad satisfaciendum shall issue whereby he shall be committed to the common jail, until the forfeiture, costs and charges shall be satisfied. Such offender shall be entitled, however, to the privilege of insolvent debtors.
Incarceration All Yes
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South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 17-25-350. Contempt/incarceration
Failure to comply with the payment schedule shall constitute contempt of court; however, imprisonment for contempt may not exceed the amount of time of the original sentence, and where part
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of the fine has been paid the imprisonment cannot exceed the remaining pro rata portion of the sentence.
Incarceration All Yes
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South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-100 civil contempt
(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 24-19-120, 24-21-440, 24-21-560(B), or 24-21-670, when an individual has not fulfilled the individual's obligations for payment of financial obligations by the end of the
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individual's term of supervision, then the individual shall be placed under quarterly administrative monitoring, as defined in Section 24-21-5, by the department until such time as those financial obligations are paid in full or a consent order of judgment is filed. If the individual under administrative monitoring fails to make reasonable progress toward the payment of such financial obligations, as determined by the department, the department may petition the court to hold an individual in civil contempt for failure to pay the financial obligations. The department shall provide written notice of the petition and any scheduled contempt hearing by depositing the notice in the United States mail with postage prepaid addressed to the person at the address contained in the records of the department. The giving of notice by mail is complete ten days after the deposit of the notice. A certificate by the director of the department or the director's designee that the notice has been sent as required in this section is presumptive proof that the requirements as to notice of petition and any scheduled contempt hearing have been met even if the notice has not been received by the offender. If the court finds the individual has the ability to pay but has not made reasonable progress toward payment, the court may hold the individual in civil contempt of court and may impose a term of confinement in the local detention center until payment of the financial obligations, but in no case to exceed ninety days of confinement. Following any term of confinement, the individual shall be returned to quarterly administrative monitoring by the department. If the individual under administrative monitoring does not have the ability to pay the financial obligations and has no reasonable likelihood of being able to pay in the future, the department may submit a consent order of judgment to the court, which shall relieve the individual of any further administrative monitoring.
Incarceration All Yes
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Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-399 Commitment of debtor for contempt.
Any judge before whom any such examination is ordered may commit the judgment debtor for contempt in case of his neglect or refusal to attend or be sworn at the
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examination or to answer any question put to him during the examination, and any such neglect or refusal, if the examination is ordered or had before a committee, may be by such committee reported to the judge by whom he was appointed, which judge may thereupon proceed for the contempt as fully as if the examination had been ordered or had before himself.
Incarceration All No