House Bill 244
151st General Assembly (Present)
House Appropriations 6/17/21
Committee Hearing takes place within twelve legislative days.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 10, TITLE 11, TITLE 21, AND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO FINES, FEES, COSTS, ASSESSMENTS, AND RESTITUTION.
Recognizing the negative impact of criminal justice imposed financial obligations on defendants has led to reforms across the country to reduce the financial burdens that disproportionally impact the poor. This type of debt and the collateral consequences of suspending a driver’s license negatively impacts the rehabilitation of those in the criminal justice system and pushes those without an ability to pay further into the system unnecessarily. This Act does all of the following: (1) Prohibits a court from imposing a fine, fee, cost, or assessment on children without the means to pay them. (2) Provides the courts with the discretion to waive, modify, or suspend any fine, fee, cost, or assessment. (3) Prohibits a court or the Department of Transportation from suspending a driver’s license for nonpayment of a fine, fee cost, assessment, or restitution and from charging a penalty, assessment, or fee to a defendant for the cancellation of a warrant issued due to the defendant’s nonpayment of a fine, fee, cost, assessment, or restitution. (4) Prohibits a court from imposing an additional fee on a defendant for payments that are made at designated periodic intervals or late, or when probation is ordered to supervise a defendant’s payment. Nothing in this Act precludes the court from filing contempt charges against defendants who willfully fail to pay their fines. (5) Requires the Judiciary and the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System to report on the sum collected from fines, fees, costs, assessments, and restitution and make a public report of these totals. (6) Eliminates the Public Defender fee and the Probation Supervision fee. The collections from these fees currently go to the General Fund. (7) Creates the Criminal Legal System Imposed Debt Study Group to review the impact that court imposed financial obligations have on defendants and victims and make recommendations to promote access, fairness, and transparency in the imposition and collection of court imposed financial obligations. (8) Makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
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Takes effect upon being signed into law