Slashing Criminal Court Fees in California
Apr 07, 2021
Finally, defendants are getting some financial relief when it comes to the burden of onerous court fees.
Starting July 1, 2021, administrative fees for criminal court proceedings will be no longer be charged in California. Fees, like the criminal justice administration fee, the city and county booking fees, and parole supervision fees, are levied against defendants. These fees create a debt that many defendants struggle to pay. These debts remain a burden after the defendants have left the criminal justice system. The newly enacted Assembly Bill No. 1869 will prevent counties from imposing these fees in the future.
Administrative criminal fees are used in California counties to fund the criminal justice system. Many people are unaware that they may be responsible for paying these fees if they have pled guilty to a charge. Actual administrative fees are imposed for activities like taking a person's fingerprints or creating an inventory of a person's possessions at the time of arrest. Fees are charged during both incarceration and probation. Such fees can quickly add up to thousands of dollars on top of fines and jail time. Unpaid fees can be collected via wage garnishment, bank levy, and tax refund intercept.
San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Los Angeles counties each stopped charging administrative criminal fees over the last few years. This newly enacted law applies that same standard throughout California.
Starting in July of 2021, the unpaid balance of any previously imposed fees will be unenforceable and uncollectible. Judgments imposing those fees will be vacated. Until that date, these fees can still be imposed. Defendants should be mindful of what fees were imposed when they were sentenced. Whenever a defendant is sentenced the court will prepare a written order detailing the fines and fees that were imposed on your case. You can consult this order to see what fines and fees you received.
In addition, in Fresno County there is an online docket where you can view your case and see a breakdown of this information. However, sometimes the online docket does not contain the same exact information as what was contained in the order. The order is the official record, not the docket, so you should defer to the actual order in case of a discrepancy.
If you are a Fresno resident with questions about fees imposed in a criminal proceeding, contact us for more information on this new law.
Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.