TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) that would allow a municipal court to impose an alternative option in lieu of immediate payment of a fine if a person does not have the ability to pay was unanimously approved today by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill (S1471) would allow the court to order the payment of a penalty in installments for a period of time determined by the court if it finds that a person does not have the ability to pay the penalty in full or has failed to pay a previously imposed penalty.
“Under current law, if a person is sentenced by a municipal court to pay a monetary penalty and that person defaults, the court may order the person to perform community service in lieu of payment,” Sen. Turner said. “This bill would provide additional options to the court for certain default situations.”
If a person defaults on a payment and the court finds that the defendant does not have the ability to pay, this bill would allow the court to reduce the penalty, suspend the penalty, or modify the installment plan.
It could order that credit toward the payment be given for time served if the person served jail time for the default; it could revoke any unpaid portion of the penalty, if the court finds that the circumstances that warranted the imposition have changed or that it would be unjust to require payment, or it could order the person to perform community service in lieu of payment of the penalty.