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1 H.262
2 Introduced by Representative Chesnut-Tangerman of Middletown Springs
3 Referred to Committee on
4 Date:
5 Subject: Judicial Bureau; civil fines; community service
6 Statement of purpose of bill as introduced: This bill proposes to allow for
7 conversion of civil fines to community service when the defendant is unable
8 to pay.
9 An act relating to converting civil fines to community service
10 It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
11 Sec. 1. 4 V.S.A. § 1109 is amended to read:
13 (a) Definitions. As used in this section:
14 (1) “Amount due” means all financial assessments contained in a
15 Judicial Bureau judgment, including penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs,
16 and any other assessment authorized by law.
17 (2) “Designated collection agency” means a collection agency
18 designated by the Court Administrator.
19 (3) [Repealed.]
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1 (b) Late fees; suspensions for nonpayment of certain traffic violation
2 judgments.
3 (1) A Judicial Bureau judgment shall provide notice that a $30.00 fee
4 shall be assessed for failure to pay within 30 days. If the defendant fails to pay
5 the amount due within 30 days, the fee shall be added to the judgment amount
6 and deposited in into the Court Technology Special Fund established pursuant
7 to section 27 of this title.
8 (2)(A) In the case of a judgment on a traffic violation for which the
9 imposition of points against the person’s driving record is authorized by law,
10 the judgment shall contain a notice that failure to pay or otherwise satisfy the
11 amount due within 30 days of after the notice will result in suspension of the
12 person’s operator’s license or privilege to operate, and that payment plan
13 options are available. If the defendant fails to pay the amount due within 30
14 days of after the notice, or by a later date as determined by a Judicial Bureau
15 clerk or hearing officer, and the case is not pending on appeal, the Judicial
16 Bureau shall provide electronic notice thereof to the Commissioner of Motor
17 Vehicles. After 20 days from the date of receiving the electronic notice, the
18 Commissioner shall suspend the person’s operator’s license or privilege to
19 operate for a period of 30 days or until the amount due is satisfied, whichever
20 is earlier.
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1 (B) At minimum, the Judicial Bureau shall offer a payment plan
2 option that allows a person to avoid a suspension of his or her the person’s
3 license or privilege to operate by paying no not more than $30.00 per traffic
4 violation judgment per month, and not to exceed $100.00 per month if the
5 person has four or more outstanding judgments.
6 ***
7 (e) Venue. For purposes of civil contempt proceedings, venue shall be
8 statewide. No entry or motion fee shall be charged to a defendant who applies
9 for a reduced judgment under subdivision (c)(4)(B) of this section.
10 (f) Third-party contract for collections. Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502,
11 the Court Administrator is authorized to contract with a third party to collect
12 fines, penalties, and fees by credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card,
13 stored value card, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, as
14 authorized by 32 V.S.A. § 583, and to add on and collect, or charge against
15 collections, a processing charge in an amount approved by the Court
16 Administrator.
17 (g) Conversion of civil fine to community service.
18 (1) A defendant who is not incarcerated may file a motion to convert all
19 or part of a civil fine to community service. The court may grant the motion if
20 the defendant establishes that the defendant has made a good faith effort to pay
21 the fine but is unable to do so.
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1 (2) Community service performed pursuant to a motion granted under
2 this subsection shall be:
3 (A) credited against outstanding fines at the then-existing rate of the
4 Vermont minimum wage;
5 (B) monitored by an entity approved by the court, which shall report
6 on the defendant’s compliance status to the court; and
7 (C) performed in the county where the offense occurred.
8 (3) A conversion of a fine to community service under this subsection
9 shall:
10 (A) not apply to surcharges, court costs, or other assessments; and
11 (B) be in addition to the contempt procedures applicable under this
12 section.
14 This act shall take effect on July 1, 2023.
VT LEG #367361 v.1

Statutes affected:
As Introduced: 4-1109