LA County Eliminates Certain Fines and Fees

CBSLA reports that in an effort to alleviate the burden of catching a criminal case for those of us with low incomes, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has eliminated certain fees resulting from a conviction or guilty plea. After someone convicted of a crime does the jail part of their sentence they are saddled with the obligation to pay fines and fees over the course of their probation. If the fines and fees are not paid by the end of probation they are converted to a civil judgment and will negatively effect your credit rating until they are paid.

The Board of Supervisors has eliminated and will no longer collect the following fees: work furlough fees, misdemeanor diversion fees, returned check fees, drug diversion program fees, emergency medical services fees, pretrial electronic monitoring fees, county jail booking fees, community education training program fees, probation supervision fees and public defender fees. This is in addition to LA County doing away with juvenile detention fees.

Supervisor Hilda Solis explained the Board’s rationale as, “Collection of these fees and fines drive people into debt and push low-income families and communities of color deeper into poverty and that is unjust,” Solis said in a statement. “Most justice-involved individuals struggle to make ends meet once they reintegrate into society, even though they are eager to rehabilitate and rebuild their lives.”

In their study they note that there were $121 million in fees assessed since 2014, while only $11.4 million in feees were collected. This is less than 10 percent. The unpaid debt has risen to $1.8 billion over the last 50 years.

The change in law does not effect certain fines and fees that LA County has no control over. State and municipal fees will still be collected.

If you have a question about this or any issue affecting you, please contact me at 213-893-8640.

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