Does anyone care to share their approach on dealing with the fines imposed by this new statute ? Do you apply to all cases or only jail cases as the comments suggest ? What about admonishments with regard to potential revocation down the road ?
Mostly concerned with misdemeanor DWIs.
Our county is presumptively applying the fees to all jail & probation sentences. Typically, if I'm recommending probation, I still impose the 3-day mandatory jail sentence as a condition. The only cases that won't apply these fines is where the judge has the defendant fill out an Affidavit of Indigence, plus present the proof mentioned in subsection (d). Our court is pretty stiff on the proof provided there.
In addition, we also add a clause to all our judgments that state:
"Defendant agrees to the fines and costs assessed in this Judgment. Further, Defendant understands that if these costs go unpaid, that a thirty percent (30%) collection penalty may be added to the total balance pursuant to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This Court has inquired, and makes a further determination, that as of the time that this judgment is executed, the Defendant has the financial ability to pay the fines and costs assessed as well as the collection penalty, should they remain unpaid. Defendant agrees to this finding and the payment of such fines, costs, and penalties as outlined above."
In addition, the judge gets the defendant on record of him or her agreeing that they have the means to afford the costs assessed.
We are only applying them to jail (non-probation) sentences. My interpretation is clear that they apply only to "final" convictions and thus do not apply to probation cases.
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