2007 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Warren
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 99-19-20, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE A METHOD FOR THE RELEASE OF DEFENDANTS WHEN CERTAIN FEES ARE OWED AT THE END OF THE SENTENCE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 99-19-20, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-19-20. (1) When any court sentences a defendant to pay a fine, the court may order (a) that the fine be paid immediately, or (b) that the fine be paid in installments to the clerk of said court or to the judge, if there be no clerk, or (c) that payment of the fine be a condition of probation, or (d) that the defendant be required to work on public property for public benefit under the direction of the sheriff for a specific number of hours, or (e) any combination of the above.
(2) The defendant may be imprisoned until the fine is paid if the defendant is financially able to pay a fine and the court so finds, subject to the limitations hereinafter set out. The defendant shall not be imprisoned if the defendant is financially unable to pay a fine and so states to the court in writing, under oath, after sentence is pronounced, and the court so finds, except if the defendant is financially unable to pay a fine and such defendant failed or refused to comply with a prior sentence as specified in subsection (1) of this section, the defendant may be imprisoned.
This subsection shall be limited as follows:
(a) In no event shall such period of imprisonment exceed one (1) day for each Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) of the fine.
(b) If a sentence of imprisonment, as well as a fine, were imposed, the aggregate of such term for nonpayment of a fine and the original sentence of imprisonment shall not exceed the maximum authorized term of imprisonment.
(c) Credit shall be earned for work performed under subsection (1)(d) above at the rate of the highest current federal minimum wage.
(3) Periods of confinement imposed for nonpayment of two (2) or more fines shall run consecutively unless specified by the court to run concurrently.
(4) If a defendant performs work to pay a fine and satisfies the debt by the performance of such work but owes any turnkey fees, constable fees or any other fees, then the county in which the defendant is housed may pay such remaining fees or waive such fees if further incarceration of the defendant will be a financial burden to the county.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.