BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2724
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 7, 2014

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

               AB 2724 (Bradford) - As Introduced:  February 21, 2014 

          Policy Committee:                              Public Safety  
          Vote:        7-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:               

           SUMMARY  

          This bill provides that the ability to pay a fine is not a  
          prerequisite to filing a request that the court vacate a civil  
          assessment, and that an agreement to pay a fine in installments  
          or perform community service in lieu of paying a fine is  
          sufficient for the court to request that the hold on the  
          defendant's driver's license be lifted.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Minor administrative costs to state trial courts, offset to an  
          unknown degree by greater odds of fine collection.  

           COMMENTS  

           1)Rationale  . The author addresses a situation in which lower  
            income persons become trapped in a spiral of fines and  
            assessments. 

            According to the author, "Many low-income individuals cannot  
            afford the spiraling debt caused by unpaid traffic violations  
            and court assessments. Failure to pay the penalties can lead  
            to a suspended driver's license. Without a driver's license,  
            an individual may (1) lose their job because they are unable  
            to get to work; (2) find it difficult to obtain a new job; and  
            (3) be ineligible for certain employment or job training  
            programs. Without a job, an individual cannot repay the fines  
            to regain their driver's license, and thus become trapped in a  
            vicious cycle of debt that is very difficult to escape. This  
            bill helps low-income individuals keep their jobs and repay  
            assessments by two means. First, it allows an individual,  








                                                                  AB 2724
                                                                  Page  2

            before penalties are paid, to appear in front of a judge to  
            contest the assessment or original violation. Second, it  
            allows a judge to ask the DMV to reinstate a driver's license  
            after the individual signs an agreement to pay by installment  
            plan or perform community service. As courts have billions of  
            dollars in uncollected fines, this bill will help courts  
            recoup some of this money by providing individuals with the  
            means to repay penalties."

           2)Current law  allows the court, in addition to any other penalty  
            in an infraction, misdemeanor or felony, to impose a civil  
            assessment of up to $300 against any defendant who fails to  
            appear in court for any proceeding, fails to pay any portion  
            of the fine ordered by the court, or fails to pay an  
            agreed-upon bail installment, as specified.

           3)Support  includes the Western Center on Law and Poverty, CA  
            Attorneys for Criminal Justice, East Bay Community Law Center,  
            and others.

           4)There is no known opposition  . 

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Geoff Long / APPR. / (916) 319-2081