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OPD's Criminalizing Poverty Blog

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Louisiana Law Eases Burden of Court-Imposed Financial Obligations on Those who Cannot Pay

Louisiana House Bill 249, signed into law June 15, 2017, amended the previous procedure for imposing financial obligations on criminal defendants.
 
Under the new law, Louisiana courts must determine an individual's ability to pay court fines, fees, and costs, and provide alternatives when financial obligations impose substantial hardship. Courts can fully or partially waive financial obligations, order a monthly payment plan, or provide payment alternatives such as job training or community service.
 
The law states that, "financial obligations in excess of what an offender can reasonably pay undermine the primary purpose of the justice system which is to deter criminal behavior and encourage compliance with the law. Financial obligations that cause undue hardship on the offender should be waived, modified, or forgiven."
 
Read the full text of the law here.


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