What are the different types of court ordered debt?

There are three main types of court-ordered debt: (1) restitution; (2) fines and penalties; and (3) administrative fees. (You may also have debt from unpaid traffic fines and tickets. These are discussed later in this Chapter, on PG. 662). It can be hard to keep track of the different types of debt; this chart gives an overview of the important information about each one.

TYPES OF COURT ORDERED DEBT

NAME OF COURT-ORDERED DEBT

PURPOSE OF THE DEBT

CAN THE DEBT BE FORGIVEN OR REDUCED?

CAN THE DEBT BE A CONDITION OF MY SUPERVISION?

WHAT YOU MAY SEE ON YOUR BILL

RESTITUTION:

(1) VICTIM RESTITUTION
(PG. 655)

TO repay the victim of a crime for the harm HE OR SHE suffered.

NO. CANNOT BE FORGIVEN OR REDUCED.[2119]

YES. MANDATORY.[2120]

Victim Restitution; Restitution Fine;

Direct orders of Restitution

RESTITUTION:

(2) RESTITUTION FINES
(PG. 655)

TO repay your debt to society

MAY BE FORGIVEN OR REDUCED IN EXCHANGE FOR community service.

YES.[2121]

Restitution Fine; Probation Revocation Restitution Fine;

Hate Crime Restitution;

Emergency Response Costs Restitution

COURT FINES & PENALTIES
(PG. 656)

FINANCIAL punishment for your CRIMINAL CONVICTION

YES, BUT THE Judge GETS TO DECIDE BASED ON YOUR REHABIlITATION EFFORTS.

YES, BUT THE JUDGE GETS TO DECIDE.[2122]

Domestic Violence Fund Payment;

Alcohol Abuse Education & Prevention Penalty Assessment

ADMINISTRATIVE FEES
(PG. 656)

to pay for the costs of running the courts and OTHER criminal justice AGENCIES

YES. USUALLY THE FIRST TYPE OF DEBT TO BE FORGIVEN OR REDUCED.

SOME ARE BASED ONLY ON your ABILITY TO PAY.

NO,[2123] WITH ONE EXCEPTION: Criminal Justice Administration Fee (“JAIL BOOKING” FEE).[2124]

Probation Supervision Costs;

Administrative Screening Fee;

Criminal Justice Administration Fee

TRAFFIC FINES & FEES
(PG. 662)

See Traffic fines section on PG. 662

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE NAMES & PURPOSES OF COURT-ORDERED DEBTS: The names for different types of court-ordered debt can be confusing. The chart above tries to explain the four basic types of court-ordered debt, but the names you see on your actual court paperwork or “sentencing order” may be different. For example, sometimes the same word (for example, “fee” or “assessment”) is used to mean different things by different courts in different counties. If you have any questions about your court-ordered debts and what they mean, ask your public defender or the lawyer who represented you in your case. Because each type of court-ordered debt has a different purpose, you will probably owe different types of debt (restitution, fines, AND fees)—even if you have only one conviction. If you have more than one conviction, you will likely owe separate sets of court-ordered debt for each conviction.

  1. 2119

    Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(b)(13) (Marsy’s Law).

  2. 2120

    Cal. Penal Code § 1202.4(m) (restitution payments are a mandatory condition of probation.)

  3. 2121

    See Cal. Penal Code §§ 422.85, 1203.1(e), 1214.5 (examples of restitution fines that may be ordered as conditions of probation).

  4. 2122

    Cal. Penal Code § 1203.097(a)(5)) (domestic violence fine); Cal. Veh. Code § 23645 (DUI fines).

  5. 2123

    See People v. Pacheco, 187 Cal. App. 4th 1392, 1402-03 (2010) (collateral, non-punitive fines and fees are not permissible as conditions of probation; court security fee not permissible condition of probation); People v. Hart, 65 Cal. App. 4th 902, 906-07 (1998) (attorneys’ fees and probation costs not permissible conditions of probation); People v. Flores, 169 Cal. App. 4th 568, 578 (2003) (costs of probation supervision, presentence investigation, and attorneys’ fees not permissible conditions of probation).

  6. 2124

    Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 29550(c), 29550.1, 29550.2.