The act modifies the procedures by requiring notice to a defendant that if he or she is unable to pay:
- The defendant may appear in court and request a reduction in the amount or an alternative sentence that does not involve incarceration; and
- The court will not jail or otherwise punish the defendant for his or her inability to pay.
The act also prohibits a court from:
- Accepting a guilty plea for contempt of court for failure to pay unless the court finds that the defendant has the ability to pay and the payment will not be an undue hardship on the defendant or the defendant's dependents; or
- Issuing a warrant for failure to pay money or to appear when ordered to pay money unless the existing procedural provisions are followed.
The act specifies what undue hardship means and lists items a court shall consider in determining undue hardship.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)