2018 Bills

HB 336: Limiting Fees on Fines

This bill passed the House 71-2 and the Senate unanimously.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it is aligned with our principles and merits support.

If an individual forgets to pay a fine or is not in a financial position to do so, their outstanding fine can grow due to potential late fees. What was once a $20 parking ticket could become a $200 debt to the state, along with a bench warrant issued for the person’s arrest. This is an unnecessary escalation of punishment considering the initial fine likely came from something minor.

Although a late penalty is acceptable, it should not grow so large as to be debilitating to an individual. To address this, Representative Dan McCay has introduced House Bill 336. If passed, the bill would place a 25% limit on additional fines and interest that can be imposed at each step in the process, thereby reducing the aggregate amount imposed as a heavy burden upon those who often cannot afford to pay such large sums.

Utahns should not have to pay double or even triple the number of their fines just because they were late on payments. Although the courts may still issue a warrant, charging more and more money for people who likely cannot pay a fine due to financial difficulty is unnecessary and unfair to the individual.