CCRP 875.1     

Art. 875.1. Determination of substantial financial hardship to the defendant

            A. The purpose of imposing financial obligations on an offender who is convicted of a criminal offense is to hold the offender accountable for his action, to compensate victims for any actual pecuniary loss or costs incurred in connection with a criminal prosecution, to defray the cost of court operations, and to provide services to offenders and victims. These financial obligations should not create a barrier to the offender's successful rehabilitation and reentry into society. 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. Creating a payment plan for the offender that is based upon the ability to pay, results in financial obligations that the offender is able to comply with and often results in more money collected. Offenders who are consistent in their payments and in good faith try to fulfill their financial obligations should be rewarded for their efforts.

            B. For purposes of this Article, "financial obligations" shall include any fine, fee, cost, restitution, or other monetary obligation authorized by this Code or by the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950 and imposed upon the defendant as part of a criminal sentence, incarceration, or as a condition of the defendant's release on probation or parole.

            C.(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, prior to ordering the imposition or enforcement of any financial obligations as defined by this Article, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine whether payment in full of the aggregate amount of all the financial obligations to be imposed upon the defendant would cause substantial financial hardship to the defendant or his dependents. The court may consider, among other factors, whether any victim of the crime has incurred a substantial financial hardship as a result of the criminal act or acts and whether the defendant is employed. The court may delay the hearing to determine substantial financial hardship for a period not to exceed ninety days, in order to permit either party to submit relevant evidence.

            (2) The defendant or the court may waive the judicial determination of a substantial financial hardship required by the provisions of this Paragraph. If the court waives the hearing on its own motion, the court shall provide reasons, entered upon the record, for its determination that the defendant is capable of paying the fines, fees, and penalties imposed without causing a substantial financial hardship.

            D.(1) If the court determines that payment in full of the aggregate amount of all financial obligations imposed upon the defendant would cause substantial financial hardship to the defendant or his dependents, the court shall do either of the following:

            (a) Waive all or any portion of the financial obligations, except as provided in Paragraph E of this Article.

            (b) Order a payment plan that requires the defendant to make a monthly payment to fulfill the financial obligations.

            (2)(a) The amount of each monthly payment for the payment plan ordered pursuant to the provisions of Subsubparagraph (1)(b) of this Paragraph shall be determined by the court after considering all relevant factors, including but not limited to the defendant's average gross daily income for an eight-hour work day.

            (b) If the court has ordered restitution, half of the defendant's monthly payment shall be distributed toward the defendant's restitution obligation.

            (c) Except as provided in Paragraph E of this Article, during any periods of unemployment, homelessness, or other circumstances in which the defendant is unable to make the monthly payment, the court or the defendant's probation and parole officer is authorized to impose a payment alternative, including but not limited to substance abuse treatment, education, job training, or community service.

            (3) If, after the initial determination of the defendant's ability to fulfill his financial obligations, the defendant's circumstances and ability to pay his financial obligations change, the state, the defendant, or the defendant's attorney may file a motion with the court to reevaluate the defendant's circumstances and determine, in the same manner as the initial determination, whether a modification of the monthly financial obligation imposed pursuant to this Article is appropriate under the circumstances.

            E. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article or any other provision of law to the contrary, a court may not waive nor forgive restitution due to a crime victim unless the victim to whom restitution is due consents to such an action.

            F. If, at the termination or end of the defendant's term of supervision, any restitution ordered by the court remains outstanding, the balance of the unpaid restitution shall be reduced to a civil money judgment in favor of the person to whom restitution is owed, which may be enforced in the same manner as provided for the execution of judgments in the Code of Civil Procedure. For any civil money judgment ordered under this Article, the clerk shall send notice of the judgment to the last known address of the person to whom the restitution is ordered to be paid.

            G. The provisions of this Article shall apply only to defendants convicted of offenses classified as felonies under applicable law.

            H. Notwithstanding any provision of this Article or any other law to the contrary, if the financial obligations imposed upon a defendant would cause substantial financial hardship to the defendant or his dependents, the court shall not order that the defendant be incarcerated for his inability to meet those financial obligations. This provision shall apply to defendants convicted of traffic offenses, misdemeanor offenses, or felonies under applicable law.

            Acts 2022, No. 219, §§1, 2; Acts 2022, No. 391, §§1, 2.