§1109. Remedies for failure to pay

Link to law: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/04/029/01109
Published: 2015

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Title

04

:
Judiciary






Chapter

029

:
JUDICIAL BUREAU











 

§

1109. Remedies for failure to pay

(a) As used in

this section:

(1) "Amount

due" means all financial assessments contained in a Judicial Bureau

judgment, including penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other

assessment authorized by law.

(2)

"Designated collection agency" means a collection agency designated

by the Court Administrator.

(3) [Repealed.]

(b) A Judicial

Bureau judgment shall provide notice that a $30.00 fee shall be assessed for

failure to pay within 30 days. If the defendant fails to pay the amount due

within 30 days, the fee shall be added to the judgment amount and deposited in

the Court Technology Special Fund established pursuant to section 27 of this

title.

(c) Civil

contempt proceedings. If an amount due remains unpaid for 75 days after the

Judicial Bureau provides the defendant with a notice of judgment, the Judicial

Bureau may initiate civil contempt proceedings pursuant to this subsection.

(1) Notice of

hearing. The Judicial Bureau shall provide notice by first class mail sent to

the defendant's last known address that a contempt hearing will be held

pursuant to this subsection, and that failure to appear at the contempt hearing

may result in the sanctions listed in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2) Failure to

appear. If the defendant fails to appear at the contempt hearing, the hearing

officer may direct the clerk of the Judicial Bureau to do one or more of the

following:

(A) Cause the

matter to be reported to one or more designated collection agencies.

(B) Refer the

matter to the Criminal Division of the Superior Court for contempt proceedings.

(C) Provide

electronic notice thereof to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles who shall

suspend the person's operator's license or privilege to operate. However, the

person shall become eligible for reinstatement if the amount due is paid or

otherwise satisfied.

(3) Hearing. The

hearing shall be conducted in a summary manner. The hearing officer shall

examine the defendant and any other witnesses and may require the defendant to

produce documents relevant to the defendant's ability to pay the amount due.

The State or municipality shall not be a party except with the permission of

the hearing officer. The defendant may be represented by counsel at the

defendant's own expense.

(4) Contempt.

(A) The hearing

officer may conclude that the defendant is in contempt if the hearing officer

states in written findings a factual basis for concluding that:

(i) the

defendant knew or reasonably should have known that he or she owed an amount due

on a Judicial Bureau judgment;

(ii) the

defendant had the ability to pay all or any portion of the amount due; and

(iii) the

defendant failed to pay all or any portion of the amount due.

(B) In the

contempt order, the hearing officer may do one or more of the following:

(i) Set a date

by which the defendant shall pay the amount due.

(ii) Assess an

additional penalty not to exceed ten percent of the amount due.

(iii) Order that

the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles suspend the person's operator's license or privilege

to operate. However, the person shall become eligible for reinstatement if the

amount due is paid or otherwise satisfied.

(iv) Recommend

that the Criminal Division of the Superior Court incarcerate the defendant

until the amount due is paid. If incarceration is recommended pursuant to this

subdivision (4), the Judicial Bureau shall notify the Criminal Division of the

Superior Court that contempt proceedings should be commenced against the

defendant. The Criminal Division of the Superior Court proceedings shall be de

novo. If the defendant cannot afford counsel for the contempt proceedings in

the Criminal Division of the Superior Court, the Defender General shall assign

counsel at the Defender General's expense.

(d) Collections.

(1) If an amount

due remains unpaid after the issuance of a notice of judgment, the Court

Administrator may authorize the clerk of the Judicial Bureau to refer the

matter to a designated collection agency.

(2) The Court

Administrator or the Court Administrator's designee is authorized to contract

with one or more collection agencies for the purpose of collecting unpaid

Judicial Bureau judgments pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 7171.

(e) For purposes

of civil contempt proceedings, venue shall be statewide.

(f)

Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the Court Administrator is authorized to

contract with a third party to collect fines, penalties, and fees by credit

card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, stored value card, and direct bank

account withdrawals or transfers, as authorized by 32 V.S.A. § 583, and to add

on and collect, or charge against collections, a processing charge in an amount

approved by the Court Administrator. (Added 2007, No. 51, § 2; amended 2007,

No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 18; 2009, No. 154, § 238; 2013, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), §

1.)
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