Maine Revised Statutes

§3141. Scope and procedure

1. Applicability.  The procedures established by this chapter:
A. Apply to all monetary fines, surcharges and assessments, however designated, imposed by a court:
(1) In a civil violation or traffic infraction proceeding; or
(2) As part of a sentence for a criminal conviction; [1999, c. 743, §3 (NEW).]
B. Must be utilized, to the maximum extent possible, to obtain prompt and full payment of all such fines, surcharges and assessments; and [1999, c. 743, §3 (NEW).]
C. Are in addition to, and not in lieu of, those otherwise authorized by law. [1999, c. 743, §3 (NEW).]
As used in this chapter, "fine" includes any surcharge or assessment required by law to be imposed as all or part of a sentence for a criminal conviction and any other costs or other fees the court assesses or imposes against a defendant in any civil or criminal adjudication, including appointed counsel fees and restitution.
[ 1999, c. 743, §3 (RPR) .]
2. Notice to defendant. 
[ 2007, c. 475, §1 (RP) .]
3. Immediate payment.  When a court has imposed a fine, as described in subsection 1, the imposition of such a fine constitutes an order to pay the full amount of the fine in accordance with this chapter. Following imposition of the fine, the court shall inform the defendant that full payment of the fine is due immediately and shall inquire of the defendant what arrangements the defendant has made to comply with the court's order to pay the fine. Without utilizing the provisions of subsection 4, the court may allow the defendant a period of time, not to extend beyond the time of the close of the clerk's office on that day, within which to return to the court and tender payment of the fine. If the defendant fails to appear as directed, the court shall issue a civil order of arrest. The arrest order must be carried out by the sheriff as a civil order of arrest is carried out under section 3135. If the underlying offense involves any violation of Title 23, section 1980; Title 28-A, section 2052; or Title 29-A, the court shall also, upon the defendant's failure to appear, suspend the defendant's license or permit to operate motor vehicles in this State and the right to apply for or obtain a license or permit to operate a motor vehicle in this State.
If the defendant claims an inability to pay the fine, the court shall inquire into the defendant's ability to pay and shall make a determination of the defendant's financial ability to pay the fine. If the court finds that the defendant has the financial ability to make immediate payment of the fine in full, the court shall order the defendant to pay the fine. Failure or refusal to pay as ordered by the court subjects the defendant to the contempt procedures provided in section 3142.
[ 1995, c. 65, Pt. A, §39 (AMD); 1995, c. 65, Pt. A, §153 (AFF); 1995, c. 65, Pt. C, §15 (AFF) .]
4. Installment payments.  If the court concludes that the defendant has the ability to pay the fine, but that requiring the defendant to make immediate payment in full would cause a severe and undue hardship for the defendant and the defendant's dependents, the court may authorize payment of the fine by means of installment payments in accordance with this subsection. When a court authorizes payment of a fine by means of installment payments, it shall issue, without a separate disclosure hearing, an order that the fine be paid in full by a date certain, that the defendant has a legal duty to move the court for a modification of time or method of payment to avoid a default and that in default of payment the defendant must appear in court to explain the failure to pay.
In fixing the date of payment, the court shall issue an order that will complete payment of the fine as promptly as possible without creating a severe and undue hardship for the defendant and the defendant's dependents.
[ 2007, c. 475, §2 (AMD) .]
5. Appointment of agent.  Any defendant who has been authorized by the court to pay a fine by installments shall be considered to have irrevocably appointed the clerk of the court as his agent upon whom all papers affecting his liability may be served.
[ 1987, c. 414, §2 (NEW) .]
6. Ability to pay the fine.  "Ability to pay" means that the resources of the defendant and his dependents, including all available income and resources, are sufficient to provide the defendant and his dependents with a reasonable subsistence compatible with health and decency.
[ 1987, c. 414, §2 (NEW) .]
7. Remedies.  Failure to pay by the date fixed by the court's order or an amended order subjects the defendant to the contempt procedures provided in section 3142, suspensions under Title 29-A, section 2605, and all procedures for collections provided for in sections 3127-A, 3127-B, 3131, 3132, 3134, 3135 and 3136. An installment agreement under this section must be considered an agreement under section 3125, and a court order to pay under section 3126-A. In addition to other penalties provided by law, the court may impose on the defendant reasonable costs for any failure to appear.
[ 1999, c. 587, §9 (AMD) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1987, c. 414, §2 (NEW). 1987, c. 708, §§11,12 (AMD). 1989, c. 875, §§E17,18 (AMD). 1991, c. 548, §A4 (AMD). 1991, c. 806, §4 (AMD). 1995, c. 65, §§A39,40 (AMD). 1995, c. 65, §§A153,C15 (AFF). 1999, c. 587, §9 (AMD). 1999, c. 743, §3 (AMD). 2007, c. 475, §§1, 2 (AMD).