The Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner has eliminated fines and fees for indigent defendants who meet the criteria laid out by a new city policy implemented in July 2019. We love hearing of these changes, as long as it does not affect service levels at the courts.
This could be great news to help prevent the Suspension Snowball in those most likely to get caught up with never ending fines and fees, as well as license suspension. To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be represented by the public defender, court-appointed counsel, pro bono counsel, or any free legal services organization
- Receive means-based public assistance
- Have an income at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (see chart below)
- Provide evidence that you are indigent
Federal Poverty Levels for 2019:
|# of People in Household||48 States & DC|
|For 9 or more, add per person >>||$4,420|
This means if your family of 4 is making less than $32,187.50/year, you could qualify to have certain fines and most fees waived.
“Waiving fines and fees can help indigent defendants afford transportation and other costs associated with employment, education and training programs, completing probation terms, and child or elder care,” Krasner stated.
Potential Relief for Indigent Defendants
The Philadelphia Defender Association liked the policy change and noted how these fines and fees can often lead to the Suspension Snowball effect we reference at License Restoration Services regularly.
“For people living just above the poverty line, fines and court fees become an obstacle to rehabilitation. They can trap people in a cycle of poverty and incarceration and effectively turn our jails into debtors’ prisons,” Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey of the Philadelphia Defender Association said.
Only time will tell if this policy change will result in help for those stuck in the system.
Even if you don’t qualify for relief based on this new policy, you can reach out to us to see if there are other ways we can help with your license issues.