Over the past 10+ years, legal fines have stayed fairly consistent when it came to criminal and juvenile justice systems. On June 25, 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law Senate File 457 (SF457) which alters criminal fines and fees, modifies some funds and revenue allocations, and includes sections related to restitution ordered in criminal cases. The legislation makes a number of significant changes to the manner in which restitution is determined and ordered, including:
• Requires specific restitution orders be immediately converted to “permanent restitution orders” within the meaning of the new legislation;
• Removes jail fees from criminal restitution and requires a county to seek reimbursement of jail fees through a separately filed civil case;
• Requires the court to develop a financial affidavit as a requirement for defendants to use in requesting an ability-to-pay determination from the court with respect to certain court-ordered restitution;
• Requires financial affidavits to be filed in cases beyond the case for which an ability-to-pay determination is requested, including every case in any Iowa district court that has an outstanding balance of restitution owed.
As per SF457, fines, in general, increased and surcharges decreased. For example:
For court costs in scheduled violation cases where a court appearance is/is not required is now $55.00 (down from $60.00).
Crime service surcharges are now 15% of the fine or forfeiture imposed (down from 35%). In the event of multiple offenses, the surcharge shall be based upon the total amount of fines or forfeitures imposed for all offenses. When a fine or forfeiture is suspended in whole or in part, the court shall reduce the surcharge in proportion to the amount suspended.
In addition to the surcharge, the court shall assess a domestic abuse assault, domestic abuse protective order contempt, sexual abuse, stalking, and human trafficking victim surcharge of $90 (down from $100) if adjudication of guilt or a deferred judgment has been entered for a violation of section 708.2A, 708.11, or 710A.2, or chapter 709, or if a defendant is held in contempt of court for violating a domestic abuse protective order issued pursuant to chapter 236.
Fines Specific to Misdemeanor and Felonies (minimum-maximum amounts):
- Class “C” felonies: $1,370-$13,660
- Class “D” felonies: $1,025-$10,245
- Simple Misdemeanor: $105-$855
- Serious Misdemeanor: $430-$2,560
- Aggravated Misdemeanor: $855-$8,540
Fines for Excessive Speed Violations:
- $30 (up from $20) for speeding not more than 5mph over the limit.
- $55 (up from $40) for speeding 5-10mph over the limit.
- $105 (up from $80) for speeding 10-15mph over the limit.
- $120 (up from $90) for speeding 15-20mph over the limit.
- $135 (up from $100) for speeding 20+mph over the limit plus $5 for each mph over 20mph over the limit.
Operating Violations – Proof of Financial Responsibility:
If in connection with a motor vehicle accident, a person is charged and found guilty of a violation of section 321.20B, subsection 1, the scheduled fine is $645 (up from $545); otherwise, the scheduled fine for a violation of section 321.20B, subsection 1, is $325 (up from $250).
The statement of pecuniary damages shall ordinarily be provided no later than 30 days after sentencing. However, a prosecuting attorney may file a statement of pecuniary damages within a reasonable time after the prosecuting attorney is notified by a victim of any pecuniary damages incurred. If a defendant believes no person suffered pecuniary damages, the defendant shall so state.
A permanent restitution order entered at the time of sentencing is part of the final judgment of sentence as defined in section 814.6 and shall be considered in a properly perfected appeal. A permanent restitution order may be superseded by subsequent orders if additional or different restitution is ordered. A permanent restitution order entered after the time of sentencing shall only be challenged pursuant to section 910.7.
Other Key Amendments from SF457:
For a volution of an ordinance, a county shall not provide a penalty in excess of the maximum fine and term of imprisonment for a simple misdemeanor.
“Installment agreement” means an agreement made for the payment of court debt in excess of $100 in installments.
The surcharges required by sections 911.1, 911.2A, and 911.5 shall be added to a fine imposed on a class “C” or class “D” felon, as provided by those sections, and are not a part of or subject to the maximums set in this section.
The surcharges required by sections 911.1, 911.2A, and 911.5 shall be added to a fine imposed on a misdemeanant as provided in those sections, and are not part of or subject to the maximums set in this section.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense and need representation, talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer today. Adam Pollack has been practicing law for over 20 years and will fight for your rights. Request your free consultation today.