Rule 706. Fines or Costs.
(A) A court shall not commit the defendant to prison for failure to pay a fine or costs unless it appears after hearing that the defendant is financially able to pay the fine or costs.
(B) When the court determines, after hearing, that the defendant is without the financial means to pay the fine or costs immediately or in a single remittance, the court may provide for payment of the fines or costs in such installments and over such period of time as it deems to be just and practicable, taking into account the financial resources of the defendant and the nature of the burden its payments will impose, as set forth in paragraph (D) below.
(C) The court, in determining the amount and method of payment of a fine or costs shall, insofar as is just and practicable, consider the burden upon the defendant by reason of the defendants financial means, including the defendants ability to make restitution or reparations.
(D) In cases in which the court has ordered payment of a fine or costs in installments, the defendant may request a rehearing on the payment schedule when the defendant is in default of a payment or when the defendant advises the court that such default is imminent. At such hearing, the burden shall be on the defendant to prove that his or her financial condition has deteriorated to the extent that the defendant is without the means to meet the payment schedule. Thereupon the court may extend or accelerate the payment schedule or leave it unaltered, as the court finds to be just and practicable under the circumstances of record. When there has been default and the court finds the defendant is not indigent, the court may impose imprisonment as provided by law for nonpayment.
See generally Commonwealth ex rel. Benedict v. Cliff, 451 Pa. 427, 304 A.2d 158 (1973).
Under this rule, when a defendant fails to pay the fine and costs, the common pleas court judge may issue a bench warrant for the collection of the fine and costs. When a failure to pay bench warrant is issued, the bench warrant must be executed by a police officer following the procedures set forth in Rule 431(C)(1)(c) and (C)(2), or, if the defendant is unable to pay, the police officer must proceed as provided in Rule 150 (Bench Warrants).
Nothing in this rule is intended to abridge any rights the Commonwealth may have in a civil proceeding to collect a fine or costs.
For suspension of Acts of Assembly, see Rule 1101(F).
Rule 1407 approved July 23, 1973, effective 90 days hence; renumbered Rule 706 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised March 9, 2006, effective August 1, 2006.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Courts Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).
Final Report explaining the March 9, 2006 Comment revision concerning fine and cost warrants published with the Courts Order at 36 Pa.B. 1396 (March 25, 2006).
The provisions of this Rule 706 amended March 9, 2006, effective August 1, 2006, 36 Pa.B. 1396. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (311772) to (311773).
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