FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone
House passes Caltagirone bill to help courts collect delinquent fines
HARRISBURG, Oct. 5 – The House has passed House Judiciary Committee Democratic Chairman Tom Caltagirone's legislation (H.B. 1025) to increase from $1,000 to $5,000 the total amount of unpaid fines, fees, costs and restitution in criminal cases that may be collected by civil courts.
Under current law, Caltagirone explained, when unpaid fines, costs or restitution in criminal cases total more than $1,000, civil courts are notified and are required to seek a civil judgment against the defendant. This facilitates the collection of delinquent payments through civil process if a term of probation or parole expires without full payment being made.
However, with the present $1,000 threshold, almost all criminal cases are required to be filed in civil courts, which was never the intent.
"Because this threshold has not been raised for some time to keep up with inflation, more and more cases are coming over from the Clerk of Courts and creating cumbersome backlogs in the Civil Court offices," Caltagirone, D-Berks, explained. "The only way we can cut down on that is to raise the threshold amount so it more appropriately reflects today's fines and fees.
"I introduced this bill at the request of the county Clerks of Court and Prothonotaries and appreciate the members of the House supporting the courts and this important increase," Caltagirone added.
Caltagirone said his bill would allow for an increase every three years to adjust for inflation and avoid the need for legislation every time circumstances require a need for the increase.
The bill now goes before the Senate for consideration.