TRENTON – By a vote of 75-1-0, the Assembly approved a bill Monday that would let New Jersey courts assign community service as penalties for certain crimes in lieu of monetary fines.
Under current law, a municipal judge can only order an offender to perform community service after they have failed to pay a penalty or defaulted on a payment plan. The bill (A-3254) would allow municipal judges the discretion to award a community service penalty instead of a fine as an initial penalty.
“Some offenders simply cannot afford to pay a fine, no matter the amount,” said Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen), who sponsored the proposed legislation. “For others, no fine – no matter the amount – will be enough to deter them from committing a crime. For these individuals, the threat of losing their free time to court-mandated community service may serve as a much better deterrent.”
The bill was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee earlier this month. It now heads to the state Senate for further consideration.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!