Assembly Advances Bill To Allow Judges To Impose Community Service Only Penalties Instead Of Fines

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Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson

Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson

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.

 


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