ABA guidelines call for right to counsel in fees/fines cases

08/07/2018, Bar Effort, Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

In August 2018, the American Bar Association adopted Resolution 114 (which confusingly is a different Resolution 114 than the one we authored that passed earlier this year).  It establishes 10 guidelines for the collection of fines and fees, and Guideline 8 reads:


An individual who is unable to afford counsel must be provided counsel, without cost, at any proceeding, including ability-to-pay hearings, where actual or eventual incarceration could be a consequence of nonpayment of fines and/or fees. Waiver of counsel must not be permitted unless the waiver is knowing, voluntary and intelligent, and the individual first has been offered a meaningful opportunity to confer with counsel capable of explaining the implications of pleading guilty, including collateral consequences. 


The ABA Journal has more.  This resolution is similar to another ABA Resolution 114, authored by the NCCRC and adopted earlier this year, that called for a right to counsel whenever physical liberty is at stake in any proceeding.