Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mandatory minimum fines could be in dispute

For anyone that has a client that is subject to a “mandatory minimum fine”- which should be about everyone, the Kansas Supreme Court has granted my petition for review in State v. Raschke, (Case No. 98861) that asks the court to overrule State v. Shuster, 17 Kan. App. 2d 8, 8-9, 829 P.2d 925 (1992) (sentencing court only has to consider defendant’s ability to pay a fine when the fine is discretionary or exceeds the statutory minimum).

The issue is pretty simple. Under K.S.A. 21-4607(3), the court has to consider the defendant’s ability to pay any fine, not just those that are discretionary. So, any time a defendant is subject to a minimum fine (I’m thinking DUI cases especially), defense attorneys should be asking the court to consider the defendant’s ability to pay the fine.

[Update- On June 3, 2009, the KSC granted review of the DUI fine issue in State v. Copes, Case No. 99,403.]

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