42c9730.1s

§ 9730.1.  Collection of court costs, restitution and fines by private collection agency.

(a)  Generally.--In accordance with section 9730(b)(1) and (2) (relating to payment of court costs, restitution and fines), an issuing authority may refer the collection of costs, fines and restitution of a defendant to a private collection agency whether or not the defendant's maximum sentence or probationary term has expired with or without holding a hearing pursuant to this section. Such collection agency shall adhere to accepted practices in accordance with applicable Federal and State law to collect such costs, fines and restitution.

(b)  Contracts with private collection agencies.--

(1)  The president judge of the judicial district, county commissioner or designee of either may contract with private collection agencies for the collection of fines, costs and restitution in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(2)  The amount of the collection fee as negotiated between the president judge of the judicial district, county commissioner or designee of either and private collection agencies shall be added to the bill of costs to be paid by the defendant and shall not exceed 25% of the amount collected.

(3)  The funds secured from the defendant by the private collection agency in connection with the collection of fines, costs and restitution shall be distributed as follows:

(i)  The fee due the private collection agency shall be paid.

(ii)  The balance shall be distributed in accordance with the original distribution of fines, costs and restitution as set forth in the order of the court sentencing the defendant.

(c)  Limitations on private collection agencies.--For the purposes of this section, a private collection agency shall cease its efforts designed to collect fines, costs and restitution and so inform the court or the county commissioners upon the occurrence of any of the following:

(1)  the private collection agency considers the amount owing noncollectible;

(2)  a period of 48 months has elapsed since referral of the amount owing to the private collection agency and there has been no response by the defendant or collection of moneys; or

(3)  upon demand of a judge of the court of common pleas having jurisdiction over the defendant.

(d)  Imprisonment.--Nothing in this subchapter limits the ability of a judge to imprison a person for nonpayment, as provided by law; however, imprisonment for nonpayment shall not be imposed without a public hearing under section 9730(b)(1).

(e)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Amount owing."  The total amount owed by a defendant on fines, costs or restitution in accordance with the order of court sentencing the defendant and this section.

"Private collection agency."  A person, company, partnership or other entity that uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another under the applicable laws of the United States and of this Commonwealth.

42c9730.1v

(July 11, 1996, P.L.607, No.104, eff. 60 days; June 18, 1998, P.L.640, No.84, eff. 120 days; May 17, 2012, P.L.260, No.41, eff. 60 days)

 

2012 Amendment.  Act 41 amended subsec. (c).

1998 Amendment.  Act 84 amended subsec. (a).

1996 Amendment.  Act 104 added section 9730.1.

Cross References.  Section 9730.1 is referred to in section 9728 of this title; section 3020 of Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses).