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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS  

1) What courts are affected by HB1EX?
According to O.C.G.A. § 15-21A-3 as enacted by HB1EX, the term ‘court’ means all trial courts within this state including, but not limited to, superior, juvenile, state, magistrate, probate, municipal, and special courts, whether called mayor’s courts, recorders courts, police courts, civil courts, traffic courts or miscellaneous courts or any other trial court created in this state under any other name. Therefore, all courts are impacted by the enactment of HB1EX although there are some specific exceptions.
2) Where will we remit the monies collected for funds subject to HB1EX such as the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund?
Those monies collected, as well as others listed in O.C.G.A. § 15-21A-3 of HB 1EX will be remitted to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority, Fines and Fees Division, P.O. Box 29645, Atlanta, GA 30359. Those funds are Brain & Spinal Injury Trust Fund; Crime Lab Fee; Children’s Trust Fund; Crime Victims Emergency Fund; Indigent Defense Application Fund; Local Victim’s Assistance Program; Peace Officers, Prosecutors and Indigent Defense Fund, Probation Supervision Fee-State.
3) Are traffic fines subject to the new law?
They are generally no different than any other criminal fine. All applicable surcharges must be assessed and paid out according to HB 1 EX. Please note however that the Attorney General has issued an Unofficial Opinion (U2005 – 4) wherein it is concluded that the additional penalties under OCGA 15-21-73(a) do not apply to cases in which the civil monetary penalty under OCGA 40-6-20(f)(3)(A) is imposed. GSCCCA has received legal advice that under the reasoning of 2005 Op.Att’y Gen. U05-4 the additional penalties under OCGA 15-21-131 and 15-21-179 also do not apply to cases in which the civil monetary penalty under OCGA 40-6-20(f)(3)(A) is imposed and that the same conclusion applies to the civil monetary penalties provided for in OCGA 40-6-327 and 40-5-159.
4) When should I have started collecting the new $15 filing fee on civil cases?
Upon the signature of the bill by the Governor. The bill was signed June 15, 2004.
5) What is the additional amount on criminal fines imposed by HB1EX?
According to O.C.G.A. § 15-21-73 as amended by HB1EX, for every state court, probate court, juvenile court, police, recorders or mayor’s court, municipal court or superior court, the amount is 10% in addition to the amount collected for what used to be the Peace Officers Training fund, (which is now called Peace Officer, Prosecutor and Indigent Defense Fund). For example, on a $100 fine you will collect two amounts for POPIDF: the lesser of $50 or 10% of the original fine, PLUS an additional 10% of the original fine amount. Both amounts are payable to GSCCCA. In the example, you would collect a total of $20 for POPIDF.

One thing to note, the additional penalty does not apply to cases where the offense was committed prior to the effective date of the HB1EX.

6) We have been holding all fines until paid in full. Do those monies have to be paid out to beneficiaries on July 1?
Yes, O.C.G.A § 15-21A-4(a)(1) as enacted by HB1EX, provides that on or after July 1 all partial payments must be paid out by the last day of the month following the month in which they are collected
7) I have heard it is a felony if I fail to remit monies in a timely manner. Is this correct?
O.C.G.A § 15-21A-8 as enacted by HB1EX provides that: any clerk of court or any other officer or agent receiving any funds subject to this chapter who knowingly fails to pay over any such funds to the authority as required by this chapter, after receiving notice from the authority that such funds are delinquent, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, except that if the amount of funds knowingly not paid over is $10,000 or more then such person shall be guilty of a felony and punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years.
8) As clerk of juvenile court my responsibility is to make sure all fees are assessed and collected. I am a bit confused about the Law Library fee. I have been told that the Law Library fee is deducted from the base fine. I have always added our $4.00 Law Library fee to the base fine. Which is correct and can you list the appropriate code sections?
Under O.C.G.A. § 36-15-9, the law library fee is "in addition to all other legal costs". Therefore it is generally a tack-on. Under O.C.G.A. § 15-6-77(b), in superior court, the amount under O.C.G.A. § 36-15-9 is included in the total cost, so in superior court civil, it is deducted from the base fee, but in other courts it is added as a surcharge to the base fee. However, for criminal fines, it is a surcharge for all courts. It should also be noted that, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 36-15-9(a), if the costs are not collected in a criminal case, the amount for the county law library is "paid from the fines and forfeitures fund of the court in which the case is filed, before any other disbursement or distribution of such fines or forfeitures is made."
9) When is the bill expected to be signed by the Governor?
The bill was signed on June 15, 2004.
10) What fees go into effect upon the bill’s signing by the Governor?
  1. The $15 civil filing fee goes into effect on signing of the governor.
  2. The bond surcharges of 10% up to $50 for ID go into effect on signing of the governor.
  3. The 10% with no cap criminal surcharge on fines and court costs goes into effect on signing of the governor, but is effective based on the date of the offense, and not the date of the court appearance or adjudication.
  4. The new Indigent Defense (ID) application fee of $50 goes into effect on July 1, 2004 for all courts. We are in discussion about how they apply to Superior and Juvenile with the ID Council and Attorney General, but all courts can collect the ID fee beginning July 1, and can retain the money locally, except for Superior and Juvenile courts. The issue with the funds collected for Superior and Juvenile, is if there are no ID services provided by the ID Council offered until Jan 2005, then it may be that the county can retain those funds collected for Superior and Juvenile until such services are provided. We are looking at this now. THE REASON TO BEGIN ACTING ON THE BILL AT 12:01 A.M. ON THE DAY FOLLOWING THE DAY OF SIGNING IS AS FOLLOWS:
    Any legal challenges to the bill with regard to the surcharges will likely come from someone having to pay the surcharges. The courts and clerks need to be sure they have the authority to collect the new surcharges before they start collecting them. The best way to insure that we are collecting within the law is by beginning to collect the funds on the next day after signing at 12:01 A.M. We can be somewhat uniform by doing so and no one risks being premature with the collections
11) Does the new $15 civil filing fee apply to applications for firearms and applications for criminal warrants?
No. It doesn’t apply in either case.
12) Now that HB1EX is signed can you tell us what fines and fees are effective now?
  1. 10% criminal fine surcharge is effective on or after the effective date of the bill;
  2. New bond surcharge (additional amount which is the lesser of an additional $50 or 10% of the original amount of the bond or bond shall be posted) is effective on or after the effective date;
  3. The $15 civil filing fee is effective on civil filings filed on or after the effective date.
13) Does the new $15 civil filing fee apply to marriage licenses also?
No. There is an existing additional $15.00 fee imposed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-9-60.1 for issuing a marriage license. As of July 1, that fee will be remitted by the probate courts to the GSCCCA rather than the Revenue Commissioner. This was effective upon the signature of HB1EX by the Governor on June 15, so monies collected from that date to the end of June will be sent to the GSCCCA.
14) If we are not to add the new charges to offenses that were committed before the signing of the HBIEX bill, why should we collect the new charges on bonds? Bonds that are being posted now are on offenses that happened before the bill was signed.
O.C.G.A. § 15-21-73(a)(2)(A) and (B) apply to bonds written on or after the effective date. See 1990 Op. Att'y Gen. U90-4.
15) Are the new fees for bonds rolled into the bond itself?
The process has not changed from before. There is merely a new 10% or $50 added to the old 10% or $50. So, when a bond is posted, all the fees associated with the bond are calculated and rolled into the bond, but the fees are never paid unless the bond is forfeited. See O.C.G.A. § 15-21-73(a)(2).
16) Should the new $15 civil filing fee be imposed where a clerk is requested to issue a fi.fa.?
No. The issuance of a fi.fa. is a service.
17) Concerning the money I send to GSCCCA, when is it due?
The monies sent to GSCCCA are due no later than the last day of the month following the month in which you collected the money. So if you collected money from a traffic offense July 7, it would be due to be remitted to GSCCCA no later than August 31.
18) Do I collect the additional POPIDF fee on a transfer of a case from any court?
No. The $50 Uniform Transfer Rule is the only fee that applies.
19) Has a Partial Payment Priority Distribution list been adopted for all courts other than Superior and State?
Yes. In a cooperative effort between the GSCCCA and the Council of Municipal Court Judges, Council of Magistrate Court Judges and Council of Probate Court Judges, the GSCCCA Board of Directors has adopted a partial payment priority distribution list for those courts. Click Here to see the list
20) Has a Partial Payment Priority Distribution list been adopted for Superior and State Courts?
Yes. In a cooperative effort between the GSCCCA and clerk leadership, the GSCCCA Board of Directors has adopted a partial payment distribution list for Superior and State Courts. Click Here to see the list
21) When must I begin using the partial payment priority distribution lists?
July 16, 2004, the effective date the list was adopted by the GSCCCA Board of Directors.
22) Do we add any of the HB1EX surcharges to seat belt violations?
No. According to the advice we have been given by the Attorney General’s office, O.C.G.A. 40-8-76.1(e)(2) appears to specifically prohibit adding any additional penalty, fee or surcharge to the $15 fine for failure to wear a seat safety belt.
23) What form should I submit with my payment to GSCCCA for the month of August?
For the remittances that your court makes to the GSCCCA for the month of August, you may use any form previously used, although we highly encourage you to use the new Consolidated Form. Beginning with your September remittance, the GSCCCA will REQUIRE all courts to use the new consolidated form.
24) What form should I submit to the GSCCCA for the funds I remit to agencies other than the GSCCCA?
Effective immediately, please begin using the Monthly Disbursements Report to report to the GSCCCA all funds remitted to agencies other than the GSCCCA. For your August filing, you would include disbursements made in July.
25) How will Senate Bill 226 which was recently passed by the State legislators impact my court and the way I assess fines and fees?
SB 226 (also known as Joshua’s law) was passed by the State legislators in March 2005 in an effort to help fund Driver Education and Training programs. Section 2 of SB 226 shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval and shall apply to ALL traffic offenses committed on and after such date. SB 226 creates a new surcharge of 5% which is applicable to any violation of the traffic laws of this state as noted in OCGA 15-21-179. OCGA 15-21-180 provides that any such funds collected by the court in one month are to be "remitted" to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority by the last day of the following month. Partial payments collected on such fines are to be disbursed in accordance with OCGA 15-6-95 and sections 7.12 and 7.13 of the GSCCCA Rules and Regulations. SB 226 does provide guidance as to where in the priority schedule the new surcharge will fall by amending OCGA 15-6-95. However, the portion of the Bill (section 1) dealing with such priority does not take effect until January 1, 2007. Therefore, the GSCCCA Board of Directors has approved that the new surcharge be listed last on the priority schedules until the effective date of Section 1. A new line item has been included on the "Consolidated Monthly Remittance Report" to accommodate the remitting and reporting of this new surcharge. SB 226 was signed by Governor Perdue on May 10th. Click Here to see a memo which was sent out to all courts regarding the implementation of SB 226, Joshua’s Law.
26) I have unclaimed restitution that is over two years old. Where do I send these funds?
After two years, if restitution is still unclaimed, these funds are to be turned over to Crime Victim's Emergency Fund. Click here for procedures to remit unclaimed restitution per the CJCC.


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