Create Community Justice Centers
We strongly recommend that municipalities institute some form of community justice center that operates in conjunction with the municipal court for individuals charged with traffic violations and other types of violations who are unable to pay or otherwise in need. This community-based, municipal justice approach could include case management and social work services, providing judges…
Provide Municipal Court Support Services
Municipal courts shall retain the services of dedicated personnel (e.g., social workers, community service coordinators, through a community justice center or otherwise) for the provision of social services, diversion options, and other alternatives to traditional sentencing to all municipal defendants who choose or are determined to require such services.
Establish Alternative Sentences Options
Municipal courts shall establish effective alternatives to jail time, fines, and fees for violations of municipal ordinances, including payment plans and community service.
Close Records of Non-Violent Offenses by Minors
All non-violent offenses by minors shall be treated as closed juvenile records.
Determine Defendants’ Ability to Pay
To keep from assessing a fine or fee that a defendant simply cannot afford, municipal courts shall determine a defendant’s ability to pay at the defendant’s first court hearing
Eliminate Punitive Impounding of Vehicles
In the event of arrest, municipal courts shall allow owners of legally-compliant vehicles a reasonable number of hours to have their vehicle moved by a licensed and capable driver in lieu of impounding the vehicle as a punitive measure. Penalties associated with immediate impoundment are disproportionately burdensome on poor and impoverished residents and are not…