(a) Every defendant shall be assessed a registration fee not to exceed fifty dollars ($50) when represented by appointed counsel. Notwithstanding this subdivision, no fee shall be required of any defendant that is financially unable to pay the fee.
(b) At the time of appointment of counsel by the court, or upon commencement of representation by the public defender, if prior to court appointment, the defendant shall be asked if he or she is financially able to pay the registration fee or any portion thereof. If the defendant indicates that he or she is able to pay the fee or a portion thereof, the court or public defender shall make an assessment in accordance with ability to pay. No fee shall be assessed against any defendant who asserts that he or she is unable to pay the fee or any portion thereof. No other inquiry concerning the defendant’s ability to pay shall be made until proceedings are held pursuant to Section 987.8.
(c) No defendant shall be denied the assistance of appointed counsel due solely to a failure to pay the registration fee. An order to pay the registration fee may be enforced in the manner provided for enforcement of civil judgments generally, but may not be enforced by contempt.
(d) The fact that a defendant has or has not been assessed a fee pursuant to this section shall have no effect in any later proceedings held pursuant to Section 987.8, except that the defendant shall be given credit for any amounts paid as a registration fee toward any lien or assessment imposed pursuant to Section 987.8.
(e) This section shall be operative in a county only upon the adoption of a resolution or ordinance by the board of supervisors electing to establish the registration fee and setting forth the manner in which the funds shall be collected and distributed. Collection procedures, accounting measures, and the distribution of the funds received pursuant to this section shall be within the discretion of the board of supervisors.
(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 606, Sec. 4. (SB 676) Effective January 1, 2010.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018