New Law Allows Surcharges to be Waived for Individuals Under 21
A surcharge is a fee charged to every defendant upon a conviction in New York. Both the New York Penal Law and the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law authorizes surcharges for offenses committed under its laws. The amount of the surcharge depends on the convicted offense. Generally, the surcharge is mandatory, meaning that the Judge does not have discretion to waive the fee. The surcharge is payable to the Clerk of the Court generally within 60 days of the sentence. Failure to timely pay the surcharge could result in collateral consequences, like a civil judgment or the suspension of your driver’s license.
Effective August 24, 2020, judges now have the authority to waive surcharges and other fees for individuals who were under the age of 21 at the time the offense was committed. This authority has been granted under the addition of Subdivision (2-a) to Section 420.35 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law. In addition to being under the age of 21 at the time the offense was committed, in order for the judge to have the authority to waive the surcharge, the judge must find that the surcharge “would work an unreasonable hardship on the defendant, his or her immediate family, or any other person who is dependent on such defendant for financial support, or . . . the imposition of such surcharge or fee would adversely impact the defendant’s reintegration into society, or [the waiver is in] the interests of justice.”