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The Florida Statutes

The 2004 Florida Statutes

Title V
JUDICIAL BRANCH
Chapter 28
CLERKS OF THE CIRCUIT COURTS
View Entire Chapter
Section 28.246, Florida Statutes 2004

28.246  Payment of court-related fees, charges, and costs; partial payments; distribution of funds.--

(1)  Beginning July 1, 2003, the clerk of the circuit court shall report the following information to the Legislature and the Clerk of Court Operations 1Conference on a form developed by the Department of Financial Services:

(a)  The total amount of mandatory fees, service charges, and costs; the total amount actually assessed; the total amount discharged, waived, or otherwise not assessed; and the total amount collected.

(b)  The amount of discretionary fees, service charges, and costs assessed; the total amount discharged; and the total amount collected.

(c)  The total amount of mandatory fines and other monetary penalties; the total amount assessed; the total amount discharged, waived, or otherwise not assessed; and the total amount collected.

(d)  The amount of discretionary fines and other monetary penalties assessed; the amount discharged; and the total amount collected.

If provided to the clerk of court by the judge, the clerk, in reporting the amount assessed, shall separately identify the amount assessed pursuant to s. 938.30 as community service; assessed by reducing the amount to a judgment or lien; satisfied by time served; or other. The form developed by the Chief Financial Officer shall include separate entries for recording these amounts. The clerk shall submit the report on a quarterly basis 30 days after the end of the quarter for the period from July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004, and on an annual basis thereafter, 60 days after the end of the county fiscal year.

(2)  The clerk of the circuit court shall establish and maintain a system of accounts receivable for court-related fees, charges, and costs.

(3)  Court costs, fines, and other dispositional assessments shall be enforced by order of the courts, collected by the clerks of the circuit and county courts, and disbursed in accordance with authorizations and procedures as established by general law.

(4)  The clerk of the circuit court shall accept partial payments for court-related fees, service charges, costs, and fines in accordance with the terms of an established payment plan. An individual seeking to defer payment of fees, service charges, costs, or fines imposed by operation of law or order of the court under any provision of general law, and determined by the court to be unable to make payment in full, shall be enrolled by the clerk in a payment program, with periodic payment amounts corresponding to the individual's ability to pay.

(5)  When receiving partial payment of fees, service charges, court costs, and fines, clerks shall distribute funds according to the following order of priority:

(a)  That portion of fees, service charges, court costs, and fines to be remitted to the state for deposit into the General Revenue Fund.

(b)  That portion of fees, service charges, court costs, and fines which are required to be retained by the clerk of the court or deposited into the Clerks of the Court Trust Fund.

(c)  That portion of fees, service charges, court costs, and fines payable to state trust funds, allocated on a pro rata basis among the various authorized funds if the total collection amount is insufficient to fully fund all such funds as provided by law.

(d)  That portion of fees, service charges, court costs, and fines payable to counties, municipalities, or other local entities, allocated on a pro rata basis among the various authorized recipients if the total collection amount is insufficient to fully fund all such recipients as provided by law.

To offset processing costs, clerks may impose either a per-month service charge pursuant to s. 28.24(26)(b) or a one-time administrative processing service charge at the inception of the payment plan pursuant to s. 28.24(26)(c).

(6)  A clerk of court may pursue the collection of any fees, service charges, fines, court costs, and liens for the payment of attorney's fees and costs pursuant to s. 938.29 which remain unpaid for 90 days or more, or refer the account to a private attorney who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar or collection agent who is registered and in good standing pursuant to chapter 559. In pursuing the collection of such unpaid financial obligations through a private attorney or collection agent, the clerk of the court must have attempted to collect the unpaid amount through a collection court, collections docket, or other collections process, if any, established by the court, find this to be cost-effective and follow any applicable procurement practices. The collection fee, including any reasonable attorney's fee, paid to any attorney or collection agent retained by the clerk may be added to the balance owed in an amount not to exceed 40 percent of the amount owed at the time the account is referred to the attorney or agent for collection.

History.--s. 34, ch. 2003-402; s. 21, ch. 2004-265.

1Note.--The Clerk of Court Operations Conference was replaced by the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation by s. 23, ch. 2004-265.

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