News & Resources

Lack of resources forces NH courts to cease arrest warrants for small fines

Aug 20, 2011 Mike Garretson

Chief of the New Hampshire superior courts Judge Tina Nadeau recently did away with arrest orders for residents who owe less than $200 in fines or restitution, the Concord Monitor reports. Previously, those who failed to pay or fell behind in compensation received a letter warning them that they faced arrest. However, processing an arrest is costly and consumes crucial court time that could be used for more pressing matters. Nadeau believes the state's resources can be used more appropriately elsewhere. She noted that approximately 20 cases per week involving small fines would take place in her court, many of which were for insignificant amounts. For example, restitution for a particular shoplifting case was $1, the news source noted in a separate article. Debt offenders will still be required to pay the fines, but the court won't issue an arrest warrant if they fail to do so. "The underlying order (to pay restitution and fines under $200) will still be valid, but we really can't afford to be in the debt collection business," Nadeau said.