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Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Legal Financial Obligations

In Washington, whenever a person is convicted in superior court, the court may order the payment of a legal financial obligation (LFO) as part of the sentence. The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to study legal financial obligations in Washington State. WSIPP’s reports must explore the following:

  • Over the past three years, the amount of legal and financial obligations imposed; the total amounts outstanding and the total amounts collected annually, including annual collection rates; including all restitution, costs, fees, fines, penalty assessments, and interest, disaggregated;
  • Which statutes allow for the imposition of legal and financial obligations;
  • What percentage of a court’s budget has been supported by legal and financial obligations since the system’s inception;
  • The programs funded by legal financial obligations; and
  • How do other states fund their court system including, but not limited to, whether they use legal financial obligations to provide support;

A preliminary report is due to the legislature by December 1, 2021, with a final report due December 1, 2022.

Devin Bales, (360) 664-9808 View Legislation