Going to court is stressful in the best of circumstances. It can be even more stressful if you get to court, work out a deal with the judge on a small matter, and then find you are unable to pay the court costs and/or fines that are imposed as part of the plea deal. However, failure to pay court costs can land you in trouble in McAlester, Oklahoma.
Failure to pay court costs and fines in Oklahoma can result in the imposition of even more fines and possibly jail time. Here are some things that you may want to know about the failure to pay court costs and what you can do about it.
Failure to Pay Court Costs in Oklahoma
Court costs, fees, and fines can be imposed in a number of types of court cases. If you are in court on a criminal, civil, or traffic matter, it may be that the court orders you to pay fees of some kind as part of the resolution of that matter.
It is typical for the court to issue these fines without considering a defendant’s ability to pay. Unfortunately, all too often, a defendant who is having difficulty paying court costs fails to say anything about that difficulty and stops making payments to the court towards those costs. The result is usually a bench warrant issued by the judge for your arrest.
Here is a typical scenario. A man loses his job and hungry, shoplifts food items from his local grocer. Cameras catch him in the act and the man is arrested. He is convicted of a misdemeanor in court and as part of the sentence, is required to pay a fine in the amount of $500. He doesn’t have the money to pay, and once he fails to make several payments in a row, the judge issues a bench warrant for his arrest.
Several months later, he is arrested for loitering and the bench warrant for failure to pay court costs is discovered. He is jailed as a result, and still without money to pay the original fine, much less the fines that may be attached to the new charge of loitering. It is a problem for him, for the courts, and for the jail system.
What You Can Do Even if You are Unable to Pay
The worst thing you can do is skip going to court. Judges are aware that people sometimes have difficulty paying court fees and costs. It is important that you fully explain your position to the judge.
An experienced McAlester criminal defense lawyer can help you advocate your position with the judge so that the judge is made fully aware of what you are able to do and what you are unable to do.
All too often a defendant is unable to fully apprise the court of his or her monetary hardships. Your attorney can help the judge understand your situation.
Judges can work out a plan for community service hours with a defendant to reduce the court debt owed. Judges can also extend the time to make the payments. Your McAlester attorney will know how to approach the judge and what options may be available to you.
Contact an attorney today. If you fail to appear and fail to pay, the court has the ability to send you to jail. Your attorney will advocate for you and protect your freedom.
Free Consultation: McAlester Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been accused of failure to pay court costs in Oklahoma, please contact a McAlester criminal defense attorney to discuss your available legal options.
Consult with an experienced attorney at the Wirth Law Office – McAlester today, by calling 918-302-9656.
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