If I can’t pay a court imposed fine due to financial hardship, what can I do?

UPDATED: Sep 28, 2010

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If I can’t pay a court imposed fine due to financial hardship, what can I do?

I plead guilty to a first time DUI charge and was put on probation. I was also to pay $144 a month for 12 months. I am on disabilty and only get $650 per month.

Asked on September 28, 2010 under Criminal Law, Georgia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Typically, a defendant can make an argument to have court costs/fines waived due to financial hardship. The court (sentencing judge), in its discretion, can decide whether or not to waive the fine/fees entirely or to at least provide for a reduced payment of such fines/fees, depending on the person's income/circumstances.  You did not indicate why you didn't bring this up at your sentencing.  At any rate, since you have already been sentenced it may be too late to make this request.  

Right now you should speak to the clerk of the court that you pled guilty in and ask about applying for some type of financial hardship relief now. Obviously, the sooner the better.  Otherwise, possibly Legal Aid or a like agency may be able to be of help.

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