Failure to pay court costs and fines in Oklahoma can result in even more fines and possibly jail time. But there are things you can do. Here are some things that you may want to know about the failure to pay court fines and what you can do about it.
Failure to Pay Court Costs Can Land You in Jail
Courts have the ability to impose fines in criminal matters, and court costs and fees in civil matters. In addition, courts may order that you pay restitution in some criminal matters. Once these are ordered, it is foolish to ignore them.
Oklahoma law provides that you can be immediately confined for the failure to pay fines and court costs if you are able to pay them. Okla. Stat. tit. 22, Rules of Court § Rule 8.2. This means that a bench warrant can be issued for your immediate arrest if you are able to, but, fail to pay.
Courts usually issue orders for fines and costs without taking a person’s ability to pay into consideration. While this may seem harsh, it is the law. But if you are unable to pay, it is important that you do not ignore the growing fines or court costs. All too often, a defendant who is having difficulty paying court costs fails to say anything about that difficulty, and then will stop making payments to the court towards those costs. That is when the court issues a warrant issued for your arrest. Once arrested, you will be sent to jail and further fines may be imposed.
Failure to Pay Court Costs: There Are Things You Can Do
Do not ignore this growing problem. Hire an attorney. A good criminal defense attorney can really help.
Your attorney may be able to request an extension of time in which to allow you to pay. Okla. Stat. tit. 22, Rules of Court § Rule 8.4. And if you cannot pay because of poverty or a disability, the court may dismiss the costs, or order community service in lieu of the costs. Okla. Stat. tit. 22, Rules of Court § Rule 8.5.
The worst thing you can do is skip going to court. If you fail to appear to request an extension, the court may immediately incarcerate you. Okla. Stat. tit. 22, Rules of Court § Rule 8.6.
Get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. It is important that you fully explain your position to the judge. An experienced 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. It can be difficult to know what to say to a judge. 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.
Free Consultation With An Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
Jail time is always serious. We at the Claremore Lawyer are here to help you. Don’t delay. Call us today. And the initial consultation is free. Call us at (918) 213-0950. If you prefer written correspondence, submit your question using the form at the top right of this page.