I received around $2500 in court fees and fines, and a jail sentence of 21 days in August of last year. My fees/fines are due 2/11/2013. Since my release from jail I've lost my job, and have been looking ever since. I recently moved in with some friends close to town to increase the likely hood of finding a job, although it is still very hard due to my lack of a drivers license. I've had a couple of interviews, but I've failed the background check every time. I'm expecting a little over $1000 in tax refunds and plan to use all of it to make a payment on my fines. Considering this, what can I expect when I go to court on the 11th of next month? Is there any way I can avoid jail time?
In my experience, courts appreciate being told of difficulties early. First opportunity, schedule an appearance before 2/11. Take any documents that you have with you to support your claims about seeking employment and the loss of a job. Usually, judges are interested more in getting your money than putting you in jail.
Mr. Mascagni is correct. Most Judges do not want to put you in jail over fines and they don't want to do collections work from the bench. Make a good faith effort to pay what you can and ask the Judge for more time. Showing a good faith effort fequently goes a long way with judges.
pay what you can. It is far better to pay a small amount more frequently than to hold out to save enough for the big pay off. Something always happens that will use up the fine money. I am talking multiple payments in the 5, 10 , 20 dollar range. When your review hearing comes up the payment record will show a regular pattern of a man with no resources doing what he can to make things right. A little good faith goes a very long way in criminal court. If the record shows you doing your best I bet the judge will work with you. At least they will in my neck of the woods in Ohio.
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