Will i violate probation if my court fines aren't paid up by the time my probation expires?

Asked over 4 years ago - Port Saint Lucie, FL

I've been on probation since sept. of 08 i was sentenced for the remainder of the yr after i served jail time. They violated me for something that i never did then reinstated my probation after 4 moths in jail. I was told that my probation will end ont he 27th of jan but all my court costs need to be paid by the 7th. A total of 2 weeks to pay it. I had been giving him extra money but he never put it towrds the court costs. Will i be violated if the costs arent all paid up?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Stephen Andrew Mosca

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . Successful completion of probation usually includes full payment of all fees, costs of supervision, and fines. However, violation for failure to meet this goal alone can be argued.

    You say you paid extra, and I assume you mean to the probation people, but they never applied any to court costs. If so, then your probation costs should be paid in full or nearly so, and that is the key cost in terms of violation. Arguments in this area are many. Violations must be willful and substantial. If you simply do not have the money to pay it all, and have a fairly good reason for that, then it may not be willful. If all probation costs are paid it may not be substantial. We do not have debtors prisons in the US, at least not by that name, but the PO may try to violate you for that reason none-the-less.

    If sent to court, ask for an attorney to fight the violation. In the meantime, try to get an accounting from the PO as to your payment status. It sounds as though this may be a misdemeanor probation, handled by an outside agency like the Salvation Army. If so, they will make a fuss, but get your financial facts together if you go before a judge.

    If no lawyer is provided (and they may not be since you may face no further incarceration/supervision if you have run out your maximum sentence), explain that being incarcerated deprived you of Income, that the economy is tough, that you have others to care for, or whatever the situation may be. Ask the court to waive the outstanding costs of supervision, if any. Ask for the outstanding court costs to be converted to a civil judgment.

    If there is more time left on your sentence for additional probation or possible jail, ask for additional time to make any outstanding payments. Show you want to pay, you just need more time and better income to do so.

    The other avenue for you is to borrow the money to pay this all off from someone else and get this behind you. Better to pay back a friend or family member and be done with the courts if that's an option. Best of luck.

  2. Richard A. Alexander

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . If your question is "can you be violated if court costs are still outstanding?", then the short answer is “yes.” However, the analysis does not end there because Florida case law is quite clear in that any violation of probation must be willful.
    In other words, if you are unable to make payments due to conditions beyond your control, income, medical bills, loss of job, you are the sole bread winner in your family, etc., then it is not necessarily willful. Nevertheless, that is a factual issue that must be determined by a judge, quite possibly at a Violation Final hearing. Please understand that your probation officer is not your friend and he/she has a job to do and has duties and obligations like anybody else. His/her loyalties lie with the office of probation and not to you.
    My advice would be to get in front of a judge on a motion to terminate probation early with the court costs assessed as a lien. However, be prepared to present evidence in your argument that due to your unique financial situation, you cannot meet your payment obligations to probation.
    Good luck

  3. Brian Hobbs Mallonee

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . Yes, you will be "violated" by your probation officer for non-payment. However, once you are given a hearing the state will have to prove that you had the ability to pay and chose not to. If you are unable to pay, the court cannot find a willful violation.

  4. Avvo Staff Moderator

    Answered . You may find this probation violation page helpful in addressing your issue.

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