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Can criminal court fees be waived?

Patterson, CA |

I want to know what court fees can be waived in criminal court. I went to court for DUI. The judge offered 2 days in jail or AWP program and a fine of $1800 plus go to DUI class for 3 months ($580) plus $250 to DMV. I want to know would I qualify for wett reckless? Alcohol level was .11% so I'm told. The problem is that I cannot afford any of this. I wasn't aware that I had to pay a $50 processing fee to see a public defender. I am on unemployment not by choice and I support 7 people on it. Can a lawyer or PD reduce the fees? I know they cannot reduce or waive the fees for DUI class. $1800 is a bit much and I cannot begin to make payment arrangements. Is there another way? Because I stated I couldn't pay the fees now I have to see a public defender. Will the judge offer still stand?

The judge's offer also include 3 years informal probation. The judge didn't order $250 for DMV. That's the restricted license fee. By me not entering any plea, will the defender's offer be more or less than what the judge offered. I was told that the judge offered the "MINIMAL STANDARD". I'm not looking for more than what the judge offered but I need the fees reduced, considerably! I hope I didn't screw myself because I told the judge I could not afford it so she referred me to the Public defender and told me she's entering a plea of not guilty. I would've taken her offer but the $1800 is what I got hung up on.

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Attorney answers 6


You did a good thing by not taking the judge's offer. You should never plead guilty to anything before an attorney has reviewed your case. There are many possible defenses to a DUI and you should have the public defender review everything. The fines are mandated by law and can't be reduced, but you can have them converted into jail time or community service in most cases. Discuss this with your attorney as well.


As Mr. Pullman has stated fines are mandated by the State. The only thing you can do is convert them into community service. It may be psdible to get a wet reckless . Speak to your attorney .

Michael James Kennedy

Michael James Kennedy


Convert to community service or jail custody!


You problems are mounting--you NEED a lawyer--who MAY be able to reduce or even have the charge dismissed--but you WILL have to pay that lawyer. If the lawer can't get your charge reduced or dismissed, you will have to pay the mandated fines, or go to jail . Your scenario is unfortunately one of those where you must choose from a range of options--none of them good.

Recommend you hire a DUI attorney, work out a payment plan, and use all available defenses. The PD is just as capable of pursuing all the available defenses.

READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I give a 100% effort to get you on the right track with your issue. Sometimes that means legal educational information, sometimes that means counseling and non-legal guidance. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.


The effects of a DUI conviction will last with you a long, long time, and will be costly, so you need to do something to get counsel and fight this: no one should plead guilty to a .11, unless there are egregious facts.


The minimal standard is the standard. It is the minimum and it is the standard. So having an attorney can only improve your position. Hire an attorney to help you or have the public defender help you.

The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.


To be quite frank, at a .11 it is not very likely that you will be able to negotiate a wet. That being said, there are many valid defenses to charges of DUI and many approaches at trial. I would recommend that you wait to speak with an attorney (either one you hire or the public defender assigned to your case) before you consider accepting pleas. As mu colleagues have pointed out, a DUI has significant effects on your life for a long time to come (10 years) that extend past the fines and fees and classes you're looking at now. But here's another thing to consider - a wet may be cheaper than a DUI and may carry lighter classes, but it is still a DUI for priorability.

You should not have to pay any fee to see a public defender! Ever! To require so is to violate your constitutional rights. A court may impose a fee for the cost of the public defender's services at the conclusion of your case (either by trial or plea) but I have always seen the Judge ask, "if given time, could you pay $x for the services of your public defender?" I have seen judges not impose those costs when a client couldn't. Which brings me to another point:

Even if you decide to accept a plea, or you go to trial, are convicted, and fines and fees are imposed, you can set up a payment plan with the county.

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