Never ignore a debt. It is good advice in the best of circumstances. For a person without money to pay a debt owed, however, it can be frustrating advice easily ignored. If the matter is a court fine, ignoring the problem will usually lead to an arrest warrant.
Wagoner lawyers see it all the time. Failure to pay is one of the most common reasons people are arrested. A warrant for failure to pay can turn what would otherwise be a routine traffic stop into a night in jail, or even days in jail.
We cannot promise you a Wagoner lawyer can always resolve your failure to pay warrant without going through the booking process. Each case is different. What we can tell you is that having an officer of the court (that’s us — attorneys are officers of the court) on your side puts you in the best position to resolve your problem with unpaid fines or court costs.
A Wagoner attorney can tell you in advance when is the best time to resolve the warrant, and what agreements Wagoner courts typically accept. Wagoner defense attorneys can provide information about how the system works without turning you over to police.
Warrants for Failure to Pay Don’t Go Away
Here is a scenario for your consideration. A woman works two jobs to support her kids. She loses one of the jobs and is having trouble making the rent money, much less finding enough food money. She goes to a local supermarket, and once or twice she steals bread and milk. But the third time she tries it, supermarket security catches her.
As part of her sentence for petit larceny in Wagoner, she is ordered to pay a fine. She agrees to pay it even though she doesn’t have the money to pay it. She leaves the courthouse not having paid the fine and not making arrangements to do so before she leaves.
Several months later, the tail lights in her car go out. She is driving home from work and she doesn’t realize it. She gets pulled over for the lights and unknown to her, in the months that have passed, the court has issued a bench warrant for her failure to pay fees and costs. What was a big problem for her has suddenly become a huge problem. For her, it was months later, but the same thing could happen even several years after a warrant was issued.
Unfortunately, this happens far too often and it is a problem that is solvable. Here are some things that you might want to know if you are facing a similar problem.
Failure to Pay Court Fees and Fines in Wagoner Will Get You into Trouble
Failure to pay court costs and fines in Oklahoma can result in the imposition of even more fines and possibly jail time. But there are things you can and should do if you are unable to pay.
Court costs, fees and fines are often imposed as part of a sentence in a criminal matter. But they can also be imposed can be imposed in traffic cases and in civil cases. Most often, the fine is set by statute. And although many don’t realize it, the statute often provides a range for the fine imposed. Many statutes, especially in criminal matters, leave a fine as an option for sentencing, nut not the only option.
It is typical for the court to issue fines without reference to a defendant’s ability to pay. And unfortunately, all too often, an unrepresented defendant, who is having difficulty paying bills in the first place, will fail to request the court to reduce or eliminate a fine. The defendant will accept the fine and hope for the best. Later, when the defendant fails to pay, a bench warrant is issued.
What You Can Do Even If You Are Unable to Pay
The worst thing you can do is skip going to court, ignore the problem further, or do nothing. If you know the warrant has been issued, hire an attorney. Many attorneys will give you an initial consultation for free. You can ask the attorney how best to resolve the matter and even have the attorney intercede with the court on your behalf.
Judges are aware that people sometimes have difficulty paying court fees and costs. If you are having difficulty paying a fine, it is important that you explain why to the judge. If a judge does not understand your position, it is hard for the judge to make any accommodation.
An experienced Wagoner criminal defense attorney 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. Your attorney knows how to explain a position fully and yet succinctly.
All too often a defendant is unable to fully apprise the court of his or her monetary hardships. Your attorney can help the judge understand your situation. Judges have a great deal of discretion and can work out a plan for community service hours with a defendant to reduce or eliminate the court debt owed. Judges can also extend the time to make the payments. This is well worth the money, time and effort on your part and the part of your attorney. Do not ignore this problem. It will not go away.
Contact an experienced Wagoner criminal defense attorney today. If you fail to appear and fail to pay, the court has the ability to send you to jail. Your attorney will advocate for you and protect your freedom.
Call for a Free Consultation With A Wagoner Criminal Defense Attorney
For a free consultation with a Wagoner Oklahoma criminal defense attorney call the Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at (918) 485-0335 (or toll free at (888) Wirth-Law). Or, as always, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page.