If you have violated your conditions based in non-payment of fees, you may not have as many options.
When I was a prosecutor I remember a defendant came in for non-payment. The judge was not in the most charitable mood that day either. She asked him if he could pay and he said no. The judge then asked why he hasn’t been able to pay any costs in months and he replied that he wasn’t working. The judge converted the remainder of his fees to county time. Noting that this was 2 days before thanksgiving and the defendant would be in jail until right after Christmas, I asked the judge to reconsider. She did not.
I’ve always had a problem with a money fine being turned into county time. In my mind that means the only reason you’re in jail is because you’re not rich. I don’t believe in debtors prison. I think it’s wrong and I think your acts and not your job should determine your punishment. Call me a little idealistic, but you won’t be able to change my mind.
So what do we do in this situation? Fees may be owed to the clerk, social services, ADAS services(the DUI evaluators), or probation.
Here’s the rule again: “[i]f it is not documented, then it didn’t happen as far as a Judge is concerned.”
Again, you have to be honest with your finances. If you can come up with something, then do so. If you cannot, I use an affidavit that family law attorneys use. I don’t like the forms a public defender will give you because they are not extensive enough for me. The form will outline gross vs. net income and where your expenses are. I am NOT an accountant. The purpose of this form is to show the Judge the general outline of your finances.
On top of showing where you are, the Judge will want to know what you’re doing about it. If you are out of a job, I ask client’s to keep a job diary that can be presented in court. We used to use those all the time when I was in child support court. It doesn’t have to be formal, but it needs to be filled out.
If you have a job, then you need to show why you haven’t been able to make a payment. Again, this lets me prepare and say something to a Judge. The reason is never, “I forgot.” Even if it is, I have a work around for that too.
So, in all, for financial situations show why it happened and what you’re doing about it.
So, get a lawyer if you violate. Again, I have a lot of experience with these and I don’t even charge normal fees. I charge a per-court date fee because you don’t know if a violation will last one date or ten.
Stay tuned for fees violations in our last part.
Please feel free to contact me at (847)337-2716 or visit my website at http://www.LegalDaredevil.com