Criminal Fines & Monetary Penalties
Once he is convicted, a defendant will be sentenced by the judge. Most criminal sentences include a fine. A fine is a specific amount of money that a convicted individual must pay to the court. Each criminal statute explains how a fine may be imposed. Here are some examples:
- The statute may list an exact amount of money that the defendant must be fined.
- The statute may provide a maximum fine. The judge may require a person to pay any amount up to the maximum.
- The fine amount may be dependent on the crime. For example, if the defendant damaged property, the fine may be equal to the value of the destroyed possessions.
- The statute allows the judge to fine the person, send him to jail, or both.
Each crime may have a different type of fine attached to it. Convicted persons should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss a particular fine.
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Paying a Fine
A fine needs to be paid by a certain date. The date is listed in the paperwork that the defendant receives from the court. This paperwork is called the sentencing order. If a person cannot pay the fine immediately, he may be able to negotiate a payment plan with the court.
Additionally, many courts now accept debit and credit cards.
Not Paying a Fine
Some people may not have the resources to pay a fine. Others may choose to simply not pay. If a fine is unpaid, a defendant may be called back to court or sent to jail. Unpaid fines may also be turned into liens against a person’s property or assets. The government may collect liens through garnishments, execution and sale or foreclose the lien against the estate.
For a garnishment, the government may withdraw money directly from a person’s bank account or paycheck in order to pay the fine. In a situation of execution and sale, the government takes a person’s property and sells it at a public auction. The proceeds from the auction are used to pay the fines. Foreclosing a lien is similar to an execution and sale, except that it involves the sale of real estate.
Contact the attorneys at Madrid Law by calling 713-877-9400 to discuss criminal fines with a defense lawyer.