Use these instructions if you are facing a fine or fee for a criminal offense and you do not have a lawyer.
If you do not have enough money to pay your fine or court costs for a criminal offense, you have the right to have a court hearing to ask for one of three things:
- That you be given more time to pay;
- That you do community service instead of paying;
- That the Court discharge (or not make you pay) the fine or costs.
Below are forms for the three options. You need to fill out the one that fits your situation and bring it to Court. You may be asked to stand in front of the judge at a hearing and give more information about what you are asking for.
At a hearing, you can:
- Tell the Judge how much money you have (bring paystubs or other proof of income).
- Tell the Judge how much you pay for rent, food, or other things (bring copies of bills, expenses).
- Ask the Judge to let you pay the money later.
- Ask the Judge to let you pay on a payment plan.
- Ask the Judge to let you do community service instead of paying the fines.
- Ask the Judge to let you pay less or nothing at all.
- Ask the Judge to appoint a lawyer to help you.
Always make sure that court officials have your current mailing address, phone number, and/or email. Respond to all court notices and always come to all your scheduled court dates.