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How Does A Court Expect Someone To Pay A Fine?

Some courts expect fines to be paid in full on the day of court unless the defendant proves that he or she is indigent and unable to make full payment in court, while others are more liberal about allowing payment plans regardless of indigence. However, you have to always remember that a court is not obligated to give a person a payment plan unless they can prove that they are indigent and unable to pay the fine in full on the day of court.

If a court is going to allow a payment plan, most judges still expect at least $200 to be paid up front.

How are Fines Paid?

A fine for a motor vehicle matter can be paid online, but fines in criminal matters cannot be paid online. Those payments need to be made in person or through the mail. Even when a time payment order is issued, if it’s a criminal matter each installment still has to be paid through the mail or in person. If you’re using a credit card this means that you will have to go to the court to make the installment payment, since most courts won’t take credit card payments over the phone.

Other ways to pay is by cash, check, or money order. Each court has different payment options, so you need to check with the court about what forms of payment they will accept.

Is Paying Fines In a Time Payment Plan an Inconvenient Process?

Yes. Truthfully, if you can scrape together the money to pay your fine all at once, you should do it. Time payments to courts are inconvenient for both sides and fraught with hazards if you miss a payment

What Happens When Someone Does Not Make a Payment On Time?

If a person doesn’t make their payments on time, a bench warrant would be issued and the court can also suspend the person’s driver’s license.

When a person gets arrested on a bench warrant for missing a payment, they have to post bail, appear in court, and explain to the judge why he did not pay. At that point the judge could extend the payment plan, order the person to pay in full, or send them to jail if they don’t pay in full, where they can work off the fine in jail at the rate of $50 per day.

Does The Computer Automatically Issue The Warrant?

Yes. The warrant is issued by the computer system because the payment plans details are computerized.

If the payment isn’t received by the due date, then the computer would automatically issue the warrant. After this, the judge must simply sign it before the police can execute it and arrest you.

Do People Get Arrested Without Knowing They Have A Warrant?

All the time, though when you miss a court date or a payment to a court, it shouldn’t really be unexpected. There are cases though, where someone has moved and has failed to update their address with MVC or the court and they don’t receive a court notice or notice of license suspension because the mail goes to the wrong address. However, it’s your responsibility to update your address with the court and MVC when you move, so again, it shouldn’t really be unexpected when you end up with a warrant because no one knows where to find you.

People sometimes call us regarding old charges from years ago. The oldest charge I ever dealt with was probably from mid-to-late 1970s, which was before I was born.

What happens is the tickets weren’t ever dealt with when they were originally issued. Then, these people move out of state and completely forget about the old charges which were never answered. Then, when they try to get their driver’s license renewed, they cannot have it renewed because their driver’s license or their driving privilege in New Jersey was suspended 10, 15, 20 years ago. The suspension finally hits the computer system in the state where they are now licensed. Perhaps it had been suspended because they missed a payment or they never answered the tickets or charges to begin with. I get the same question over and over again, “how come I was able to get a license for all of these years if these tickets were still outstanding?” The simple, completely unsatisfying reason is that computerization of information and the sharing of that information between the states has been a long process, and in a lot of cases it’s just catching up to people now, sometimes 30 or more years later.

Not knowing about a warrant is usually the defendant’s doing, not an oversight of the court. It is a matter of responsibility. Sometimes people can be very irresponsible when they are young. But when they get older, they become very responsible and find themselves in a big jam from things they did when they were young and stupid.

The best way to avoid all of these problems is to always notify the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission or court of your address change and make sure that you have a reliable method of getting your mail. These things can be fixed, but it’s a lot better to not have to go through the hassle at all.

For more information on Nonpayment Of Fines, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (609) 448-2700 today.