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Advice in Dealing with Court Debts and Fines

Court fines for criminal offences are considered as one of the most important bills to pay. Courts hold a broad range of jurisdiction in collecting court debts and fines. If you failed to pay, you can be in great risks of going to prison.

If you’re requested to attend a court hearing, you have to prepare pieces of evidence that will imply your financial circumstances.

Once you convey your current situation the court can take into account how much you can afford to pay your court debts or fines. On the contrary, if you ignore attending the hearing, your fine might be decided to an amount that you cannot afford. Though you can appeal to reduce the costs, it can be difficult rather than doing it before the verdict.

Moreover, court fines should be treated as priority debts due to the associated result when you fall into arrears.

What to do if I can’t afford a court fine?

If you don’t have resources to afford to pay for the fine, you can contact the court and negotiate to lessen your payments. You have to request reducing your payments before missing any of it since the court can take further steps to pursue debt collection of any missed payments.

What can happen if I don’t pay court fines or debts?

The risks of non-payment to criminal fine is severe. It’s best you seek debt advice if you think you can’t afford it. The court’s jurisdiction in collecting your debts depends on where you reside in the UK. The methods that are used in common are as follows:

Collecting unpaid fines in England and Wales

  • Payments can be taken directly from a particular type of benefits
  • A percentage of your wage can be taken to pay your obligation
  • Sending bailiffs or enforcement agents to visit your home to take your goods and sell them
  • Adding your fine to a public register that can affect your credit file
  • Ordering you to carry out an unpaid community service
  • Send you in prison as a last resort if you deliberately ignore making any payment

Creditors for certain types of debts can directly deduct payment from your wages through a court order. They can apply for an attachment of earnings or a direct earnings attachment.

 Collecting unpaid fines in Northern Ireland

Currently, imprisonment is the primary penalty for not paying court fines. There are plans to consider some other option to reduce the number of people being locked behind bars due to the non-payment of court fines. You can also check our guide on: Court Action to Collect Debt in Northern Ireland

Collecting unpaid fines in Scotland

  • Payments can be taken directly from a particular type of benefits
  • A percentage of your wage can be taken to pay your obligation
  • Payment can be taken from your bank through earnings arrestment
  • Your vehicle can be clamped or towed away
  • Ordering you to carry out an unpaid community service
  • Send you in prison as a last resort if you deliberately ignore making any payment

Can I go to prison for non-payment of fine?

You can go to prison if you deliberately ignore your court fine. However, this is the last resort for non-payment of fine and court debt.

If you do not comply with the court order or if you failed with the other options to recover the debt, the court can still suspend committal to prison. This means you have one last chance to pay the fine and shun going to prison.

In case, you can’t afford to pay, it’s important that you remain honest to the court. If you’re trying to pay the fine and clearly not ignoring it, they certainly will not resort to locking you up in jail.

If you need help and advice, do not hesitate to contact us right away. We have our debt remedy to guide you on how you can deal with your situation better. You can also call us, should you need to speak with our debt experts.  

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Related Topics:

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Criminal Fines And Debts: What Happens If You Can’t Pay?

What You Need to Know About Magistrates’ Court Fines