What Happens if I Cannot Pay My Court Fine?

One possible penalty for being convicted of a crime is that you may need to pay a fine. It is very important that you pay attention to all requirements of your penalties so that you do not end up in any further hot water. Consult with your Mesa criminal defense attorney during and after trial to get all the details about what you need to do to comply. If you fail to pay a court fine, this could actually lead to jail time. It is imperative that you are clear about your responsibilities after a conviction.

Bear in mind that you usually have the option to pay your fees in installments, but missing a payment on your increment plan could lead to added interest and further penalties. Walk through your options with your Mesa criminal defense lawyer so you can find a payment option that works for you without incurring any future penalties.

Common Court Fees

Did you know that you could be responsible for paying court fees associated with your case? These can even be imposed during the pre-conviction and sentencing portion of your case. Some of the most common fees associated with your case might include:

  • Jury fees
  • Rental fees associated with an electronic monitoring device
  • Sentencing costs
  • Jail fees for incarceration before trial
  • Application fees to retain a public defender to represent you
  • Restitution
  • Reimbursement fees to the prosecution
  • Designated funds fees (for things like libraries and construction of prisons)
  • Court administrative fees

What Do the Arizona Revised Statutes Say About Nonpayment of Fees?

Under A.R.S. 13-810, if the court determines that a defendant has willfully failed to pay his or her fine, the individual can be forced to pay the fine by court order or this individual can have his or her probation or parole revoked. If it is found that the defendant is unable to pay the fine despite good faith efforts, the fine might be modified or an order might be created to help ensure compliance with the order to pay. If you think you are going to have an issue paying, consult with your Mesa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Fines after Sentencing

Court fees can easily add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars you might not have been prepared to stay. You could even be billed post-sentencing for fees associated with “room and board” during your time in jail. There are also potential fees for court-ordered electronic monitoring devices.

If you are on probation, you may also have to pay for alcohol or drug-related screenings if the court has ordered them in your case. Sadly, it might seem like the fees are an issue for the entirety of the process, but you might be able to use an alternative like community service to address some of the fines. Do not avoid paying any fines until you have had a chance to speak with your Mesa criminal defense lawyer about the options available to you.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.