The Court Determines the Defendant’s Ability to Pay the Costs Related to Their Case
Video Transcribed: What is a Rule 8 Hearing in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa lawyer James Wirth. And we’re talking about Rule 8 Hearings. And that is a hearing in a criminal case after the case is done when there are fines and costs that have been ordered to be paid and perhaps they’re not being paid or there’s a lack of ability to pay.
So anytime you have a conviction in a case or maybe you do a deferred sentence, whatever the circumstances, unless it’s a complete dismissal with cost to the state, then there is going to be fines and costs that are assessed. And you go to the cost administrator, you work out a payment plan on those. Or you go into custody if it’s a crime where you go into custody, and then upon release, you have to get those things worked out.
So we’ve got a statute in Oklahoma that essentially says the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals needs to come up with processes and procedures and methods for establishing payment plans on fines and costs and determining ability to pay. Because under Oklahoma law, if you fail to pay your fines and costs, not only is it a violation potentially of your probation, where they could revoke that or accelerate that, it is also something you can be arrested for, a failure to pay, and thrown in jail.
But it’s unconstitutional to have a debtors’ prison, so we have to have a process by which that we ensure that the people that go into jail for failure to pay actually have the ability to pay.
And that’s where the Rule 8 Hearing comes in, is that is a hearing to determine ability to pay, perhaps to determine a payment plan, perhaps to defer costs and fines for a period of time or sometimes even to forgive fines and costs, if the person is disabled to the point that they cannot work or in poverty to the point that they cannot pay on it, and that’s not expected to change.
So that is a Rule 8 Hearing. It is governed by the rules from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. They’ve got rules 8.1, 8.2, all the way through 8.7, that go over those rules and those circumstances.
But if you’re having difficulty paying your fines and costs, you could request a Rule 8 Hearing, requesting that a different payment plan be put in place or perhaps, under the right circumstances, that there be forgiveness on those.
If you’ve got questions on how this may apply to your particular case, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about that privately, confidentially. Get that scheduled to somebody in my office. You can go online to makelaweasy.com.