The Warrant Issued for Your Arrest Needs to Be Resolved
Video Transcribed: What happens if I don’t pay my fines and costs in Oklahoma? I am Oklahoma attorney James Wirth and that’s the question before us today. If you’ve had a criminal matter where you’ve been fined or there have been court costs assessed, restitution, all of those things, what happens if you don’t pay it? There are a lot of different scenarios that you can find yourself in and the circumstances maybe a little bit different depending on those scenarios. I’ll kind of go through the basics of those.
If you get sentenced to time in custody, whether that’s county time, DOC time, at the time that you go in, various fines and costs are going to be assessed, either part of a plea deal that is entered or part of a sentence and judgment ordered by the court after bench or jury trial.
Regardless, there’s going to be a finding at those times regarding the ability to pay, and generally, that is going to order you, pursuant to state statute, to come and talk to the cost administrator within 180 days after you are released.
So you go in, you talk to the cost administrator, you can fill out various forms and a determination is made on your ability to pay. You normally say I can pay pursuant to this payment plan whatever the case may be, and then at that point that is entered in.
If you fail to show up within 180 days to do that, then a warrant is going to issue for your arrest. If you do get a payment plan worked out by coming in within 180 days and you fail to pay on it, then a warrant is going to be issued for your arrest. At that point, once you are brought into custody, you’re brought before the court for a Rule 8 hearing to determine your ability to pay.
Then at that point, the court could decide that perhaps you’re disabled, you can’t work and the court could actually waive some of those fines and costs or the court could find that you can pay all of it at once. You got to pay all of it at once in order to get out of custody.
Or the court could find that you’re going to get credit for various times served on it. As you serve that time, it lowers the amount that you owe until you’re released. Or the court could find that you have the ability to pay in installments and you’re released to go work and to pay in installments. As long as you continue to pay installments, you can stay out of custody in good graces with the court.
Another option, you enter a plea deal that has perhaps a period of probation. At the time you enter that plea deal, there’s going to be a form that’s filled out that determines whether you have the ability to pay fines and costs, whether you can pay it all at once, or whether you can pay it pursuant to a payment plan. Most of the time in those plea deals it notes the payment plan. Payment on that is not only going to be an order of the court, it’s also going to be a rule and condition of your probation.
If you fail to pay, under those circumstances, two things can happen. One, there’s going to be a warrant for your arrest on the failure to pay, the same thing as with the people that were in custody. Then you go before the court for a hearing to determine your ability to pay. Additionally, though, that failure to pay could be a violation of your probation so the district attorney or the prosecutor could decide to file an application to accelerate or a motion to revoke based on that and could request that you’re sentenced.
If it’s an application to accelerate that you’d be sentenced to something different than the deferred sentence or if it’s an application to revoke, that your probation be revoked and you’d be thrown in jail to serve time for the actual underlying crime.
That’s the circumstances if you are on probation. If you are not on probation, then they obviously can’t file to revoke your probation or to accelerate, but they can still throw you in jail for the failure to pay but then they’ve got to demonstrate that you actually had the ability to pay if they’re going to continue to hold you in custody.
The other one is we’ve got traffic citations. If you’ve got a traffic citation and you are fined based on that, then two things can happen. One, like everything else, a warrant is going to issue for your arrest. But also notice is going to go to the Department of Public Safety to revoke your driving privileges and that will be revoked at that time. In order to get that hold on your license taken care of, you need to demonstrate to the Department of Public Safety that the warrant has been resolved.
So long story short, what happens when you fail to pay your fines and costs? The warrant issued for your arrest needs to be resolved. If you find yourself in those circumstances or if you have other questions related to that, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney privately, confidentially about that. To get that scheduled to somebody at my office, go online to makelaweasy.com.