Fines are usually imposed in cases in which they are more or less mandatory as part of the sentence, and their size very often depends on other factors; for example, for a first-offense DWI case, there is a mandatory minimum $500 fine, up to $1,000, but if it’s aggravated the fine will increase, and a repeat offense — which makes it a felony — can increase the fine even more, and a rather stiff surcharge will be imposed.
In most cases, fines don’t exceed several thousand dollars in even the most serious cases; the law may provide for a fine of up to $10,000 in very serious cases, but it’s very rarely used in my experience. If someone is convicted of something like that, they’re far more likely to face jail, not a hefty fine.
How Does The Court Expect Someone To Pay A Fine?
In nearly all misdemeanor cases, if somebody is sentenced to something including a fine and they can’t pay it right away, the judge will adjourn the case and give the defendant 60 days to go directly to the cashier and pay everything, including the fine and the surcharge. Now, if the 60 days elapse and you go to the cashier and you don’t have all the money, the cashier is usually authorized to grant one extension without having to go back and see the judge.
If you come back the next time, and you still can’t pay the whole thing, you will be sent to see the judge, who may accept your explanation and give you even more time, or choose to impose the alternative jail part of the sentence. However, most judges are pretty human about that; if someone is somebody is doing their best and was simply unable to get all the money together, the judge will usually give them more time, especially if they can pay part of it and show they’re really making an effort.
The worst thing a defendant can do is to decide to not show up because he or she doesn’t have the money; that is a sure path to being locked up. Even if you don’t have the money, it’s very important that you show up at the cashier’s window on the day you’re scheduled; that is the same as a court date.
Can Hiring An Attorney Result In Getting Some Of My Fine Reduced?
Like any other part of a case, the attorney will try to show both the district attorney and the judge why the fine should be a minimum amount, if anything. It’s really no different than other aspects of the case; they’re trying to get the best possible disposition for the client. An effective attorney will be able to show the judge why a serious fine should not be imposed, although the least serious consequence in any criminal case is the amount of the fine. Obviously, you want to make it as little as possible, but the real danger people face for the rest of their lives comes with jail and having a criminal conviction on their record.
What Are Some Crimes That Carry A Higher Fine Price Tag?
DWI cases, by far, have the highest mandatory fines and if you’re convicted they can’t be reduced; plus, there are a number of other fees and expenses involved with a DWI.
If fines are imposed in less serious cases, they may be a few hundred dollars ($200-400); you generally don’t see fines higher than that, because for serious cases judges are more interested in rehabilitating and/or punishing you than fining you, which means a jail sentence.
To find out more on Top Crimes Resulting In Fines, please contact The Law Office of Martin D. Kane at (718) 793-5700 to find out more about what we can do for you.