If you are convicted of a criminal offence you will be taken to court. After your case is closed you will be ordered to pay a court fine. This article provides guidance and help with court fines and costs.
What happens if I can’t pay a court fine?
If you can’t pay a court fine or fail to pay a court fine, a Distress Warrant will be issued. This is a method used by courts to enforce the payment of the fine. This will then result in any of the following:
- An enforcement order: This can be used to take money directly from your wages or benefits.
- Warrant of Control issued: This will be sent to a bailiff company.
- Fine registration: The fine will be added to your credit history for 5 years.
- Clamping your vehicle: An order could be given to clamp your vehicle and sell it to pay off the fine.
If you still fail to pay your court fine you could be sent to prison. But before this stage, you will be given the opportunity to explain your reasons for non-payment in a court hearing. Some common reasons for non-payment may be redundancy, death of someone close, serious illness or any other reason relating to a decrease in income.
How can I pay a court fine?
First after your sentencing, you will be ordered to pay a court fine. At this point, you must clearly state your current financial situation, so the court can calculate how much of the fine you can pay and the time limit. The details of how you will pay your fine will be included in a collection order, which will be sent to you after your case is closed.
You will be given the chosen to either make the full payment or pay in instalments by a certain amount of time. If you would like to dispute the court fine, you will need to contact a lawyer or solicitor.
How are court costs recovered?
Court costs can occur for many different reasons and it depends on what actually has taken place previously. If you have court costs to pay and are currently fully supported by benefits then it may be that you can identify this to the court and set a very low monthly payment or pay nothing for a short while if you are expecting your income to increase soon. If you contact a free debt advice charity and explain in greater detail they may be able to help.
Can I be taken to small claims court for credit card debt?
If the creditor decides that they wish to pursue you via the courts and makes a claim against you then you will have the opportunity to respond. The creditor will have to provide proof of debt and you will provide information to say why you believe that you have settled your debt. The decision will then be made by a judge about whether there is anything further to pay. You can find details of how to respond to a claim on the Gov website.