If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offense, bankruptcy can better help you deal with the associated fees. Laws surrounding how bankruptcy affects fines differ between states. However, a Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer can help you with charges in Florida. Different convictions determine whether the debt associated with a fine can be discharged. Even if it cannot completely free you of fines, bankruptcy might still be a helpful option.
Determining Whether a Fine Can Be Discharged
The government refers to fines in different ways: penalties, forfeitures, tickets, tolls, and surcharges. Generally, fines are owed to a government unit (municipal, state, federal, etc.). Whether or not a fine is able to be discharged depends on if it was a penalty or reimbursement.
Penalties cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This type of fine is given as punishment for disobeying the law, such as traffic violations. The best way to use bankruptcy in this case is indirectly. In other words, using bankruptcy to discharge other debts.
If you have a fine for reimbursing the government for an expense it can be discharged since you are not being punished. For example, accidentally rear-ending a government vehicle. This fine is not counted as a nondischargeable penalty against you. A Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer can help get the fine discharged.
How Bankruptcy Can Help with Court Fines
If you are fined with a penalty that cannot be discharged, there are other ways bankruptcy can help. Filing bankruptcy can free you both mentally and financially. This can help you focus on getting through your case without the added stress of other debts.
Filing Chapter 7 can also help you pay for a defense attorney. A Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer will help you manage the debts incurred during your trial. You might have to liquidate assets, stop paying creditors, or come up with another way to free yourself financially – making strategic planning an invaluable asset. Filing chapter 7 bankruptcy helps make this process easier.
Chapter 13 can help in non-criminal cases that are not able to be discharged. After a period of 3 to 5 years of consistent payments, your debt may be eligible for release. With the help of a Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer, you can determine if Chapter 13 is right for you. If you can prove you have the necessary income to make payments, the court is likely to approve your plan.
Get in Touch with an Experienced Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you received a fine for a violation or as a compensatory cost to the government, we can help. The attorneys at Parker & DuFresne have been serving northeast Florida for decades, and are well equipped to help you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Jacksonville bankruptcy attorney.