I need more time to pay fines

How much are Court Costs?  How Long Do I Have To Pay?  I need more time to pay fines


Costs of Court are expensive in North Carolina.  You very well may need some time to pay them – Bill Powers 



See More:  2017 Criminal Costs of Court North Carolina



Modified Transcript of “I need more time to pay fines” for the Hearing Impaired 


Hi, I’m Bill Powers. I have another question that’s posted on a public message board, a list serve. These aren’t facts from any particular client or anything like that.

These are things that people post publicly. We answer them in a general sense. If you have specific questions, please give us a ring at Powers Landreth PLLC. We’re here to help.

We’ll answer questions for free. The question here is, can a defendant ask for jail time in lieu of a fine? Okay, the additional information is, there’s court tomorrow and then I’m going to remember to talk about that tomorrow, for an offense that carries potential jail time and a fine.

If found guilty, is it completely unheard of for the defendant to ask the judge for jail time in lieu of a fine? It sounds crazy, but I have reasons that this may be a better solution for me.

Well, having done this now for 24 years, I don’t know if anything sounds crazy to me anymore. Can you ask for jail time in lieu of a fine? Yes, and, I used to say, “but,” but now and, it may not always be possible given the type of offense or nature of the offense.

There are some offenses that because of the complexities of what we call adult supervision or probation, it’s much more difficult than it used to be. Can you ask for jail time in lieu of a fine? In some circumstances you can. Some courts will listen. I mean, you can ask for it. I don’t know if the court will legally do it or feel comfortable doing it.

The second issue is, “I have court tomorrow for an offense.”  Well, that’s the next issue here. . .when people wait until the last minute to start thinking about handling a case.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I help people with DWI, criminal matters, driving tickets. We’re used to getting the last minute call, they have court tomorrow. It slips up on people.

We’re human. It’s maybe something you’d rather not think about. I will just say nicely that if you have something like this, it’s better to ask questions well in advance so that you’re not having to take off of work or put yourself through the pressure of trying to find consult last minute. It sounds like this person may want to appear at court on their own behalf, which you’re allowed to do. You can always serve as your own attorney.

If found guilty, is it completely unheard of for the defendant to ask the judge for jail in lieu of a fine? Well, there’s sometimes where people just don’t have a job and they don’t have the financial resources.

It’s something I’m concerned about personally because we’ve raised the cost of court so incredibly high in North Carolina, that you can’t make as much for some people working to pay the court cost and fine as you would spending a day or two in jail.

A lot depends on the type of offense. I have reasons for this. Why? I understand that. The answer is, “It depends.” There is no easy answer. I would encourage you to contact an attorney.

We offer a free confidential consultation so that even if we can’t help, maybe we can point you in the right direction and we can appoint you to an attorney that may be able to help.

Maybe we can ask or explain to you how you ask for appointed counsel, meaning a public defender if you qualify and you’re otherwise found to be indigent.

Give us a ring. That’s what we’re here for.

  • We provide information
  • We’ll ask a lot of questions



In order to answer questions we have to ask a lot of questions, and good inquiry.

No, it’s not entirely crazy. I’ve heard of it before and I think it’s a legit question. Thanks for posting it.


Bill Powers, Attorney at Law


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