What Happens After I Am Ordered To Pay A Fine And Court Costs?
Upon a plea of guilty or finding of guilty after trial the defendant will be expected to pay any fines, fees, or court costs ordered by the court, in full. The defendant will not be arrested if full payment cannot be made at that time. However, the defendant will be expected to pay whatever the defendant has available. The defendant will also be expected to completely fill out the Income and Expenses statement, provided to you by the court and return it to the Judge in order to qualify for an extension of time to pay the fines and court costs.
Based on this information, the Court may give an extension of time for the defendant to pay the penalty, in full, by setting a new court date by which the defendant is to pay what is owed completely. If the defendant fails to make payment, in full, the defendant is ordered to come back to court on the new court date to “Show Cause” why the defendant should not be held in contempt of court for failure to pay as ordered.
If the defendant fails to appear for the Show Cause Hearing and has not paid the penalty in full, the Court may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. In some types of moving violation traffic offenses the Court will also notify the Missouri Department of Revenue to suspend the defendant’s driving privilege until the penalties and court costs have been paid in full.
If you appear for the Show Cause Hearing as ordered, the defendant will be given a chance to discuss why payment has not been made as ordered. After reviewing the defendant’s file, Income and Expense Statement, and the defendant’s explanation for nonpayment the court may find that the defendant has a continuing financial situation that requires the Court to find that the defendant is indigent and does not have the present ability to pay the penalty or the Court may find that the defendant is able to pay if the Court allows an alternative method of satisfaction of the penalty. These alternative methods to satisfy the payment due include: ordering the defendant to perform community service in lieu of payment if the defendant wishes to do so, reducing the amount owed, extending the time for making the payments, or such other relief as the court deems proper.
If the Court does not accept the defendant’s explanation and believes that the defendant has the current ability to pay what is owed, but is intentionally refusing to do so or that the defendant is refusing to make a good faith effort to procure the means to pay or take reasonable actions to pay what is owed by the use of alternative methods of payment; the Court will order a Show Cause Hearing. At that Show Cause Hearing the defendant will have the right to be represented by an attorney. After the court hears the evidence at the Show Cause Hearing the Court will decide whether the defendant’s failure to pay the penalty as ordered is a contempt of the court.
If the Court does find the defendant in Contempt of Court for failing to follow the Court’s order to pay, the Court can sentence the defendant to a term of up to thirty (30) days in the Marion County Jail. The Court may also take any other collection action authorized by law for the enforcement of money judgements including: intercepting the defendant’s Missouri Income Tax Refund, referring the case to a private collection agency which may assess additional fees for their services that are not to exceed twenty percent (20%) of the amount owed to the court, or any other collection action authorized by law.