Friday, December 19, 2014

How do you request an extension for nonpayment of probation and court fees? / What Can Happen if you don't pay? / AVVO / Michael A. Haber, Esq. **ARRESTED / **MIAMIDUI

Q:     How do you go about requesting an extension for nonpayment of probation and court fees?  My husband was charged with felony fleeing in Gillespie county Texas back in Nov 2010. 3yrs prob was transferred to FL bcuz that's where we live. His time is up next month and i'm afraid he's going to get violated. We have little to no money and the first year he came home he couldn't find a job. We still owe TX $905 in court fees and about $1500 in probation fees. (We have always paid what we could but it wasn't a whole lot). His prob officer here in FL refuses to give us info about what we can do and he just keeps saying "he's going to be violated". He hasn't gotten into any trouble during the 3yrs and he's never missed a monthly visit. His community service was also completed in the first year. Please help!!! Will they send him back to jail in Texas if violated?


Michael Adam Haber


Contributor Level 20


Lawyers agree
Answered I can't answer your question because it is not a FL law question - it is a question of TX law. Your husband is serving what is referred to as "courtesy supervision" for a sister-State. Accordingly, any violation of his probation will be addressed in TX by his sentencing Judge.

While there are usually some common denominators, laws and procedures are particular to a given State / jurisdiction, so to answer your question you need to speak with a TX lawyer. If you repost this question and, instead of listing your location as "Orlando, FL" you list your location as "___________, TX", then Texas lawyers (as opposed to FL lawyers) will see your question and you are more likely to get a competent answer.

That said, and although I know nothing of TX law, if your husband were serving a FL probationary sentence (and had to face a FL Judge under these facts and in light of FL law) then I would say that there is no such thing as a debtor's prison in the US or FL. In Fl, if you willfully and substantially fail to comply with the conditions of your probation - including paying costs of supervision or court costs - then a violation can be filed and, if the court finds that you both willfully and substantially failed to comply then you can be incarcerated.

But in order to incarcerate you for failure to pay either costs of probation or Court costs the FL court must first hold a hearing and afford you due process, including a right to present evidence that your failure to make your Court Ordered payments was not willful - that is to say that you could not (not that you chose not to) make the payments. If you truly could not then your violation should not be considered "willful", and without that necessary component you cannot be violated and incarcerated.

FL Courts have other alternatives to jailing you; namely it can choose to extend your probation (so as to afford you more time to pay) or it can convert your payments into what is referred to as a "criminal order of restitution" (a non-dischargeable debt which you can be held to pay even after your probation is terminated).

All of this said, and again in FL, I routinely advise folks that if you know that you will not be able to make your payments (as it appears from your question) then you will be best advised NOT to wait for your PO to violate you and instead you should consider causing the matter to be brought before Judge beforehand - thereby hopefully impressing your Judge by your preemptive demonstration of a respectable level of acceptance of responsibility.

In such a circumstance, and regardless of your State, if you truly cannot make your payments and if you have a lawyer then you should discuss this with her / him and consider having a preemptive motion filed; if not then you should consider asking your PO if s/he will assist you to get the matter in front of the Judge now, as opposed to waiting for an imminent violation.

Either way so long as you are not spending your money on superfluous things and you are truly strapped for cash (and given your tragic familial issues) then I am hopeful that the good Judges of the great State of Texas will show some compassion and understanding to your situation.

Wishing you the best of luck.

Either way best of luck!
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For more than 23 years Michael A. Haber, P.A. has been providing creative, effective and zealous advocacy and counsel in cases ranging from DUI to drug trafficking and from misdemeanors to first degree murder.  

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