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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

Forsyth County: Can I Discharge Criminal Court Fines in Bankruptcy?

Question: I have some serious financial issues I'm dealing and need to file bankruptcy. Things have gotten worse because of some fines I have to pay because I was convicted of a couple of crimes. The crimes are misdemeanors not felonies.

I got fired from my job in Cumming because I got into an argument with my boss about some spending. He didn't want me spending any of the company money taking clients to expensive dinners. He said I was spending too much money on some clients. Some dinners were expensive but others were not. I'd pay $3,000.00 for some really good dinners with cigars and rare wine. Then I'd take the clients to get massages. But we got a lot of business.

After I lost my job I incurred medical bills because I got into a car accident that was my fault. I got charged with DUI in Forsyth County. Anyway I pled guilty to the DUI and now I have to pay fines, court fees and probation costs. Besides the DUI I got arrested for possession of pot and I'm on probation for that now. That's more fines, fees and probation costs that I can't afford.

If I file bankruptcy can I include the court fines, costs and probation fees in the bankruptcy? It would really help me financially if I can get rid of those expenses. I live in The Polo Golf & Country Club in Cumming and I'm scared that I might get foreclosed on by the bank.

Answer: Monies owed to a criminal court after being convicted of a crime are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Unlike other types of debt, like credit card bills, medical bills, repossessions, evictions and landlord-tenant debt, they are not discharged in a bankruptcy filing. And the sanction for failure to make required payments that are conditions of probation can include jail time.

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