Can I be sentenced to jail if I can’t afford my court fine in Arizona?


Yes, failure to pay the fines and court fees associated with being in the criminal justice system can lead to jail time.

However, the courts do offer defendants an option to pay the fees in increments, but missed payments will lead to penalties and added interest, which could make the fees unaffordable.

Common Court Fees during Pre-Conviction and Sentencing in AZ

  • Application fee to obtain public defender
  • Jail fee for pre-trial incarceration
  • Jury fees
  • Rental fee for electronic monitoring devices
  • Sentencing
  • Fines with accompanying surcharges
  • Restitution
  • Fees for court administrative costs
  • Fees for designated funds (e.g. libraries, prison construction, etc.)
  • Public defender reimbursement fees
  • Prosecution reimbursement fees

Consequences for Nonpayment of Fines

According to A.R.S. 13-810:

  1. If the court finds that the defendant has willfully failed to pay a fine.
    1. Order the defendant incarcerated in the county jail until the fine, fee, restitution, or incarceration costs are paid.
    2. Revoke the defendant’s probation, parole, or community supervision and sentence the defendant to prison pursuant to law.
  2. If the court finds that the defendant cannot pay despite sufficient good faith efforts.
    1. Modify the manner in which the restitution, fine, fee, or incarceration costs are to be paid.
    2. Enter any reasonable order that would assure compliance with the order to pay.

Pay or Stay

Court fees can quickly add up to hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. In most states, defendants can even be billed after their sentencing for ‘room and board’ costs while they were in jail. There are also fees associated with probation and electronic monitoring devices.

Individuals on probation have to pay for their court-mandated drug and alcohol screenings. Essentially, the fees for committing a crime keep coming until the very end of the process. However, there are usually alternatives like community service for some of these fines. If you’re looking to avoid some of the fees that occur when you’re being charged with a crime, the criminal lawyers at JacksonWhite may be able to help.

Are you facing criminal charges in Arizona?

If you’re facing criminal charges in Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Phoenix, Peoria, or any other AZ city, the criminal attorneys at JacksonWhite can help. Our criminal defense lawyers will work with you to have the charges against you and their associated fines reduced or possibly dismissed. Call (480) 467-4370 to schedule a free and private consultation with dedicated JacksonWhite criminal defense attorneys

Check out the JW criminal defense results page to see how we’ve helped past clients deal with their criminal charges in Arizona.

Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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