Court Fines and Fees
Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
Court ordered fines, costs and fees
After you are convicted of a crime in municipal, or district court and as a part of your sentencing, the judge may order you to pay money to the courts, city and victims involved. You are legally obligated to pay these court-ordered fines, costs and fees. These fines, costs and fees are your legal financial obligation.
Release from prison - 180 days to schedule a "Rule 8" Hearing
When you are released from the custody of Department of Corrections (DOC), you have 180 days to:
- report to the district court that sentenced you to DOC custody, and;
- schedule a Rule 8 hearing.
This also applies to all other district or municipal courts where you owe fines and costs.
When you are released, you may receive a letter about your fines and costs that says something different. Be sure to follow the instructions in that letter or a bench warrant for your arrest may be issued. After you follow those instructions, you can then ask the clerk to give you the 180 days to report and schedule a Rule 8 hearing.
The Court cannot require payments within 180 days of release, but you can make voluntary payments.
Unpaid Fines, Costs and Fees
If you owe criminal fines and costs call the court clerk and discuss repayment options. Failure to pay these costs can result in a warrant for your arrest. Each warrant adds $50 to $100 to your fines and costs.
- Call the clerk as soon as you cannot make a payment.
- Do not wait! A bench warrant may be issued for your arrest.
If you cannot work out a payment plan with the court clerk, ask to be added to a Cost Docket or to see the Judge.
What happens at the Rule 8 Hearing
At the hearing tell the Judge the amount you are able to pay each month and why.
Tell the Judge about:
- your income and expenses.
- fines and costs you owe in other counties.
- other legal financial obligations such as: restitution, garnishments and child support.
- other things you have done to be a contributing member of the community, such as: therapy, schooling, and volunteer activities.
How do I ask the judge to reduce or waive my fines, costs or fees?
Courts have the discretion (a judge may but is not required) to waive legal financial obligations (except restitution and child support) when:
- you have served time in DOC; and,
- you have been released; and,
- you have complied with all probation or supervision requirements since release; and,
- you have made timely payments for previous 24 months and payments were made after your release from DOC.
How do I show paying these fines, costs and fees would be a hardship for my family?
Take a recent pay stub from your job or other statement to verify you income. Take a copy of your lease or other documents to verify your housing costs, utilities and other expenses.
Ask the court clerk to print a statement of all of your court fines, costs, and fees. The statement should show the total amount owed, interest and payments you have made. If you owe these in other counties, get a statement from the other county if you are able.
What if I need legal help?
Find LASO’s reentry attorneys at these community partners:
- Women in Recovery, Tulsa
- Women’s Justice Team, Tulsa
- Center for Employment Opportunities, Tulsa
- Tulsa Re-entry One-stop, Tulsa
- Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, Tulsa
- ReMerge, Oklahoma City
- The Education and Employment Ministry, Oklahoma City
- Center for Employment Opportunities, Oklahoma City
- Muscogee Creek Nation Reintegration Program, Henryetta
- Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Shawnee