For the most part, the Georgia criminal justice system takes income and economic ability into consideration when assessing fines and establishing payment plans. The Richmond County private probation system, however, has turned this fair practice on its head, leaving the poor struggling to stay afloat and those more fortunate, walking away unscathed.
As this report from the Augusta Chronicle details, when assessed with a traffic ticket, most people simply pay the fine and move on. For some, however, it isn’t that easy.
If a person cannot pay the ticket in full, their case is referred to the private probation company, Sentinel Offender Services, who is tasked with collecting fines.
People are allowed to make payments, but as they do, only a portion is allotted to their actual fine. The rest is funneled into the private company’s income.
This means that the poor and those who must take advantage of the payment plan end up paying higher fines than those who are able to pay up front. Worst of all, a warrant can be taken out if the fines aren‘t paid.
As the article from the Chronicle details, this leaves people like 63 year old Mariette Conner struggling to stay afloat and praying that their income won’t land them in jail.
Although this story is specific to traffic tickets and infractions, similar situations can play out with more serious criminal charges.
When charged with a crime, you not only face jail time but also hefty fines. While most people are rightfully worried about the jail sentence, many are just as concerned about the money they might have to dole out.
Having an experienced defense attorney on your side has its benefits.
If your income is low or nonexistent, we can make sure the court understands your financial situation and will try to see that they work with you in making arrangements you can live with.
When facing criminal charges like reckless driving or DUI, fines and fees should be the least of your worries. While our attorneys can’t promise the court won’t fine you we can tell you that we will work diligently to get you the best possible results when you go in front of the judge.