Can a person ordered to pay restitution be kept in jail until it’s paid in full?

UPDATED: Jan 11, 2012

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Can a person ordered to pay restitution be kept in jail until it’s paid in full?

My son (30 year old) was ordered to pay restitution to a bank. He paid all but $414 before becoming unemployed. The judge ordered him to stay in jail until the balance is paid. He asked how he was supposed to pay if he couldn’t get out to work. Judge said he didn’t care and he would stay locked up until it got paid. It doesn’t seem lawful to me.

Asked on January 11, 2012 under Criminal Law, Tennessee


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your son was ordered to pay a certain amount to a bank for restitution with respect to a presumed criminal offense and he failed to obey the order, your son can be held in jail as being in violation of a court order (contempt).

Potentially there may have been some suspended jail time hanging over your son's head where if he paid the resitution timely he would not receive this jail time. Since he did not, then he is serving the suspended sentence.

From what you have written, it does not seem that the jail time that your son is now serving was done improperly.

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