Can I file a motion to dismiss fees ordered 10 years ago.

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Can I file a motion to dismiss fees ordered 10 years ago.

I was granted early termination of probation in 2009 and went on about my life, never to be in court again. I recently filed for my concealed carry as my rights were restored and apparently owe 478 in court fee’s for this case, I was never notified, never had my license in jeopardy, never reported to collections by the courts, absolutely nothing. I wasn’t even aware that I still owed anything and would have expected them to let me know over the course of almost 10 years, or had some form of legal impact. I feel this is negligence on their part. When I called the clerks office, they didn’t even have the case records in their system, I had to wait 3 days for them to locate the actual file, that only has the final disposition in it, it shows the fee’s imposed and then nothing after. They have nothing showing payments of any kind. I’m sure I paid everything, I completed all my obligations, I would assume I would of had to before being granted early termination, with adjudication withheld. I obviously do not have a receipt or record of this, I was 19 years old. They are just now in the process of attempting to collect court fee’s from 10 years ago mind you. What can I file to resolve this? Can I request that this is removed at all? If so, I truly believe this is an error in their records. I would need proof for the Department of Agriculture to show that these fee’s were paid at a minimum three years before my application. Can I specifically request them to dismiss the fee’s at the original disposition date?

Asked on August 3, 2018 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Court fees are part of any sentence or punishment for a criminal offense.  You probably would not have received an early termination had you still owed fees of any kind.  Judges require these to be paid before they will grant an early discharge.  This is your best evidence that your fees had been paid.  The clerk should still have a copy of your early termination order which would have included this finding.  Request a copy of this document if you do not already have a copy. 
If this document has magically disappeared, then ask for a copy of the judge's docket sheet.  It should contain a similar notation. 
From there, you can file a motion for one of two options (1) for the judge to make a finding that your fees have been paid consistent with the early discharge order, or (2) to enter a discharge of the obligation for lack of due diligence.  Lack of due diligence is very similar to a "speedy trial" motion, in that it basically argues that a defendant should not be prejudiced because they state failed to take any action to enforce or collect.  You want to present both options to the court because a judge may not bite on one of them, but may be inclined to grant the other option. 
You can hire an attorney to assist you with this matter...if so, get a quote on how much drafting the "motion only" will cost you so that you can evaluate the cost effectiveness of using an attorney versus representing yourself.  You don't want to spend $1000 in attorney's fees to contest a $478 charge. 


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