How do I get my restitution lowered and my record sealed?

UPDATED: Jul 13, 2010

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How do I get my restitution lowered and my record sealed?

I was arrested at the end of 2007 for charges that I plead guilty to and was placed on probation for 10 years and ordered to pay an outrageous amount of restitution. Of course at the time I was just ready to be done with the situation so I agreed to the terms but now being that I have felonies on my record I can not find a job. So not only do I have not have a job to raise my 4 year old daughter; I am worried that I will be arrested for not paying restitution. My family has been helping me but they can no longer afford it. What do I do?

Asked on July 13, 2010 under Criminal Law, Georgia


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You need to start by being pro-active here: don't wait to be arrested, talk to your probation officer about this.  If you don't have a scheduled meeting in the next week or two, call and ask for an appointment.  At the very least, doing this will prevent you from being seen as completely irresponsible; even if you are found in violation of probation for the non-payment, the punishment would probably be less severe.  With some luck, you might get some extra time to come up with the money, or a temporary reduction in what you are expected to pay each month.

At least in theory, you could file a motion with the court seeking to have your sentence modified.  But those motions are very rarely granted, even when made by experienced criminal lawyers.

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