I have a bench warrant for failure to pay court fines, but have the money to pay them now. Will I be able to just pay them and leave?

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I have a bench warrant for failure to pay court fines, but have the money to pay them now. Will I be able to just pay them and leave?

Hi, I just have a question about a legal issue. I was arrested 3 times in New Hampshire for underage drinking – they were violations. I paid the first fine of $720.00 then was issue another fine for $1200.00 for the second time and then another $600.00 for the third time. Total I owed to the courts was $1800.00. They helped me out a lot and gave me extensions and payment plans throughout the year and I had followed them until I had to leave where I was and I haven’t paid them anything in the past year and haven’t been back, mainly because now I am afraid that I have a bench warrant. I have the money to pay the rest of the fine that I owe, but am wondering if I will be arrested still because of failure to pay when it was initially due? Will I be able to go to the court clerk, pay it and leave with no problems?

Asked on June 3, 2009 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.H., Member, California Bar / M.H., Member, California Bar

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Although it is possible a bench warrant issued, most judges would be loathe to incarcerate you for failure to pay a fine for violations.  I think it would be best though if you had an attorney call the clerk's office for you and determine what the outcome will be if you attempt to pay your obligation now.  Try contacting your local bar association to see if someone can assist you.  In the alternative, you might be able to pay an attorney at the courthouse a small fee to check the issue for you.  Good luck.

I offer this information in an effort to allow you to better understand some general legal principals that may apply to your fact scenario.  This is not intended to substitute for a detailed consultation with an attorney admitted to practice before the bar of your state.  Laws differ from state to state.  Thus, the information above does not constitute legal advice.  Further, ethical rules prohibit an attorney such as myself from "practicing" law in any state but the state in which I am admitted.  


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