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What happens if you can't pay a court fine?
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What happens if you can't pay a court fine?

Here's the deal. I don't normally drive because I didn't not have enough money for a while to get car insurance and didn't want to drive without it. An inspector was coming to my house with my landlord and I didn't want the dog to possibly attack (2 strange men in my house, I was afraid she'd be protective), so i crated her, which I hate to do. Wanting to run home and uncrate her during the day, I took the car, figuring it's only 2 miles away, what could happen? Well, on my way to let her out, I was pulled over for "running a stop sign" (I disagree, but that is a different story) and of course, still had no insurance. Now I have a court date, etc.. and I know the consequence in my state is a $1500.00 fine and suspension for 6 months... my question is... I don't have 1500.00 to my name to pay this... do they make payment plans or anything? I can't find anything online about it... I live in Delaware. I want to do the right thing and understand what I did was wrong and am scared.
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I thank you all for your help, except for the person who chooses not to believe the situation. It's a stupid one, I know, but c'mon, if I was going to make something up, I'd come up with something better. However, I know how courts work and I wouldn't lie. I work in an industry where we catch liars every day... it would be pretty easy to be caught. Besides, like the officer told me to do, right when I got to work, I bought a policy, it's just I knew I did not have it at the time of the stop. Everything in the situation works into a very specific timeframe so hopefully the judge goes easy on me. Like I said, I just want to do the right thing (even though it was not the right thing to drive without the insurance to begin with.)


There's nothing to be scared about! Explain your situation to the judge and more than likely you will get a payment plan worked out for you. If not, they just suspend your license until the fine is paid. You might even plead "not guilty" and see if the court is willing to reduce the ticket. No court wants to take violations to trial as it is very expensive. Just do not request a deposition from the officer or he will put the screws to you! If the court is unwilling to accept the not guilty plea then change it to guilty in front of the judge. No big deal! Pay the fine when you can and just deal with the consequences of the license suspension! Not the end of the world! Whatever you do don't lie, I would not appear with an insurance policy that has been altered in any way as the officer already knows you did not have insurance and therefore you will bite off more than you can chew if the judge even thinks you are attempting to do something illegal! Old expression: Honesty is the best policy! When we do the crime we have to do the time so to speak!

Ignore Jazz, who obviously doesn't bother to read more than two words of a question before giving an idiotic reply. The fine is not for running a stop sign, the fine is for driving without insurance and quite possibly on a suspended license since most states will suspend a license if insurance isn't paid.

Anyway, appear in court, tell the judge just what you have told us, and ask if you can make payments. I'm sure you will be able to, and perhaps the penalty will be lowered a bit as the result of your honesty. Good luck with it.

They want your money. Most courts will arrange a payment schedule in these cases.

WARNING: Once they set up the payment schedule DON'T miss a payment. They will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

Throw yourself on the mercy of the court...though I doubt he will believe you anymore than I do.

I don't know anything for sure about the state of Delaware but in most states they will work out a payment plan with you. They would rather you pay in payments than to put you in jail. Is the fine for not having insurance or for running a stop sign? If for not having insurance, running the stop sign has no bearing on the case and it is possible to get an insurance broker to predate a policy for you to cover the date you were stopped. If not, at least get insurance so you can show you've got it when you go to court. If the fine is for running a stop sign and you don't believe you did, fight it but make sure you know the law about stop signs. Pausing is not stopping. It will primarily be the cops word against yours. The judge will almost always go for the cops word above yours unless you are willing to show that taking his word above yours with no other proof is not legal. If he has footage from his car cam, you won't have a leg to stand on so make sure you did stop at that stop sign.

You can make payments.............

in California they make you go to Cal trans (freeway cleaning)or community service

Livin' La Vida Gay
Either to pay the fine or spent some time in jail or doing community work.

you can make payments on it or do x amt of community service hrs to help reduce the fine.. all you have to do is request it

I live in Kansas. But I would think if you contacted the judge or the office that would receive your fine money, that by telling the truth you might could work out some plan to pay it off. Be very apologetic and polite.


Yes you can make payment plans and they might not even give you the maximum fine, that is probably what you are referring to with the $1500, more than likely it will be alot cheaper, you will end up having to get an SR22 for insurance and have to keep that foir a year. If you can't afford insurance, then more than likely you will not be able to get insurance without the SR22, make an appointment to talk to the prosecutor about your case and ask more questions there. Good luck.

Contest the ticket.

A 1500 fine for running a stop sign that's absurd. I'm originally from NY and never have I gotten a ticket for 1500. I now live in NC and they are pretty strict here and they aren't even that bad.

If you are concerned about the insurance, get some before the court date and the judge may dismiss that part of it. The stop sign will give you points on your license and increase your insurance.

Get insurance quickly. I know insurance is expensive in Delaware and what I'm about to tell you could be wrong - but find a relative near a city that has cheaper insurance if money is the issue.

But get some insurance I'm coming that way headed for NYC and I don't want you to hit my brand new Passat with no insurance, lol.


Ya, son replace cusin,s license on are car , he was not to drive it . cause license were exspire and registration, is not up to date and no insurance. tags were acorse exspired too. my husband name on title not mine, and son is in jail so what going to happen are they going to fine us cause police station want.;s to see registration and insurance before we can have the car total mess. why this even got this bad is cause i lost my job and then property tax insnt paid eithr car inspected cause insurance been so late, then need 2.000 worth the work done on it i dont even think it;s worth getting out of the pawn its just going to be a big problem and allits worth 2000,oo then transmisson going out its like hell on earth.

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