A lot of people get into trouble with court-ordered fines, whether they’re for a moving violation, such as speeding, a ticket for driving without insurance, or driving under the influence (DUI). When these fines are ignored, things go downhill from there. Eventually, a past-due fine will be sent to collections and it will negatively affect the driver’s credit score.
Suppose you’re facing DUI charges and you’re wondering, “What will happen if I’m convicted and I don’t pay the hefty fine (up to $2,000 for a first DUI)? I’m already thinking about filing bankruptcy, can the DUI fine be included if I decide to file for bankruptcy relief?” This is a good question and it does come up periodically.
DUI Fines Cannot Be Included in Bankruptcy
DUI fines cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Why? Because, they are court-ordered fines, which are non-dischargeable debts. When debtors file for bankruptcy, certain debts can be discharged, such as unsecured debts (think credit cards, personal loans, and medical debt), while other debts cannot be discharged.
The following types of debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy:
- Court-ordered fines (including DUI)
- Victim restitution (money criminal defendants pay to their crime victims)
- Most student loan debt
- Recent taxes
- Child support arrears
- Spousal support arrears
If you’re facing DUI charges in Miami, there are various fines and fees that can be imposed by the court, and you cannot avoid paying these fees. As a general rule, they are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and if you fail to pay them, you will not be able to get your driver license back. The best chance you have to improve the outcome is to fight your DUI charges and seek a dismissal or a favorable plea bargain.
Related: “Can a DUI Affect My Credit?”