Waiving or Reducing Interest Costs on Court Fines

Gotta love the ACLU.

The organization just created a step-by-step guide which provides information and forms on how to obtain a court order waiving or reducing interest on legal financial obligations (LFOs) in Washington State. Defined by statute RCW 10.82.090, the court may, on motion by the offender, reduce or waive the interest on legal financial obligations ordered as a result of a criminal conviction.

http://walawhelp.org/WA/StateChannelResults.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/%3D%201/Language/1/State/WA/TextOnly/N/ZipCode/%20/LoggedIn/0/iSubTopicID/2/iProblemCodeID/2040100/sTopicImage/court.gif/iTopicID/1196/ichannelid/7/bAllState/0

In order to move the court to waive or reduce interest, you must prove the following to the court in all cases:

1) You have already been released from total confinement;

2) You have made a good faith effort to pay, meaning that you have either (a) paid the principal amount in full, or (b) made 24 consecutive monthly payments excluding any payments mandatorily deducted by DOC;

3) The interest accrual is causing you significant hardship;

4) You will not be able to pay the principal and interest in full;

5) Reduction or waiver of the interest will likely enable you to pay the full principal and any remaining interest thereon;

My opinion?  So many clients tell me the criminal justice system sucks their money away.  It’s bad enough that people get criminal records, jail time, fines, restitution, etc., when convicted of crimes.  Paying interest fees on top of criminal fines is adding insult to injury.  Unbelievable.

Here, the ACLU has provided a great service to criminal defendants and their attorneys.  Good stuff.  I’m looking forward to applying the guidelines and helping my clients save money.

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