Court Costs Can Add Up: Arizona Court Fees Explained

a dollar bill on a brown table - Arizona court fees

Court Costs Can Add Up: Arizona Court Fees Explained

Being arrested and charged with a crime can affect your bank account right away. Arizona is one of the many states that will charge you for spending time in jail, seeing a judge, and sometimes even for your appointed public defender. 

Some fees can be avoided by winning your case, or even by paying up front. However, many court fees can accrue even if you win your case. Failure to pay these fees can result in big problems later on, like additional fees or even jail time. 

Court Fees vs. Fines in Arizona

In Arizona, fees, fines, and restitutions are all different types of debts that you have to repay to separate institutions. Court fees are different from fines—fines are specific amounts determined by a judge as punishment for a crime. Court fees, however, pay for all of the state’s expenses in processing your case, and they can be charged even if you are not found guilty.

Types of Court Fees in Arizona

  • Jail fees for time spent before trials
  • Fees to obtain a public defender
  • Jury fees 
  • Sentencing fees
  • Processing fees
  • Fees that come with processing restitution and fines
  • Public defender reimbursement
  • Prosecution reimbursement
  • Court administration fees
  • Fees for monitoring devices
  • Fees for drug and alcohol screenings
  • Administrative fees for probation or parole 
  • Fees for community service applications 
  • Fees for prison and jail (room and board)
  • Fees for prison-designated funds (construction, libraries etc.) 

I Can’t Pay for All That! 

Along with inflation and a higher cost of living, the U.S. is also seeing a rising cost in court fees. Getting arrested and convicted of a crime is more expensive now than ever before. There are costs for nearly everything associated with the Arizona justice system, just like the rest of the United States

However, failure to pay your court fees can land you in some even hotter water. Punishments for unpaid court fees can include jail time, prolonging probation or parole, or even additional late fees. In fact, in Arizona there is an entire program called F.A.R.E. that’s dedicated to collecting payment for court fees. 

It is important to note that if the court finds that you are paying what you are able, there will be some leniency applied. This can look like renegotiating your court fees or setting up a different payment plan. You might also be able to apply for fee waivers or deferrals.

An Experienced Defense Attorney Can Help You Win Your Case

If you’re facing criminal charges, it can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to figure out how the criminal justice system works, but you also have to navigate the world of court fees. One of the best ways to avoid large fees and the cost of incarceration is to win your case. When you have a dedicated attorney on your side, you have a better chance of avoiding incarceration or negotiating a shorter sentence. 

Todd Coolidge is one of the best certified criminal defense attorneys in Arizona. With nearly 25 years of experience, his firm is dedicated to making sure your case gets the best representation available, and that every case gets the respect and time it deserves. If you are facing criminal charges, contact us today to schedule a consultation.




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/29/23). Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash.