Restitution, Fees, and Fines in Arizona

person making a payment online -definition of restitutions and fines in Arizona

Restitution, Fees, and Fines in Arizona

Being convicted of a crime in Arizona can be costly. Depending on your sentence, you might have to pay fees and fines or even make restitution. All of these fines can be difficult to repay, especially if you are facing incarceration or probation. 

Many people assume that restitution, fines, and fees can all be paid together. However, they all serve different purposes and are paid to separate entities. Here’s more about paying court fees, fines, and restitution in Arizona.

The Definition of Restitution, Fees, and Fines in Arizona

Court Fees 

Arizona court fees cover the costs incurred by the state for the criminal trial. They are paid to the county courts. The court process is often a long one, with plenty of opportunities for fees to incur

From administrative fees to jury fees, court fees can take many forms. If you are convicted, you will also have to pay prosecution fees. However, you can get out of paying these fees if you win your case. 


Fines are payments made to the city, county, state, or federal government. Who the fine is paid to will depend on the crime and on the judge’s sentence. Fines are intended to deter people from committing the same crime twice. 


Finally, we come to restitution, which is a sum paid to a victim of a crime. For example, if you were convicted of assault, the judge could order you to pay the medical bills for the injuries the other party received, or even their salary for missed work.

What Happens If I Do Not Pay? 

All of these fees, fines, and restitutions can add up into the thousands or even tens of thousands. With a conviction on your record, it might be hard to find employment, and if you are incarcerated, you will not make very much working in prison or jail. These are details a judge will consider during sentencing, and your sentence will include a payment plan.

Garnishment of Wages for Restitution, Fees, and Fines

If you are unable to make your payments, the state can garnish your wages or seize your property. 

If you are incarcerated, they can garnish your commissary account. Legally, the state can take twenty to fifty percent of your commissary account every month until your debt has been paid. 

If you are on probation or parole and have employment, the state can garnish your wages. They will collect a percentage either until your debt is paid, or up to five years past your final day of parole or probation, whichever comes first.

Additionally, if you fail to make your payments, the state can place a lien against anything valuable you own, like a house or a car. This means that if payments are not received, the state can sell your property and use the money from the sale to cover unpaid restitution, fees, or fines. 

Even dying does not get you out of paying restitution. Victims are able to petition for repayment through your estate, and your family and friends could be left with nothing. 

A Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Fines

One of the best ways to avoid being bombarded with fees and fines or having to pay restitution is to avoid conviction. To win your case, you need to give yourself the best possible chance with the best possible lawyer

Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience in the Arizona criminal justice system. His combination of legal knowledge, litigation skills, and a personal touch make him one of the best defense lawyers in the state. If you’re facing criminal charges in Arizona, contact us today to schedule a consultation.




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/20/23). Photo by on Unsplash.