Jurisdictions in Texas and throughout the country have tried to raise money through fines and fees. This allows them to generate revenue without having to increase taxes. However, if a person cannot pay a fine, he or she may spend time in jail or on probation until the issue is resolved. That could make it harder for a person to get a drivers license, find work or obtain adequate housing.
In some cases, those who are put in jail are required to pay a fee to cover costs related to their stay. The Vera Institute of Justice in New Orleans is trying to convince the city to do away with cash bail. It found that New Orleans pays nearly $3 million more to lock people up than they collect in fees and bail. Authorities in Memphis have also decided to stop prosecuting people for driving on a license that was suspended because of an outstanding debt.
However, Tennessee did not get rid of a law that allows the state the take drivers licenses away from people who owe money. Instead, it merely allows drivers to pay down their balances slowly over time. That could have a significant long-term impact on a person's life, and laws such as these exist despite the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled them to be unconstitutional.
Individuals who are charged with crimes might want to hire a criminal defense attorney to help with their cases. This is because failing to pay a fine could lead to jail time or other penalties. These penalties could include losing a drivers license or having wages garnished. An attorney may help to get a case dismissed or charges reduced to make it easier for a defendant to comply with the terms of a sentence.