Judge Ralph Eriksson seems to have recently had a change of heart when it comes to folks neglecting their court costs. The Seminole County judge had been jailing the non-payers until media showed up in his courtroom to watch.
Eriksson had reportedly jailed about 20 people and issued more than 20 additional arrest warrants over the past 5 month period, all for unpaid court costs. An Appeals Court ruled his actions were in violation of the people’s constitutional rights but Eriksson kept at it.
The concern was that the people who were unable or unwilling to pay weren’t being informed of the possibility of jail time and weren’t told of their right to an attorney. When ruling in contrast to Eriksson, Appeals Court Judge Donna McIntosh set those people free and cancelled the outstanding arrest warrants.
Following McIntosh’s ruling a copy of her order was sent to Eriksson’s office. This did not stop him. Only when the media got wind and showed up in his courtroom did he play by the rules.
It seems, according to this report from the Orlando Sentinel , that Eriksson was upset with the estimated $3 million court costs that go unpaid in Florida every year. This was his attempt to ensure the people coming through his courtroom weren’t contributing to that shortfall.
Court costs, fines, and restitution are just some of the monetary penalties that can be levied when you are faced with criminal charges. As the seriousness of your offense increases, so does the potential fine.
Whether you are facing fines or a combination of fines and several years in prison, a criminal trial can be extremely stressful. Oftentimes, the money is the least of your concerns.
If you are facing charges and are unsure of how you will handle the sentence you have before you, I may be able to help. Contact me today to discuss the case against you and the effects it might have on your future.