LFO's and Indigency

It is well known that upon a criminal conviction a person faces the possibility of spending time in jail, but what most folks don’t know is that there is another consequence that follows a criminal conviction – legal financial obligations (‘LFO’s’). LFO’s are designed to pass court costs and prosecution costs onto the convicted person instead of taxpayers.

The common concern, however, is what happens when a person cannot pay LFO’s; in other words, the offender is indigent. Well … in theory … indigent defendants are supposedly not required to pay for costs that they cannot afford. That said, courts in the past often neglected to worry about an offender’s ability to pay LFO’s. This caused problems and resulted in many offenders being punished for something that was not within their control – indigency.

Earlier this year a Washington Court of Appeals case addressed this problem. In State v. Newman, Division II of the state appellate courts agreed with the defendant’s contention that it was wrong for his attorney to not object to discretionary LFO’s. Though his conviction wasn’t overturned and his probation and incarceration were upheld, the appeals court remanded the case back to the trial court so that the defendant’s indigence status could be reviewed and considered before any discretionary LFOs could be imposed.

If you or a loved one is arrested or charged with a crime, you should immediately seek the advice and/or assistance of a qualified Seattle criminal defense attorney. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are arrested or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.

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