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Can I Include DUI Fines in Bankruptcy?

A lot of people wonder if a DUI conviction can hurt their credit. A DUI does not directly hurt a person’s credit because the conviction itself is not reported to the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. However, a DUI can hurt someone’s credit indirectly.

A DUI involves fines and a number of fees. In order for a DUI defendant to get their driver license back and in good standing, they must pay these fees. If a DUI defendant fails to pay the court-ordered fines, they will be sent to collections, which will hurt their FICO score.

“What if I file bankruptcy? Can my DUI fines be included in the bankruptcy, and then after it’s discharged, can I get my license back?” Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Under federal bankruptcy laws, certain types of debts are NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy, including but not limited to:

  • Court-ordered fines.
  • Victim restitution (money paid to crime victims).
  • Child support arrears.
  • Past-due spousal support.
  • Taxes of a certain age.
  • Most types of student loans.

The fines and fees associated with a DUI conviction are categorized as “court-ordered fines” and are therefore non-dischargeable debts in bankruptcy. For example, if you’re planning on filing for relief under Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you owe money for your DUI penalties, you cannot include the debt in bankruptcy. It’s not allowed.

Do you have any other alternatives to paying the fines in-full? Your best option is to avoid a DUI conviction in the first place. If the state has a mountain of evidence against you, the next best option is to enter into a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor, one where your sentence and fines are reduced, giving you the breathing room you need.

To discuss your DUI charges with an Orange County DUI attorney for FREE, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. today.