What is court-ordered debt, and why do I need to know about it?

Court-ordered debt is money that you may owe because of some past involvement you had with the criminal justice system—whether you were convicted, acquitted, your charges were dismissed, or you were only ever arrested. You may owe this money to the court itself, to the county or other government agency, to a victim of your crime, or even to a collection agency.

If you were convicted of a crime, you most likely owe court-related costs, or owed them at one point. But even if you were never convicted of anything, the court can still make you pay other fees, such as jail booking fees, public defender fees, and fees associated with minor offenses called infractions. It is important that you know about and understand any court-ordered debt you owe, because this debt can make it difficult for you to move forward with your life in many different ways.