Legal Financial Obligations
Important Information about Legal Financial Obligations
If you owe court fines or fees, also known as Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs), you have certain rights you need to know about.

Right to a lawyer: You have the right to have a lawyer advise you and represent you before the court.  If you cannot afford a lawyer and are facing possible immediate jail time for failing to pay your LFOs, then you have the right to a public defender; contact the Department of Public Defense to determine whether you qualify; or 360-964-1591.

Right to have your financial circumstances considered: You may be ordered to serve jail time for failing to pay your LFOs only if you are able to pay them but unwilling to do so.  If, by no fault of your own, your income and assets are such that it is virtually impossible for you to pay your LFOs and provide basic necessities for your family, then your inability to pay is a defense against being ordered to jail.  If this is the case, you should ask for a public defender to help you make your case to the court.  You should also complete a LFO Worksheet  or (LFO Worksheet fillable pdf) for financial screening and provide it to your public defense attorney.

Right to have your fines/fees waived or suspended under certain circumstances:  If you are physically or mentally disabled and therefore are not able to pay your LFOs through no fault of your own, you have the right to ask the court to temporarily suspended or altogether waive your LFOs.  You will need to request a hearing before the court in order to have your request considered. Some fines and legal financial obligations may be waived by the court, see LFOs.

Instructions to get your LFO case reviewed by the court:
Contact the Department of Public Defense to determine whether you qualify; or 360-964-1591.

Waiver of Interest: Under certain circumstances, you may ask the court to waive the interest that has accrued on your LFOs.  The primarily applies to your non-restitution LFOs.  For more information about whether you qualify, how to apply, and what documentation you will have to produce, please see the ACLU Washington - Interest Waiver Guide.  

Please note that this information is provided as an educational resource by a third-party (the ACLU) and the Grays Harbor Department of Public Defense are not responsible for its content.  Furthermore, please note that you ARE NOT entitled to public defense counsel or advice for the purposes of seeking a LFO interest waiver.