Can You Discharge DUI Fines in Bankruptcy?

dui finesCommitting a DUI in Arizona can have a whole scope of consequences. The legal ones are obvious but there will also be financial sanctions to deal with in the aftermath of being found guilty of driving under the influence.

Depending on the severity of the offense and the aggravating factors, you may have to face a hefty fine that you’re simply incapable of dealing with.

You probably know that an Arizona bankruptcy can help you liquidate some types of debt you’ve accumulated but can it be a good choice in the event of court fines and judicial financial sanctions? That’s what we are about to find out today.

Can DUI Debt Be Discharged?

Let’s start with the basics and answer the most important question first.

Generally speaking, debt from criminal restitution cannot be discharged in an Arizona bankruptcy.

This means that fines and penalties imposed by the government have to be paid in full and they cannot be liquidated when you do a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

There are only a few very narrow cases and types of scenarios that apply to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These exceptions are outlined in 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(7) and 1328(a)(3). As per these federal regulations, a few limited types of restitution payments resulting from a criminal conviction can be added to the bankruptcy estate.

A very simple reason exists for these restrictive conditions. The aim of financial sanctions in the event of a criminal conviction is to provide some kind of rehabilitation. It’s a part of the punishment you need to endure for the criminal activity that you engaged in. as a result, most court-imposed financial sanctions cannot be discharged in an Arizona bankruptcy.

You will still be responsible for the sanction determined by the court in a criminal DUI case. Driving under the influence, however, could also contribute to a civil lawsuit if you hurt someone or damage property while driving under the influence.

Click here for an article on Arizona DUI fines.

Civil DUI Lawsuits and Bankruptcy

Civil personal injury lawsuits contribute to additional expenses after being found guilty of a DUI.

In the event of a personal injury case, the victim will be taking you to court and seeking compensation for pain, suffering or damages you caused while driving under the influence.

This is a separate legal procedure from the criminal cases that comes with its specific expenses and potential financial ramifications.

If you’re facing a personal injury lawsuit as a result of a DUI accident, you may be wondering about the possibility of getting such expenses discharged in an Arizona bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, federal law makes this impossible. In the event of a DUI, you cannot discharge civil lawsuit debt by doing a bankruptcy filing. You will be responsible for the entire amount and it cannot be liquidated through the standard bankruptcy procedure.

Bankruptcy and Lawsuit Judgments

You have to understand the fact that DUI is a very specific type of serious offense that is examined individually when bankruptcy regulations are being formulated.

Many types of lawsuit judgments can be discharged in a bankruptcy.

Criminal penalties and restitutions, however, have to be paid. Causing willful and malicious injury or hurting/killing someone when engaging in drunk driving will have you facing the consequences of your actions.

You already know that Arizona treats DUIs very seriously. There’s mandatory jail time, regardless of the seriousness of the offense. Various other sanctions apply, including losing your license for a specified period of time.

If you face DUI charges and you worry about their financial consequences, you may want to consult a bankruptcy attorney. Generally speaking, however, there will be no way out of the situations until you cover all expenses and financial sanctions.

Find out common bankruptcy mistakes in Arizona.