CLS attorneys may be able to help you fight bail judgments. Consider coming to CLS for intake if you want help with filing a bail petition and in your bail hearing. You may be entitled to a reduction or total vacation of the bail assessment, which could significantly reduce the amount that you owe. CLS can also help you to negotiate payment plans for other types of criminal and court debt.
Before you call or visit CLS, please gather any relevant paperwork, letters etc that you have relating to your issue with fines, costs or criminal debt.
Community Legal Services
Center City Office
1424 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia PA 19102
Mondays and Wednesdays 9am-12pm
North Philadelphia Office
1410 W. Erie Ave (Broad and Erie)
Philadelphia PA 19140
Mondays and Wednesdays 8:30am-11:30am
Community Legal Services
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 9am-12pm
In 2011, the city of Philadelphia began attempting to collect old, criminal debt dating as far back as 1971. This debt can consist of costs, fines, and restitution related to convictions, probation supervision fees, and bail assessments when the city claims someone has missed a court date. After a certain period of time, debts are sent to a collections agency. After that, debts may be sent to a law firm for further collection efforts. Advocates at Community Legal Services have been working with the courts to ensure that the new court payment system is implemented in a way that is fair to low-income individuals. The system is complicated, and it remains in development.
However, you have the right to a payment plan that you can afford. You can get on one by going to a Payment Plan Conference Room in room 004 in the basement of the Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert Street from 10:30am – 4pm any day of the week. When you go, only agree to a payment amount per month that you can afford. If you disagree with the overall amount that the court system claims that you owe, consider getting legal advice (see flyer below). The consequences of not being current with a payment plan include: loss of certain public benefits; wage garnishment; lien on property, and possibly Sheriff’s Sale; frozen bank accounts; ineligibility for expungement and/or pardon; and more.
Note: Bail from cases before March 2010 has been eliminated by order of the Court of Common Pleas. The order did not affect any bail judgments issued after March 3, 2010. You may wish to file a petition to vacate or reduce any newer bail judgments. The Order only applied to old bail judgments. You must continue to pay off other debts that you owe to the courts, such as restitution and fines and costs.