Paying Your Fine and/or Court Costs and Other Court Questions
Paying Your Fine and/or Court Costs
If you owe a fine and/or court costs, by statute you have thirty (30) days to pay the balance owed to the Court. Until recently, failure to pay fines and/or court costs resulted in a suspension of your driver’s license. Virginia has done away with that practice, but Courts will now routinely send your balance to collections and it will accrue interest if you fail to pay.
If you have questions regarding court payments, typically contacting the Clerk’s Office is the best course of action. If you run into any issues, feel free to call us and we can try to assist.
Contacting the Clerk’s Office
Keep in mind that when you do call the Clerk’s Office, the clerks on the other end of the phone are typically trying to do everything they can to assist you. They are, however, limited in certain circumstances as to what they can and cannot do or tell you. For example, court personnel are not permitted to offer legal assistance, but can provide general procedural information. It’s not about their ability to answer your questions, it’s about what they are and are not permitted to tell you by Order of the local court, the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, and the Code of Virginia.
If you’re represented by an attorney familiar with the Court, it’s often easier on everyone involved if you try to reach out to your attorney rather than calling the Clerk’s Office first. Sometimes calling the Clerk’s Office can be frustrating, but please keep in mind that the person you are speaking with may have rules that they are absolutely not allowed to break as part of their jobs.
What the Clerk’s Office typically can do:
- Explain and answer questions about how the Court works
- Give general guidance on how to fill out forms
- Give you some information from your case file
- Direct you to where online forms and samples of forms are available online
- Answer questions about Court requirements and deadlines related to your case
What the Clerk’s Office typically cannot do:
- Change an Order issued by a Judge
- Give legal advice. While almost every clerk we interact with is incredibly knowledgeable about the Court, they typically are not lawyers, and even if they were, they are not your lawyer and they are not permitted to give you legal advice.
- Opine about the outcome of your case, whether a lawyer is required, what defenses you might have, or what will happen in court
- Recommend a lawyer
- Talk to the judge about your case
Typically you can make the payment online with a credit or debit card. Prior to making any payment to the court, it is advisable to contact an attorney, especially if your court date has not passed.
To pay your fine and/or court costs, go to:
General District Court Online Case Information System
Once you have entered into the online system, select the court you wish to pay from the drop-down menu on the left side of the screen.
After selecting the court, you can search for your case either by entering your name or by using your case number. Be sure to enter your name as it appears on the ticket.
If you have multiple cases or owe multiple fines to the court, make sure that you pay each one individually.
Once you locate your case and are on the Case Details page, hit the button “Mark for Payment” to begin your online payment process. From there, you will be prompted to enter payment information.
After paying your fine and/or court costs, be sure to print a receipt for your records.
If you wish to make your payment by mail, you can send a money order or check to that court’s clerk’s office. Make the check payable to appropriate court, for example “Henrico General District Court” and use your case number as a reference in the memo line.
Some Courts require payment by check or money order, so be sure to confirm what payment method is required for your specific case.
You can also go in-person to the Clerk’s Office to make your payment by cash, check, money order, or card. Be sure to confirm that the court accepts the method of payment you wish to use as some courts do not accept card payments.
Some courts have payment plan arrangements if you are unable to pay the fine in full within thirty days of your court date. The policies vary by jurisdiction so contact the clerk’s office where you have court to confirm eligibility. You also find out more information on payment plan policies here: General District Court, Circuit Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.