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Can I file bankruptcy for my criminal costs?

If you have been convicted of a crime in Tennessee, you know that there can be a high price to this experience. In addition to time spent in jail or living with a criminal record on file, you may be ordered to pay high fines, restitution to those alleged to have been injured by your actions and more. When these costs are added to the everyday costs of life, it can be tough to make ends meet especially if you have a hard time getting a job due to your criminal background.

Before you think that filing for bankruptcy is the answer, you should know that the United States Courts indicate most costs associated with a criminal conviction are not able to be discharged via either a Chapter 7 bankrupty or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That does not mean bankruptcy can’t help your other debts but if you owe money to anyone for restitution related to your conviction such as if you are accused of defrauding others, you will still owe that even if you file for bankruptcy.

Costs related to the injury or death of another person for a drunk driving or drugged driving conviction, criminal fines and more also remain your responsibility and are not able to be folded into a bankruptcy proceeding or discharge.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give Tennessee residents convicted of criminal offenses an idea of what may or may not happen to their criminally related financial obligations.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association
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