Waive Criminal Court Fees

A judge can fully or partially waive criminal Assessments/Fees for one of the qualifying reasons:

  • Receive a means-based public benefit
  • have income within certain limits of the Federal Poverty Line 
  • it would be a substantial hardship to pay the fees or assessments

What goes into granting or denying Applications
• A judge must specify a reason in the order if the waiver application is denied.
• Rely on the objective criteria to review waiver applications to avoid potential influence or appearance of bias.
• Do not make assumptions based on an applicant's appearance, clothing, possessions, or demeanor.
• Many applicants have disabilities, both visible and invisible, that can interfere with their ability to work.
• Having a job is not an automatic disqualifier. A federal minimum wage employee with one minor child can work 40 hours a week and still fall under the federal poverty level.
• Having an attorney is not an automatic disqualifier. Some pro bono and limited-scope attorneys represent clients in or near poverty. Other attorneys work on contingency or are paid by someone other than the applicant.
• Owning a home is not an automatic disqualifier. Many homeowners are "underwater." Even those with equity in the home may live in poverty since it is not a fungible asset.
• There are no residency requirements for waiver applications.

Criminal Court assessments/fees not applicable to be waived

  • punitive fines
  • restitution and no 
  • fees for violations of the Vehicle Code

For more information about Criminal Court Waivers, go to 725 ILCS 5/124A-20 and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 404