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Bankruptcy does not write off criminal fines or restitution. But it can help by writing off other debts so you can pay crucial expenses.

If you owe criminal fines, penalties, forfeiture, or restitution, bankruptcy does not help you directly with those debts. But bankruptcy can still provide you essential help in paying for essential expenses, including criminal related ones.

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The automatic stay immediately stops most collection actions when you file bankruptcy. But it doesn’t stop a “criminal action or proceeding.”

The Automatic Stay

This protection against debt collection is crucial because it gives you a necessary financial break. It’s effective because it is so fast and broad in its coverage.

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Bankruptcy can’t discharge—permanently write off—criminal debts, but it can still help in indirect but potentially game-changing ways.

If filing a bankruptcy case does not discharge criminal debts, how could it possibly help?

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