How to Write a Letter of Hardship Asking for Leniency in the Payment of Fines

Focusing on your hardship rather than payment suggestions could work against you.
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Fines, such as speeding tickets or government penalties for noncompliance, are a burden because you never plan for them. Just maintaining your way of life, obtaining food and shelter, and keeping your business operating may take nearly all the money you're earning. In these cases, write a letter of hardship to get some leniency in paying these fines.


Step 1

Locate the name and address of the person that you must address your letter to. For traffic tickets or municipal fines, you may have to write to the judge or the clerk of the court. Contact information will be on the ticket.

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Step 2

Get your finances in order. Review your bank account and find the wasteful spending. Wasteful spending is anything that isn't a necessity for food, water, shelter, and anything that impacts your ability to make a living. Car repairs are essential because you need your car to get to work.


Step 3

Create a budget. Write down your necessary expenses. Subtract that from your income. Make a plan for using the money left over after you have paid your necessary expenses. Eliminate your wasteful spending. Stick to your budget.

Step 4

Spend some time calculating payment arrangements you can make. Calculate your ideal payment arrangement and then determine the highest payment that you can make if the collector asks you to pay more than you are proposing.


Step 5

Take out a pen and paper and write a generic draft of the letter off the top of your head. Consider re-writing the final version by hand as well. Handwritten letters have a sincerity that typed letters do not. Review what you've written and identify the major points you want to make so you can highlight them.


Step 6

Re-write the letter. Write in a positive tone. Avoid dwelling in melancholy. Keep it upbeat. As many times as the collector has probably received angry letters, threats over the phone and angry customers in person, your letter could stand out in an otherwise hectic day.


Step 7

Ask plainly for leniency, reduction or elimination of payment. If the collector can't eliminate or reduce payment, let her know that you are willing to make payment arrangements. Explain your plan to catch up on your payments. Offer only what you can afford without taking from your necessary expenses. Try to leave a little aside for emergencies.


Step 8

Tell the collector what changes in your life you have made to help yourself get out of the situation. Reassure them with the reasons that this plan will work amidst the hardships that you have been facing.

Step 9

Tell the collector that you have created a budget and have designated a percentage of your income to paying off debts. Avoid going into details about the reasons you fell on hard times. Don't get too involved in expressing your personal history. Thank him for taking the time to address you situation. Fill in your contact information


Step 10

Attach proof of income or information about the assets that you plan to use to help you pay off this debt.

Step 11

Review what you have written and see if you can hit all the main points in half a page. The main points are the nature of your hardship, your repayment proposal and why your payment proposal will work.

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