On the radio a story about how courts are pushing the costs of running the system onto the defendants, and it really doesn't help that most of these people can't afford to pay such fees. You may be provided a lawyer (public defender), but in a lot of places you will be forced to pay for your lawyer and administrative fees as well. If you can't, you are going to jail for that debt.
Don't think you can delay paying off those fees and fines, because they'll also tack an interest rate on top of it.
And the kicker, if you want to work off the debt with the local government, you have to pay them in order to do so.
Biggest advice for most Americans? Be obedient little sheep and don't even attempt to be low hanging fruit for the cops.
Turns out there's a Supreme Court case that ruled that you can't put people into jail for not being able to pay their fines: http://www.npr.org/2...debtors-prisons But surely states rights trump that.