Nearly €1m was paid into court poor boxes around the country last year.
Drug and alcohol treatment centres, charities and men's shed groups were among those to benefit from the payments.
Under the poor box system, a judge can ask a defendant to pay money to charity in order to avoid a conviction for a minor offence.
New figures, released by the Courts Service, show over €997,000 was paid into the boxes last year.
That's down €600,000 on the previous year.
Roscommon solicitor Séan Mahon says the system is useful for dealing with less serious offences.
“It is a discretionary power that the judges have to avoid convictions, most likely for the likes of a young person who may be up in court for the first time – be it for possession of a drug or it could be for some other minor offence, whether it is drink or otherwise,” he said.
“If there was a conviction recorded against them, it could seriously impact their employment prospects in the future.”
He noted that even minor convictions can have serious consequences for people.
“If they were looking to go to the Gardaí or to the army of if they were looking to go to college or seeking to get visas to go to America or Australia, the fact they have that kind of conviction recorded against them would prevent them from doing that,” he said.
“It is for that reason the judges use those discretionary powers – not to impose a conviction but rather make them pay €400 or €500 into the court poor box.”
Some €177,000 euro was donated to court poor boxes in the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin last year.
That was followed by the €102,000 donated at Blanchardstown Courthouse and the nearly €86,000 donated in courts in Cork.
Other areas with high amounts were Dundalk with €80,000 and Swords with €77,000.