pay one's dues to society

pay (one's) dues to society

To serve the sentence given to one upon conviction of a crime. In the eyes of the law, he has paid his dues to society, so he shouldn't be facing any further punishment for his past crimes. I spent nearly 15 years in prison—I paid my dues to society!
See also: due, pay, society, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pay one’s dues (to society)

tv. to serve a prison or jail sentence. I served ten years in prison. I’ve paid my dues to society. The matter is settled.
See also: due, pay, society, to
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.