Being involved in the criminal justice system can be a costly journey. Many people don’t realize that there are fees and fines that people have to pay. These add up quickly and can be financially devastating to the people who have to pay them.
When you are thinking about the ultimate out-of-pocket expenses for your case, you have to include these. It might be possible find out what you will likely have to pay if you are convicted. Remember, some of these will only apply in specific circumstances.
Fines, fees and costs
Criminal justice convictions come with fines that you pay to the court. In most cases, you can pay the fines in installments. This helps people to be able to afford fines that can stretch into thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, not everyone who is convicted is able to make these payments.
On top of the fines that the court orders you to pay, you will have to pay fees and costs. These can include a host of expenses. Court costs, a records management fee, indigent defense fee, clerk’s fee and several others are all likely.
These are expensive for felony charges, but even people facing misdemeanors are going to have to pay up if they are convicted. One report notes that there is a minimum of $178 for misdemeanor convictions.
Sometimes, complicating factors can make it difficult to impossible for people to pay these exorbitant costs. One thing to remember is that many people are sentenced to prison so they don’t have an income. Even if payments don’t have to be made during the incarceration, the person might still face a hard time making them when they are released.
Finding employment as a felon or someone who has a criminal history isn’t easy. In some cases, these individuals rely heavily on family members to keep up with financial aspects of life, but not everyone has people behind them who will do this. This is unfair to these family members.
Inability to pay
Failing to pay off fines, costs and fees can land you in jail. The Pay or Stay report notes that one in every eight misdemeanors in Texas results in people spending time behind bars to pay off all or some of these costs.
The costs will also increase if you can’t pay them off all at once. Most places charge interest fees on payment plans and some will turn accounts that aren’t paid over to a collection agency. Ultimately, being prepared for some of these expenses might help you to be able to cover them if you are convicted.