Criminal charges bring numerous consequences, no matter the outcome. You may worry about how an arrest or a conviction may affect your life.
However, right now, your biggest concern may be how much your case is going to cost. The answer depends on many factors, some of which are in your control and others that are not.
Fines and restitutions
With crime comes punishment, which often includes steep fines. How high they are depends on the nature of the offense. For example, the penalty for a first DWI in Texas is no more than $2,000, whereas a high-value fraud case can be five times as much. In addition, you may have to pay restitution to the people your actions affected. Damages can include lost goods or income, medical expenses and even funeral costs in the event of wrongful death.
Sentencing is not the only time the court demands payment; just going through the judicial system racks up a bill. Courts charge for everything from filing documents to wearing electronic monitoring devices. There may be prison expenses as well. Even though bail is mostly refundable, it is an expensive upfront cost to factor in.
These fees have become an increasingly greater burden upon defendants, reports NPR. What used to be free now comes with a price, hurting most those who cannot afford to pay, regardless of how minor the charges are. Judges may add on jail time if you do not have the money, and courts charge interest until the payment is complete.
Having a lawyer comes with its own cost as well. The better the attorney, the higher the cost may be. This may deter you from getting experienced representation, but having a strong defense is the most effective way to avoid the other high fines and fees. Even having a public defender is not always free. The state can recover the expense through recoupment, shares The Texas Tribune. It is better to spend the money on an attorney who cares about you and your case.