Getting arrested comes with many consequences that you have to deal with — for many people, the worst part is the financial consequences. There is an old saying that goes, “guilty or innocent you still have to take the walk once you are arrested.” That means whether you committed the crime or not, if you have been arrested, you will have to go through the process.
Dealing with the financial consequences of getting arrested can derail your finances for years to come. The financial consequences of getting arrested can include paying the bail bond agent to get you out of jail, legal fees, and — if you are found guilty — fines and other financial penalties. What is the real cost of getting arrested?
Guilty or Innocent This is What Happens When You Are First Arrested
The police do not decide if you are guilty or innocent nor does the person that sets your bail bond. Once you are arrested, you can be held in jail up to your trial unless you can afford to pay the bond outright. Connecting with bail bond services, however, will pay it for you if you don’t have the funds.
Unfortunately, nothing in life is free, and neither are bail bond companies services. You will have to come up with a percentage of your bond cost to pay the bail agent’s fees. Depending on the size of your bail, this can run into the thousands of dollars.
A lot of people, especially those that do not have a lot of experience with the justice system, make two assumptions about bail. The first incorrect assumption is that the bail will fit the crime. While the bail amount often does fit the crime in many cases, it does not 100% of the time. For example, if you are charged with theft for the first time, you would think that the judge would lean towards a lower bail. Unfortunately, there is no formal structure to determine the amount of bail that can be applied to your case. It largely depends on the judge or buy generic modafinil magistrate’s opinion.
Another misconception about bail is that if you have a job, then the judge will go easy on your bail. The fact is while having community ties like a job and a family will help you during your trial, it does not help affect the cost of bail.
What if the financial consequences of bail is too great for you and your family? You will have to sit in jail until your lawyer can schedule a bail hearing and get the cost reduced. On the downside, a bail hearing can take months to get on the calendar which means you have to sit in jail until when and if the judge decides to lower your bail bond.
That’s where a bail bond agent comes in. A bail bond agent may work with you and your family and allow you to make payments on your fees. You may still find yourself in a bind and really worried about the financial consequences of agreeing to make payments. You may have to rework your current financial obligations to find the money to deal with the financial consequences.
Other Early-In-the-Game Financial Consequences of Getting Arrested
Let’s say you are able to work things out with the bail bond company and you are out of jail. This is not the end of the potential financial consequences. In fact, this is just the beginning. Now you have taken on additional debt. About 80% of Americans are in debt, which means you likely already had some debt on the table before you were arrested.
You now have to figure out how you will manage your prior debt with your current debt to the 24 hour bail bond company. Here is something to keep in mind: if you do not make your payments on time to the bail bond company, you will go back to jail.
You may have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and start selling things off to pay down the debt. Try to find local bail bondsman that will take payments over a longer period of time if you can. This can help you get back on your feet without worrying about exorbitant payments when you’re released from jail.
It is time to get serious about your financial situation. Remember, paying the bail bondsman companies is only one of the financial consequences of getting arrested. There are undoubtedly more financial stressors coming. Here are some ways you can get your financial situation in order to prepare for the financial consequences that are coming your way:
- If your car is paid off, sell it to raise immediate cash.
- Sell your jewelry to local pawn shops to raise cash.
- See if you can refinance any of your debt at a lower rate.
There are serious financial consequences to getting arrested that require some serious financial moves to raise the cash that you are going to need. For example, selling your car may seem like a drastic measure but if you sell off the car that you own outright, then finding car dealers that finance will enable you to get a used car with lower monthly payments. You can raise some quick cash this way.
What if your car is not paid off and you are still making payments? Consider refinancing your vehicle for lower auto loan rates. You will save some money each month on your payments. This will enable to put that toward covering some of the financial consequences you are going to have to deal with.
Consider getting a second job. If you did not lose your first job because you were arrested (that could easily happen) consider getting a part-time second job. The income from the second job can help to cover some of the financial consequences you are facing.
Call all of your creditors and ask about refinancing some or all of your debt. The quicker you can wipe out some of your debt or reduce the interest you are paying, the better.
Of course, getting arrested may come with the consequence of losing your job. In most cases, it really depends on what you were arrested for. For example, if you drive for a delivery service and you are charged with DUI while on the job, it’s almost guaranteed that when you get out on bail, you will not have a job.
Things Only Get Worse
Let’s go with the delivery driver that is accused of DUI while on the job. In this case, you lose your job, even if you are not proven guilty. That is one of the huge potential financial consequences of getting arrested. Not only did you take on more debt with one of the bail bond companies, but you also do not have a way to pay your regular bills.
What do you do to deal with these types of financial consequences? You find another job quickly. You may have to take a job that does not pay as well or that is not in your line of work, but getting a job quickly should be your top priority. It might be worth visiting an employment center if you’re struggling to find one on your own.
In the meantime, your bank account is dwindling and you may not be able to make some of your payments. Whatever you do, prioritize your payments to the bond company. If you have to sell everything off, you might have the chance to get it all back someday when your case is done.
Filing for bankruptcy is always an option, but keep in mind that bankruptcy does not cover things like fines, penalties, payments to your bond agent, and other costs typically associated with a criminal case. It will, however, save your house, car, and other possessions from repossession.
What Other Financial Consequences Are You Up Against
Paying an attorney should also be at the top of your financial to-do list. While it is your constitutional right to have an attorney appointed for you if you cannot afford one, it does not mean that you will not have to pay for the attorney.
Let’s look at the DUI example again. In some states, if you have a court-appointed car accident attorney to manage your DUI accident case and you are found guilty by a jury, you will still have to pay for the court costs and the services of that attorney.
At the end of the trial, the judge will ask the attorney how much time they have invested in the case and they will charge you with that cost. Each state does things differently and has different rates for what they pay their “court-appointed” attorneys. For example, in North Carolina, a court-appointed attorney gets paid $75 an hour. If you are found guilty as charged in NC, part of your penalty will be to pay the state back for the number of hours that the attorney invested in your case.
Of course, you may have to make arrangements on your own. The potential cost to hire an attorney can easily be in the thousands. Paying an attorney to represent you can mean your freedom. How much is your freedom worth to you?
The Financial Consequences of Getting Arrested Can Be Long-Lasting
Many people take years to recover from the financial consequences of getting arrested. Of course, the more disciplined you are financially, the sooner you can recover. The financial consequences of getting arrested can mean having to start from scratch.
If you are not convicted of the crime, you still have plenty of costs to manage because of the arrest. Keep in mind that there is no way to recoup the costs. You do not get a refund from the bail agent and you do not get any money back from your lawyer.
Of course, if you are convicted, that is an entirely different scenario. If you are convicted, the financial gut punches just continue. A conviction can mean:
- Heavy fines and penalties. The day you are sentenced the judge will read out all of the items that you now have to pay for on top of your potential jail time.
- Probation is not free. If you are convicted and given an opportunity to serve community probation (that means you stay at home and check-in with a probation officer), you will have to pay monthly fees for probation.
- Depending on your crime, you may have to include restitution, monitoring costs, and other fees.
Courts like to make sure that the financial consequences of being convicted are painful to ensure that you do not become a habitual offender. Let’s use the DUI delivery person as an example.
If you are convicted of a DUI you will have to pay fines to the court. You also will likely have your license suspended for a certain period of time, and then have to pay DMV a fine to reinstate it down the road. You will also likely receive some sort of community probation. Your monthly payments to community probation can vary depending on what state you live in.
If your DUI included property damage, you will need to pay restitution for that. A DUI conviction can mean both criminal and civil financial consequences. You can see how the financial consequences really start to stack up. It can take years for a case to make it through the court system. That means years of missed days of work. It also means less income no matter how you look at it. To recap, you will have less income, more debt, and potentially a huge bill at the end of the case.
There are countless financial consequences that are associated with getting arrested. When they say that crime does not pay, that is a tremendous understatement. Not only does crime not pay but it costs you plenty.
Avoid situations where an arrest is a possible outcome. No one wants to deal with the financial consequences of getting arrested.