Getting arrested can be expensive and unfortunately, there is no real way around the fact that money will have to be spent. However, there are ways to try and lessen the financial burden so that it doesn’t have to cause a total catastrophe to your bank account. Here are things to keep in mind when trying to lessen the impact.
Apply for a public defender
One of the most expensive costs related to court cases will undoubtedly be paying for representation. A private lawyer can cost hundreds of dollars an hour and the time billed ads up quickly. For many, a private or specialized attorney is just not an option but the law states that it is every citizen has the right to a lawyer which is where public defenders come in. Public defenders are court-appointed lawyers that represent defendants for little to no cost. While many have the assumption that a public defender is just automatically assigned to someone if they say they do not have the money to hire a lawyer, it is actually a little more complicated than that. In order to get a public defender, you have to apply and state your income and what you have in savings. From this, the courts will either offer the services of a public defender for no cost or subsidized depending on how much they think you can afford to pay. It is also important to note that if a defendant has a high income or significant resources in savings that the courts may deny the application overall in which case the defendant can either pay for a lawyer out-of-pocket or represent themselves.
Use the services of a bail bondsman
One of the main reasons that the bail bonds industry even exists is because most people cannot afford to pay the total cost of bond upfront. Even for minor offenses, the cost of bond tends to be in thousands and all the way up to the millions in more severe cases. When you work with a bail bondsman you only need to come up with a small fraction (about 10-15%) of the bond cost which in turn makes it far more accessible to afford getting released. The reason bail bond agencies are able to do this is because they act as an insurance company that front the remaining cost of the bond and takes responsibility that the defendant will show to their scheduled hearings. The catch with this is however is the percentage put down to be released is not refundable and is considered the service fee for hiring a bail bondsman whereas if the entire amount was paid upfront, the amount would be refunded eventually once the case concludes and the defendant showed up to court. While this may not be a completely cost-saving action, it does lessen the burden for most who won’t have a huge chunk of their money tied up with the courts for months on end.
Set up a payment plan to pay court fees and restitution
When the court costs, as well as fines and restitution, comes up, it can feel like an overwhelming amount but the most important thing to note is that you should be able to set up a payment plan with the courts to pay an amount you can afford every month. This way you have time to chip away at these costs without hampering you or wrecking your finances while moving past the arrest. The courts will work with your income so that you are not having to pay more than you can afford every month.
While you may not be able to get away from paying anything, there are ways to make sure that the costs of what is already a stressful situation do not prove to be too much financially as well.