When you face criminal charges, you have a lot to handle, between talking to police to showing up to court dates. You need a strong legal defense for the best outcome. Managing all these areas costs money. But how much, exactly?
No matter your income level, criminal charges take a toll on your finances. Following are three factors that affect how much of a financial impact your case will have.
1. Severity of the crime
The specific charges you receive will determine much of the overall expense. More serious crimes come with higher fines and restitution. They usually also require more court time and attorney assistance, thus increasing your court and legal fees as well. The more complex and longer the case, the higher the final bill will be.
2. Bail amount
Depending on the charges, you may receive a bail amount you have to pay to remain out of jail until your trial. The purpose is to allow you to be free while motivating you to show up, because if you do not, you lose the money. Although you will get it back for attending your court proceedings, it can still be hard to pay up-front. You can use a bail bonds agent to pay on your behalf for a fee that is a percentage of the total amount.
3. Method of resolution
Contrary to popular belief, most cases do not go to trial, because it is time-consuming and expensive for the prosecution. Trials are likelier for high-profile cases or those with strong evidence against the defendant that will increase the chances of winning. Otherwise, the two parties will negotiate an agreement. The process still requires court appearances, but not a lengthy trial, saving money not only for the prosecution, but also for the defendant.
Whether settling is good for your case is best decided with help from your lawyer. In some situations, the expense of a trial is worth a better outcome.