The Cost of Criminal Charges
There is no easy way to put this: Being charged with a crime can not only cost you a lot in the economic sense, but the more difficult, less-quantifiable costs are associated with the potential loss of one’s freedom, employment opportunities, and other important rights. As explained below, the costs associated with being charged with a crime go far beyond the costs of a criminal defense attorney.
Bail in Virginia
Bail can sometimes be the most costly upfront expense in fighting a criminal charge. Although our justice system purportedly presumes the innocence of all suspects, people are sometimes stuck in detention for the duration of their case. Being stuck in custody while the wheels of justice turn ever-so-slowly can be extremely demoralizing. However, your Virginia criminal defense attorney can try to help lessen the cost of bail by either (1) getting a bondsman to reduce the percentage of bond held as a security; or (2) by arguing for reduced bail costs before a judge.
In some situations, the cost of a suspect’s bail can be reduced to zero and the judge will release you on your own recognizance with a promise to appear. Likewise, the cost of bail could also be reduced if your Virginia criminal defense attorney reaches an agreement with the prosecutor to seek a lesser charge than the charge you were originally arrested for. Hiring an attorney before posting bail can help ensure that you will obtain a bondsman that will not only be respectful and professional, but will also secure you some savings on the cost of the bond.
It is important to understand that if you fail to obtain pretrial release, you are placed at a decided disadvantage. For starters, being out of custody and able to sleep in your own bed at night is an infinitely better situation than remaining in jail while your case is pending. Additionally, being out of custody allows you to help us with our investigation by locating witnesses or collecting evidence. When you are out of custody, we will be able to meet with you privately in a safe and comfortable place, whereas in jail, you would not be able to meet with us in as private a location as our office and therefore, you may be less comfortable discussing your case as openly. Finally, posting bail will allow you to live your life freely, keep your job, and avoid being kept in custody where you would be treated like an animal even though you have not been proved guilty of a crime. In sum, posting bail is most certainly the optimal course of action, and it is generally feasible with the right attorney and a good bail bondsman.
How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney?
Attorney’s fees vary wildly from one attorney to the next and from case to case. On the one hand, an attorney who represents you in traffic court will probably cost you a few hundred dollars. For a murder trial, on the other hand, an attorney will probably cost a lot more because preparation for trial is extremely time consuming and expensive. However, you can rest assured in knowing that few cases ever actually get that far. Most of the time, criminal cases are dismissed at the early, pretrial stages or the defendant and prosecutor settle the matter by reaching a plea bargain. Whatever your charges may be, we offer fair and reasonable fees based on a time estimate. We also accept all major credit cards and offer flexible payment plans.
Although you have a constitutional right to an attorney, you should also remember that those whom the court finds to be capable of paying will be required to pay for the costs of a public defender. The public defender will likely cost less than private counsel, but at the same time, those who utilize the services of the public defender do not have the ability to choose their attorney. In other words, when you go with the public defender, you get whoever the Commonwealth gives to you.
How Much is Your Freedom Worth?
It is almost impossible to quantify what a person’s freedom is worth, but if you to put a value on it, one could start by looking to their earnings. For example, if you are stuck in jail for two months, you obviously will not be able to earn any income during that time. Although you are incarcerated, the world keeps on spinning – bills will pile up, you’ll still be expected to pay your mortgage, and your job will likely need someone to fill your vacant position.
Apart from the obvious financial ramifications, jail is a very unpleasant place and it can be extremely dangerous as well. Whatever you may hear from those why try to put a positive spin on spending time in jail, the costs associated with avoiding ever spending even one day in jail vastly outweighs the speculative “benefits” or “life lessons” one might learn from any time they have to spend in jail.
In Virginia, fines of varying amounts can be imposed if convicted of almost any crime. If your crime resulted in an injury to a person or caused harm to their property, a court may order you to pay the cost of restitution. If there is a claim that the victim was somehow damaged, it is important to have an attorney who will review any and all claims for restitution in order to avoid the client from being charged more than they were supposed to be.
The Value of Keeping Your Record Clean
Being convicted of a crime and spending time in jail could destroy your family, your career, and your future. Any criminal conviction – misdemeanor or felony – interferes with your ability to find a job, get into a good school, or obtain a professional license. This is particularly true in Virginia where criminal convictions cannot be expunged from your record.
In Virginia, once you are convicted of a crime, that conviction will follow you for the rest of your life! This is precisely why I believe in emphasizing that the negative ramifications of a criminal conviction can cost a person a lot more than just money alone.
Contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you want to do everything you possibly can to ensure that you keep your freedom and your record clean. Contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa now for a Free Consultation with a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney. 571-354-6164
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By: Randall Sousa