When someone gets arrested for a crime, their first question is often: “Am I going to be able to afford a lawyer to represent me?” However, once the reality of the situation sets in and you start to grasp the significant and long-term implications of a criminal conviction, the question should really become, “Can I afford not to get one?”
The Real Costs of Being Charged with a Crime
Yes, lawyers cost money. However, when considering the true expense of hiring a criminal defense attorney, you must think about the alternative. Some attorneys offer free initial consultations for criminal charges, so you have nothing to lose by at least sitting down with an experienced professional to gain a better understanding of your situation.
Even when facing jail time, many people simply think that they will serve out their sentence and move on with their lives. The reality, however, is that there are many more factors to take into consideration. The following are just some of the ways that a criminal conviction can cost you:
- Criminal fines and penalties
- Court costs
- Mandatory rehabilitation costs
- Restitution owed to the victim
- Lost time from work (and potential loss of employment)
- Obligation to disclose your conviction on future job and school applications
- A criminal conviction can be used against you in a civil lawsuit for damages
The Costs of Being Convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida
For example, let’s consider a first-offense charge for driving under the influence (DUI). The first issue comes up right away: Just for being charged with DUI, you will receive an automatic administrative suspension of your driver’s license unless you request a hearing within ten days of your arrest. If you don’t know how to request a hearing – and don’t know what to say at the hearing to keep your license from getting suspended – right away, you’ll be struggling to get to work and do everything else you would normally do by getting in your car.
Beyond that, someone convicted of a first-time DUI also faces:
- Fines (which start at $500 and go up from there)
- Court costs
- Paying for DUI school
- Paying to get your car out of impound
- A significant spike in your insurance premiums
- The job-related costs mentioned above
This is for a routine arrest where no one got hurt and no one’s property was damaged or lost. If you have been charged with a more serious crime, the costs will escalate accordingly.
Speak with an Experienced and Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime in Duval County or any of the surrounding counties in Northeast Florida, contact Timothy Armstrong, P.A. to speak with an attorney in confidence about your case. Schedule your free consultation by calling us now at (904) 356-8618, or complete our online form.