Do I have to Pay to Stay in Jail?

Getting accused of a crime is not cheap.  Take a DUI for example.  When you get arrested your car gets impounded.  You have to pay for your vehicle to be towed and impounded.  You have to hire a lawyer.  If you’re found guilty or you enter into a plea arrangement, you’ll have stiff fines that you have to pay.  If you’re convicted or enter into a plea deal, you will likely have to pay a licensed substance abuse counselor to assess your risk and then you will have to pay to follow the recommendations of the counselor.  You will also have to pay a monthly fee for an interlock device and you’ll have to pay driver’s license reinstatement fees.

Incarceration and Medical Costs

As though that weren’t enough, the Utah Legislature (in its infinite wisdom) mandates that a criminal defendant who is convicted and sentenced to jail must pay the county back for his incarceration costs and any medical care he receives while in there.  That wonderful law can be found in Utah Code Section 76-3-201(6).  The Legislature has given the court power to reduce the amount owed to the county for incarceration costs.  In making that determination, the court will consider:

  • The defendant’s financial resources;
  • How much of a burden it will add to the defendant given his other financial obligations;
  • Whether the defendant can make payments;
  • Whether paying the jail costs will have a rehabilitative effect on the defendant;
  • Anything else the court wants to consider.

Transportation Costs

Not done yet.  If you are in jail and you have charges pending in another county and you are transported to that county for a court appearance and are subsequently convicted of a crime, you have to pay for your transportation costs.

So yeah…apparently taxes don’t pay for anything anymore.

What’s the lesson in all of this?  There are a couple.  First, the government sucks.  Since anyone can be a criminal under our expansive criminal penal code, anyone can get hit with the fines and costs discussed in this post.  Second, do everything you can to avoid getting into any kind of trouble because not only does the government want you to be strictly obedient to all of its laws (whether oppressive or not), in the event you break one of its laws it also wants to bankrupt you.

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