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View Full Version : Cost to fight criminal charges?


Merle
01-07-2011, 1:54 PM
Frequently we hear how much it may cost to defend (e.g. if you choose to UOC have $20k ready to burn) or are charged with related gun crimes.

Here's a little breakdown for San Jose / Santa Clara, CA.

1. If your vehicle is impounded: $196 SJPD release (cash or money order) and $175 towing release and $55/day storage (VISA/MC). If your car is towed and you are booked (a multi-hour process) and you happen to spend the night in the pokey, then it'll cost you $400 the next day.

2. Bail. Depending on the severity of the charge, you *may* be released on OR (own recognizance) but you can't depend on this (always assume the worst). A misdemeanor can run $10k while a felonies can run you $25k-35k.

Unless you have ~$35k in a bank where *someone* (and it's not going to be you!) can get to it, AND drop the cash at the jail, you're going to need a bail bondsman. The charge is 10% with a discount of a few points if you go the lawyer route. Consider that money gone. Hence, $2800 - $3500 (VISA/MC). If you know the bondsman, they can reduce it to a little over 5% (as that's their cost as the other 5% goes to the county IIRC).

If it says "Mag" you're not getting out until the judge reviews your case so add a day for vehicle storage fees, and a potentially higher bail IF you have a background/record.

3. Lawyers. Criminal lawyers offer free consultation and here I believe that you get what you pay for. For misdemeanors you're looking at $2500 to be represented until trial, $5000 for felonies. Quotes for trial are $1500/day with most trials going 3 days.

4. Investigators. If you truly believe you're innocent, you're going to want to hire an investigator to help with your case. They'll interview the witnesses and help provide background for the lawyer. Prices greatly vary.

5. Appeals... TBD as Theseus can give a better idea!

Hence, $400 + $3500 + $5000 + $4500 = $13400. I'd say $15k is the minimum.

N6ATF
01-07-2011, 9:35 PM
And since you can count on pretty much every court except SCOTUS to rule against law-abiding gun owners, you'll probably need $1 mil to appeal all the way. :rolleyes:

AndrewMendez
01-07-2011, 10:29 PM
And since you can count on pretty much every court except SCOTUS to rule against law-abiding gun owners, you'll probably need $1 mil to appeal all the way. :rolleyes:

I looked for an article, but could not find it..IIRC Alan Gura is/was suing Chicago for none payment for his "legal fees" for McDonald v. Chicago...ANNND IIRC, it was something like 3.1 Million.

fiddletown
01-07-2011, 10:32 PM
I'd say something like $15,000 is the bare minimum for a very garden variety misdemeanor or perhaps low grade felony.

If things get at all complicated, perhaps involving novel issues of law and/or fact, with a motion to dismiss, pre-trial motions on matters of law or evidence, including one or more motions to suppress and/or motions in limine , maybe some discovery issues, as well as PIs and experts, things can get a whole lot more expensive quickly. Based on my experience in civil litigation, disposing of something before trial can run up $10,000 to $25,000 in fees pretty quickly. And costs through a jury trial can easily run between $50,000 and $150,000.

A self defense case can get very complicated very quickly.

HowardW56
01-08-2011, 9:04 AM
I looked for an article, but could not find it..IIRC Alan Gura is/was suing Chicago for none payment for his "legal fees" for McDonald v. Chicago...ANNND IIRC, it was something like 3.1 Million.

Thats not Chicago, it's DC...

anthonyca
01-09-2011, 9:04 AM
You may get out of jail, but you will be destroyed unless you are loaded. Either way you will NEVER look at the world in the same way. It hard not to be an angry, bitter, cynical and mean.

bwiese
01-09-2011, 12:03 PM
A nice guy I know of had an ND several months ago in his rental in Santa Clara County.

No real harm done. He called the cops to say "Don't worry, it was just me, nobody's hurt." (Big mistake: that cancelled out a lot of what a lawyer could possibly do. Best response in this situation: look outside, ask "Who made that noise?" etc.)

Arrested, charged with felony(-ies?). As I heard of it (indirectly) DA wanted to go for SEVEN YEARS.

After a LOT of lawyering he got it down to no jail time, perhaps a fine, but still a felony. He can prob 17(b) it down the line to clean it up due to wobbler status.

I think he spent at least $12k.

B Strong
01-09-2011, 12:12 PM
A nice guy I know of had an ND several months ago in his rental in Santa Clara County.

No real harm done. He called the cops to say "Don't worry, it was just me, nobody's hurt." (Big mistake: that cancelled out a lot of what a lawyer could possibly do. Best response in this situation: look outside, ask "Who made that noise?" etc.)

Arrested, charged with felony(-ies?). As I heard of it (indirectly) DA wanted to go for SEVEN YEARS.

After a LOT of lawyering he got it down to no jail time, perhaps a fine, but still a felony. He can prob 17(b) it down the line to clean it up due to wobbler status.

I think he spent at least $12k.

Man, how things have changed.

Long before all the AW hullabaloo, here's what happened to a friend in San Jose:

He is awakened by noise from his driveway.

Looks out front window, two shadowy figures into his corvette.

He gets Colt CAR-15 out of safe, loads and confronts...

Fires off a few rounds into front lawn...

Car theives split for parts unknown.

Neighbors call LE.

LE responds, he tells the tale, they write him a citation for discharging a weapon within city limits...

$50.00 fine at trial.