Some people may say that the best thing the lawyer can do is to keep the fines and costs down, and we’ve seen that many times where we’ve been able to save people thousands of dollars simply because we knew to argue for a reduction in fines. I’ve had clients who are so determined about that that they would rather do jail time than have a huge fine.
I’ve had the reverse as well. The reverse being true as well where someone would rather do jail than pay a big fine, but attorneys can steer the sentence the way they need to so that what you wind up paying is something you can afford to pay whether that be jail, whether that be classes, whether that be community service, or whether that be paying a monetary fine. So, it’s definitely something your lawyer can steer for you.
Can An Attorney Help Reduce the Amount that Someone Has to Pay?
Absolutely! I’ve had clients who have no jobs and for them, a big fine would be $100. So, when you let the prosecution know that their $100 fine is too much for your client to pay, it almost always works out that the court or the prosecution would recommend fines or the judge would impose fines which better suit the client’s financial situation.
That goes right along with how bonds for people is set; people who have more pay higher bonds, people who have less pay smaller bonds and one part, it’s fairness and the other part, it’s what will induce a proper conduct afterward. So, yes, a lawyer can definitely help control the size of fines and costs.
What’s the Maximum Someone Can be Fined for Something?
In the traffic arena, some of the bigger cases are what we call Class 1 misdemeanors, and that has a maximum fine of $2,500. If a person has two class 1 misdemeanors, like for example, a DWI and a reckless driving, then they’re facing a possible $5,000 fine because $2,500 per charge. Driving on a suspended license is also a class 1 misdemeanor and so it would also be a big fine there.
There are felony traffic offenses, and those have even higher fines, but usually people do not even get half of the maximum fine. So, for example, a person with a DWI would usually not get a fine of $1,250 or a reckless driving case with $1,250, or say a class 5 felony to have $2,500 fine would be half of the maximum.
They usually don’t get that either, simply because the court has the option of giving jail, which is so much more effective for controlling and punishing people than if they had to pay a higher fine. Many times people would love to pay a fine instead of going to jail and the court knows that and so they just stop the fines and they instead give jail. But cases that could possibly have high fines that I do a lot of are petty larceny, grand larceny, possession of a controlled drug, DWI, driving on a suspended license, assault and battery, those are ones that could have what I view as high fines.
What Are Some Other Costs Associated with Fines?
If a person has a fine, then they have the potential for getting their driver’s license or their professional license cancelled in the state of Virginia. If you don’t pay those fines, the state will not allow you to have the privilege of having different licenses. A contractor could lose his construction license or an attorney could conceivably lose their law license but most often, it’s their driver’s license that gets cut or maybe even sometimes their business license.
If you have fines, they can also suspend a portion of those fines and instead demand that you do some other conduct like attend probation, go to a drug counseling class, or go to a theft prevention screening and then whatever those counselors tell them to do. If they complete all of that, then they won’t get that suspended portion of the fine.
If, for example, I was given a $1,500 and the court suspended a $1,000 of it condition upon me going to alcohol anonymous for 30 sessions, well if I go to 30 sessions, then I don’t have to pay that suspended $1,000 fine, I would only have to pay the unsuspended $500 portion. But if I didn’t go to those 30 AA sessions, then in my example, I would conceivably have to pay that $1,000 suspended portion.
For more information on Hiring An Attorney & Paying Fines, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (703) 691- 4366 today.