Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer if Your Disposition Included Fines or Fees?
Why You Should Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer if Your Disposition Included Fines or Fees
The Details of Your Disposition Matter
The specific terms of your disposition, such as the amount and types of fines and fees imposed, can significantly impact your finances, credit, and future opportunities. An experienced criminal defense attorney intimately understands these details and how they relate to your unique situation. They can identify potential issues with your disposition that you may not be aware of yourself.
For example, some fines and fees can be reduced or waived entirely under certain circumstances. Or there may be alternatives to monetary payments that your lawyer can negotiate, like community service. Without legal guidance, you may simply accept unfavorable terms unnecessarily.
Expungement May Be an Option
In many cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney can petition the court to have certain qualifying charges expunged from your record after a period of time. This can remove any remaining fines and fees associated with those expunged charges.
The requirements for expungement vary by state and type of offense, so having a lawyer evaluate your specific situation is key. They will determine if you qualify and handle all the required legal paperwork from start to finish, saving you time and hassle.
Negotiate Plea Deals and Sentencing Recommendations
If your case is still pending, an attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal or sentencing recommendation from the prosecutor that minimizes any financial penalties. Even if your case has already been decided, they may be able to file an appeal or post-conviction petition to have your disposition terms reconsidered by the court.
Without legal expertise, you are unlikely to achieve the best possible outcome on your own. The money spent on attorney fees upfront could ultimately reduce your overall monetary penalties substantially.
Ensure Accuracy and Proper Management of Payments
Navigating all the fines, fees, and other payments associated with a criminal case can be extremely confusing, especially without guidance. It’s not uncommon for errors to occur in how payments get processed and applied if you try to handle everything on your own.
A criminal defense lawyer will ensure payments are accurate, properly credited, and handled appropriately according to the specific terms of your disposition. They can also manage communication and paperwork with the courts and other agencies to avoid any issues. Their oversight provides peace of mind that nothing slips through the cracks.
Avoid Wage Garnishment and Property Liens
If you fail to pay court-ordered fines and fees, the court may try to collect by garnishing your wages or placing liens against your property. This forces you to pay by seizing money straight out of your paycheck or against the value of property you own.
Your criminal defense attorney can sometimes negotiate alternatives, like community service, or work out manageable payment plans. They know how to shield your assets and advocate for your rights to prevent devastating financial consequences.
Increase Eligibility for Record Clearance and Clemency
In many locations, outstanding court fees related to a conviction can prevent or delay record clearance and clemency. Record clearance is the process of sealing or expunging a criminal record. Clemency is when a governor or president pardons a person’s crime.
By helping minimize any unpaid fines and fees, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to get your record cleared sooner or make you eligible for a pardon. This opens doors to better employment, housing, education, and other opportunities.
Provide an Objective Perspective
When you are personally involved in a criminal case, it can be emotionally difficult to look at the details objectively and make the best legal and financial decisions. An attorney provides an impartial, expert viewpoint focused on strategic solutions.
Their insight and advocacy can result in a disposition involving lower fines and fees than you may have accepted without counsel. Even if the outcome stays the same, they can often find ways to reduce the burden.
Explain Available Options and Their Consequences
After a criminal case ends, there are always options like payment plans, community service conversions, record clearance, and more. Without legal expertise, you likely will not even know these options exist, let alone the pros and cons of each.
An attorney will clearly explain your available choices and the potential impacts of each. Their guidance empowers you to make fully informed decisions that improve your situation to the greatest extent possible.
Provide Support Dealing with Courts and Agencies
Handling all the paperwork, phone calls, and bureaucracy involved in a criminal case can be immensely frustrating and confusing, especially when financial penalties are in play. Administrative mistakes and delays are common without guidance.
Your criminal defense lawyer handles all communication and filings with the courts, probation departments, collections agencies, DMV, and other entities. Their expertise smooths the process and prevents avoidable problems.
Understand Conviction Consequences and Civil Liabilities
Criminal convictions can negatively impact many aspects of your life even after your court case ends. There may be restrictions on employment, housing, education, immigration status, gun ownership, professional licensing, and more.
Your attorney will advise you on potential civil liabilities as well, like restitution payments to victims and civil lawsuits. Their counsel helps avoid further legal and financial problems down the road.