What’s worse than receiving a jail sentence for a misdemeanor offense like a DUI? Receiving a jail sentence and being forced to pay for it.
Adding insult to injury, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to jail, Arizona law requires Courts to order you to reimburse the cost of incarceration. Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-804.01 mandates Courts to order that reimbursement to whatever political subdivision is responsible for the costs of your incarceration, be it the city or the county.
In determining what the cost of your stay at the jail will be, the Courts must consider the following factors:
· The per diem per person cost of incarceration incurred by the political subdivision that incarcerates you, and
· Your ability to pay part or all the incarceration costs
These factors can treat you rather harshly, as the per diem cost can be high, especially for cities that have contracts with the county for their incarceration. If the city made a bad contract, you can end up paying more.
Ultimately, the Court may be persuaded to lower the cost of your jail time, but you must provide compelling information, like your wages, debts, expenses, and dependents who rely on you. It is by no means automatic that the Court will simply waive the fees because you say that you cannot afford them.
If you are being sentenced to jail on a misdemeanor case, make sure to speak to your attorney about the potential costs of incarceration that you can be required to pay, and ways that your attorney can try and help you minimize those costs.