Many people underestimate the financial impact that criminal charges can have on their life, from the cost of bail to legal fees to loss of earning potential.
One way people can protect their financial future is by familiarizing themselves with the economic impacts of a conviction. Here are some of the most noticeable financial impacts of criminal charges.
Typically, after receiving a criminal charge, a defendant can pay bail, and the court will release them until their trial. The court detains those who cannot pay bail. Because individuals who cannot pay bail tend to have worse outcomes, most families will try to spend this money.
Unfortunately, bail is often worth a good chunk of an individual’s annual income. Most families do not have thousands of dollars lying around. As the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau notes, this is one way in which the justice system shifts the financial burden of crimes to families.
Charges and convictions may also reduce someone’s annual income. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, those who have faced incarceration can see their annual income reduced by more than half of what they would otherwise make. Convicted individuals that avoid jail time can still see drastic reductions in yearly earnings.
The length of time served and severity of the crime also impact the reduction in someone’s income. Misdemeanors with no imprisonment often lead to minor reductions, while felons with lengthy sentences will see the most significant pay cuts.
These financial burdens of a criminal charge usually do not end after an individual serves his or her time. Instead, they may stick for the rest of that person’s life.