Will a misdemeanor hurt your bank account?

If you are charged with a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, you may be most concerned with avoiding a conviction. You may not realize that whether you are convicted or not, this charge could damage your finances.

You may think that a fine might have the largest impact on your finances. According to Money Crashers, the fine you pay typically depends on which category your misdemeanor falls into. If a misdemeanor is considered a Class C offense, your fine may be up to $500. More serious offenses, though, may carry a fine that ranges from $500 to $4,000.

While you may expect some legal costs, you may not realize how quickly these costs can multiply. You typically need to pay your court fees and these can include the expenses of having a record keeper in the court room, as well as transportation to and from jail if you are imprisoned. Additionally, you usually need to pay for your legal counsel. Some jurisdictions may require you to pay for the services of a public defender. If you choose to hire a private attorney, you may need to pay either an hourly fee or a flat rate.

Sometimes you may incur other expenses besides your fine and legal fees. If you damaged property, you may sometimes need to pay restitution. If you are placed under house arrest, you may lose income because you are unable to work. Sometimes you may also need to pay for any monitoring services considered necessary while you are at home. In some situations, you may need to go through probation. Probation can also bring unexpected expenses. If you are required to attend drug or alcohol classes or rehabilitation, you may need to pay for these programs yourself.

This information is general in nature. It should not be used in place of legal advice.

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