Do You Have to Pay for Jail Time in Arizona?

do you have to pay for jail time

Do You Have to Pay for Jail Time in Arizona?

The only thing worse than having to go to jail is being required to pay for your stay. That’s right, the city or the county where you’re incarcerated can make you pay for your stay as if you went to a hotel. Your Arizona DUI attorney can review the laws with you and negotiate the best terms possible if you’re at risk of being convicted of a DUI offense.

Understanding Arizona law for misdemeanors

You cannot choose whether or not to serve jail time for a DUI. The court will mandate it upon your sentencing. So how can they require you to pay for your stay in jail? You can thank Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-804.01 for that one. The law states:

“The court shall order a person who is convicted of a misdemeanor offense and who is sentenced to a term of incarceration to reimburse the political subdivision that is responsible for the costs of the person’s incarceration for the incarceration costs.”

There are many factors that the court will consider when evaluating how much to charge you and if to charge you for your stay. The first factor is the per-person cost of incarceration at the facility where you are held. This is calculated via a per diem per person that the municipality has calculated based on its expenses.

Another factor is your ability to pay for your incarceration. While in jail, you’ll likely be unable to work (though some jail sentences can be served only in the evenings if your Arizona DUI attorney can negotiate it). So you’ll already be in a worse financial position than you were before. The courts will look at your day-to-day expenses to better understand your ability to pay for your stay in jail.

The financial factors that the court might evaluate in determining whether or not to have you pay for your DUI jail time includes:

  • Bills
  • Debt
  • Income
  • Dependents

Even if you are unable to pay the fees for your time in jail, the court is not obligated to waive those fees. That is why hiring an Arizona DUI attorney is important.

Pleading your Arizona DUI case

Before you ever get to the sentencing portion of your Arizona DUI case, your attorney will be working for you to avoid conviction. Sometimes, the evidence is simply too compelling and you’ll need to enter a plea agreement to secure the best possible terms.

These terms might include:

  • Serving your jail sentence on house arrest instead of true incarceration
  • Avoiding jail time
  • Pleading down to reckless driving instead of a DUI
  • Taking a class to avoid future drinking and driving situations
  • Other tactics your attorney might recommend

While being charged with a misdemeanor offense is not desirable, sometimes serving some time in jail and moving on is the best option. A misdemeanor will have less bearing on your future than a felony. If your attorney recommends entering a plea agreement instead of going through with the trial, you should except this recommendation, especially in the case of an aggravated DUI, which carries even more severe consequences.

Talk with your Arizona DUI attorney about negotiating your jail fees and any other factors of your sentencing that concern you. As a team, both you and your attorney are interested in ensuring the best possible outcome of your case. It’s much easier for your attorney to do that if they understand the factors of your case and your reasoning for negotiating things the way that you do. Contact us to start that discussion and for an Arizona DUI legal defense, you can count on.