No matter whether you are someone who abides by the law or you live life on the wild side; there is always the chance that you could be arrested. After all, you don’t actually need to commit a crime to be charged. It could be a case of mistaken identity or that the police are simply on the wrong trail. Is it, therefore, right that you need to pay a fee for being arrested, whether innocent or not? Different states have different laws and procedures, but most people are charged a booking fee when they are arrested, and if the charges are later dropped, the fine isn’t reversed.

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The case of Corey Statham was highlighted in the news recently, and it provides the perfect example. He was arrested in Ramsey County, Minnesota, and at the time he had $46 in his pockets. At the time, he was charged with disorderly conduct, but these charges were dropped two days later. Surely Mr. Statham got his money back then, right? Wrong! He was charged a booking fee of $25, which the county kept. The remaining $21 was then returned to his debit card, but it was subject to a number of different fees. Mr. Statham ended up with $13.75 of his $46 left, as he had to pay $7.25 in order to withdraw his money. At present, the Supreme Court are deciding whether they should hear Mr. Statham’s objection to the fund-raising efforts of Ramsey County.

However, this is not an unusual occurrence, as it is part of a national trend to extract fines and fees from anyone that finds themselves enmeshed in the criminal justice system, guilty or not. Last year, a Justice Department report stated that city officials in Ferguson continually set maximizing revenue as their priority. In Colorado, five towns generate in excess of 30 percent of their revenue from traffic fines and tickets. In Kentucky, even if all charges are dismissed at a later date, those held in its jails are charged a fine for being incarcerated.

An unusual coalition has come together to tackle these charges. This is a team of libertarian groups, conservative groups, criminal defense lawyers, and civil right organizations. They state that people’s’ private property is being confiscated without constitutional protections, and that it is locking poor people into a cycle of jail, debts, and fines. For tips on avoiding debt, click here.

From what is downward departure Florida to the weird things you can get sentenced for across the nation, there are many things most people are not aware of regarding the criminal justice status across the US. The booking fee process is just one of them! For instance, sentencing itself is exceptionally confusing across different states, with Florida being a prime example. Did you know that there is a point system in place? If the offender scores below 44 points, the judge may impose any sentence he or she wants.

All in all, it will be interesting to see whether Mr. Statham’s case goes in front of the Supreme Court and, if so, what comes of it. Just another one of the nation’s financial debates and criminal justice conversations we all have an opinion on!