If you are facing drug possession charges, you may be concerned about the cost of legal fees and other expenses associated with your case. Over time, mounting a defense against any criminal charges may cost you more money than you expect. Just like any other criminal charge, defending yourself against possession charges has a few hidden expenses that you might not think of. Below are a few that you should ask your lawyer about before you begin.
If your case goes to trial, you may have to pay for expert witnesses to speak in your defense. The average cost of an expert witness at trial is $385 per hour. Usually, their hourly fee is somewhat lower for out-of-court work such as preparing depositions to be used in court.
Expert testimony may be used to determine the value of drugs, their usage, and whether or not an amount is reasonable for personal use. Medical doctors may be called in to discuss health concerns, especially in the case of medical marijuana. You will only have to pay for expert witnesses that testify on your behalf, not for expert witnesses that the prosecution utilizes.
Private investigators may be hired to investigate the officers who made the arrest or other people who were involved in the case. This is common if your defense involves reasonable suspicion that the drugs were planted on you by the arresting officer. Private investigators may cost between $40-$100 per hour with additional expenses for transportation, lodging, and materials.
Replacement of Personal Possessions Held as Evidence
During an open criminal possession case, some of your private belongings may be held as evidence. This may include your vehicle or home if drugs were found in them. You may have to pay for a hotel or other lodging for several days, as well as a rental car. In some cases, your vehicle may not be returned, in which case you will have to pay to replace it.
In addition to your physical possessions, you should take into consideration the cost of your time. Meeting with your lawyer or attending court dates may take away from work time and negatively affect your finances.
Copying and Legalization of Documents
All legal forms and documents will have to be copied. Many may have to be notarized or legalized in a similar manner before they can be admitted into court. This may include depositions from witnesses or your medical records. The amount you will have to pay will vary based on how many documents are needed in your case and who is submitting the documentation.
Court and Processing Fees
Whether you are found innocent or guilty, there will be court fees associated with your case. In many cases, if you are found innocent, the court fees may be waived, however, this is not true in all courts.
You should also keep in mind that if you are required to post bail, there may be a processing fee that is not returned to you, which is usually a percentage of the bail that you have posted.
The amount of extra costs will be determined by the complexity of your case and the defense that you and your lawyer attempt. Also, just like lawyer fees, the associated costs tend to remain much lower if your case does not go to trial. To get a realistic understanding of how much your defense will cost, you should ask a drug defense attorney about the above fees before agreeing to your representation. Concerns about financial cost and the duration of proceedings may change the approach you and your lawyer take towards your defense.