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A stay in a Michigan city jail may become even more costly

When people are arrested on suspicion of a crime in Michigan, they are often placed in a city jail. Often, in the initial stages of a case, those people will stay at the city jail for approximately three days before being sent to a county jail. In most cases, those people who have been arrested do not have to reimburse the city for the time they spent in the city jail.

However, a forthcoming law may change that. Counties have been authorized to attempt to recoup costs from people ultimately convicted for more than 20 years, and similar legislation has been in effect for cities with populations of more than 500,000 people to do the same thing. A bill recently signed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder would allow a municipality of any size to attempt to recoup costs from individuals -- adding another complication for people who already have to figure out their criminal defense options.

The amounts collected could be substantial for some cities. East Lansing, for example, took in more than 3,000 people in 2011. Municipalities are authorized to charge up to $60 per day per person. If those 3,000 people were convicted of crimes, sentenced to 20+ years, and paid for one day of time spent in the city jail, then East Lansing could have collected over $150,000.

However, these numbers rarely turn out to be accurate. Of the two counties who try to collect reimbursement from people, one reports getting 8 percent of the potential total in any given year while another receives just 2 percent.

If you've been charged and you're accumulating costs while awaiting your day in court behind bars, it is imerative that you retain an experienced defense attorney who can protect your intersts and present a solid defense.

Source: Lansing State Journal, "Defendants may pay for stay in Michigan city jails," Kevin Grasha, May 28, 2012

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