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Michigan couple facing jail over library book fines

You’ll probably never be late returning a book to the library ever again after reading about the Michigan couple facing more than three months behind bars over a pair of books.

It may sound like a joke, but the couple is not laughing, and neither are prosecutors in Lenawee County. They claim the couple failed to return a novel one of them borrowed from the library in April 2015, on which they owe about $35 in late fees. The couple is also being held responsible for a lost Dr. Seuss book their teenage son took out to read to his daughter in July 2014, according to the Lansing State Journal.

In December, the couple received a letter advising them that they owed late fees on the books, and would have to pay to replace them if the books were lost. On top of that, the county prosecutor’s office was charging them $210 in “diversion fees.” The letter also warned the couple that they could face criminal charges.

The couple found the novel and returned it, but the Dr. Seuss book remains missing. The wife sent a $55 money order to the prosecutor’s office to cover the late fees and replacement costs, but the office refused the order, because the couple declined to pay the “diversion fees.”

That led to police serving the couple with arrest warrants, forcing them to pay a $100 bond to avoid a weekend in jail. The wife told the Lansing State Journal that she feels like the prosecutor’s office is extorting her over some library books.

Because the diversion fees have not been paid, a judge is threatening the couple with up to 93 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

No matter how small they seem at first, every criminal infraction has the potential to seriously affect your property and your freedom. If heavy fines and/or jail time are at stake, it is important to have the right defense attorney on your side.

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