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Am I Responsible for Court Costs if I was Wrongfully Arrested?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2015 | On the Radio

Wrongful arrests happen all the time throughout Massachusetts, including in Fall River, New Bedford and beyond. Whether you’re arrested or wrongfully arrested, getting in touch with a lawyer immediately is one of the wisest choices you can make.

But a recent caller from the Fall River area introduced yet another issue faced by people who are wrongfully arrested: court costs.

During our call, a loyal New England Patriots season ticket holder was basicall caught at the wrong place, at the wrong time. A fight had broken out in an area nearby where he was walking. Quick to control the situation, the stadium’s security team grabbed our caller and arrested him, despite the pleas of witnesses stating our caller was innocent.

Being confident in his innocence, our Fall River caller appealed his arrest four times. But it wasn’t just his confidence that our caller had in his corner: he also had video surveillance proving he was merely walking by the fight. With this video evidence, the arrest, of course, was proven unjust. The arresting officer dismissed it as mistaken identity, meaning our caller was in the clear, right?

Not so fast.

Court Costs and Massachusetts Law

In Massachusetts, sometimes even the innocent have to pay a penalty. If you’re taken to court – even on a false arrest – it’s not uncommon for the case to be dismissed upon payment of court costs.

But wait a minute? Even someone wrongfully arrested has to pay court costs? No, not necessarily. But the path you must follow to avoid these costs might not be worth it.

Anyone who is arrested is entitled to a trial. You can object to your case being dismissed, and object to paying court costs. As such, the judge will then issue you a trial for the charges you faced. If you have a trial and the commonwealth of Massachusetts doesn’t prosecute your case, then you’ll no longer have to pay any court costs. But do you really want to tack on another court date to your life (in this instance, the caller had already appeared in court 4 times)? If you do go to trial, you’d likely have to hire a lawyer (at least you should), take off from work, and endure the physical and mental trauma of at least one more court date, if not more.

In the end, you shouldn’t have to pay court costs if you were wrongfully arrested, but from a practicality standpoint, it may be better to open up your wallet and move on with your life.

Looking for more legal advice? Attorneys Steve Sabra and Matt Aspden provide top-notch legal representation to clients throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, including Somerset, Swansea, Fall River, Westport, Taunton and New Bedford. We focus primarily on personal injury, wrongful death, workers compensation, car accidents, slip and fall and criminal defense cases. Contact us today to learn more about how we can represent you.