So let’s say you are at a friend’s party and some of you are passing around a joint. Suddenly, the police show up at the front door. After conducting an investigation, they arrest you for possession of marijuana. You later plead guilty, and are sentenced to pay a fine and are put on probation for three years..
Oh yes, and the court orders you to pay for the cost of the police investigation — $500.
No way, you say? Well, you would be right….unless maybe it was a DUI you had been arrested for. In a typical example of the double standard applied to drunk driving cases (see The DUI Exception to the Constitution), some states are permitting or even requiring a defendant convicted of driving under the influence to pay for the investigation and arrest in his own case.
Fortunately, not all courts are buying into this double standard:
Iowa Supreme Court Nullifies DUI Arrest Fees
Des Moines, IA. Jan 20 – Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime carrying court-imposed penalties that typically cost those convicted around $10,000. Officials in Scott County, Iowa decided they could get some of that money for themselves by directly billing DUI suspects for the "emergency response" provided by police. The practice ended Friday with the Iowa Supreme Court declaring it unlawful…
…Davenport Police Officer Michael Stegall pulled over Homer Christner, spending two hours conducting roadside sobriety tests and booking him in the county jail. So before the court had sentenced Christner, the city billed the man for the officer’s time at the rate of $61 per hour, plus $36 for the two hours that his police squad car was out of service.
At least they didn’t bill him for room and board before he bailed out. Or maybe that’s coming next….