Appeals Court Weighs the Permissibility of “Cost-of-Investigation” and “Cost-of-Prosecution” Fees in DWI/DUI Cases

A case recently argued before a Louisiana appeals court could potentially have statewide effect depending on its fallout. In the case, a man convicted of DWI is challenging the costs assessed against him, which included not only court costs, but “cost-of-investigation” and “cost-of-prosecution” charges, as well, the News-Star reported.

Jesse M. Griffin II was arrested for a first DWI offense in 2012. In Sept. 2012, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor and received a $600 fine. In addition to his $600 fine and court costs, which were payable to the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office, Griffin was also hit with an additional $200 — $100 for the cost of investigation and another $100 for the cost of prosecution related to his case.

Griffin objected to these extra charges, but the trial court ruled against. Griffin then took his case to the Court of Appeal, which heard arguments on the case earlier this month. According to Griffin’s attorney, the trial court includes in its orders tacked-on obligations of $300 each for cost of investigation and cost of prosecution (for a total of an extra $600) for every felony DWI case and $100 each (an extra $200 total) for the costs of investigation and prosecution of misdemeanor matters. The court order instructs offenders to pay their fines to the sheriff’s office and to make their cost-of-investigation and cost-of-prosecution payments payable to the “3rd JDDA Prosecution Fee”.

Griffin’s attorney contended that the practice violates Louisiana’s constitution and urgently proclaimed that it was “offensive, illegal, abused and is responsible for children in Union Parish having no hope of a new bicycle from Santa Claus.” If the appellate court sides with Griffin, the ruling could impact DWI/DUI convictions in the parish going back a decade, according to the News-Star. If the case reaches the Supreme Court or motivates the legislature to act, its effects could have statewide reach.

The 3d Judicial District Court argued that previous court rulings, in addition to the state statutes, give the sheriff and the district attorney the authority to collect cost-of-investigation and cost-of-prosecution charges. The state’s District Attorneys’ Association also submitted a filing in the case, urging the appeals court to uphold the legality of the added cost assessments.

Fines for first-time DWI/DUI offenders in Louisiana can range from $300 up to $1,000, not including court costs. This amount also does not include mandatory payments to the Victims’ Restitution fund or the cost of getting your license reinstated after the end of your mandatory license suspension period.

The cost of any DWI/DUI conviction is substantial, both in terms of monetary expense and other costs. That’s why, if you’ve been charged with a DWI/DUI, you should contact the Louisiana DWI/DUI attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm promptly. We can help you formulate a sensible plan for your defense, including potentially reducing the financial toll on you and your family, as well as ensuring that the costs you must pay are only those allowed by the law.

For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.

More Blog Posts:

Baton Rouge’s DWI Checkpoints Violated State Law, District Court Rules, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, March 13, 2014
Dealing with DWI/DUI in Louisiana During Mardi Gras, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Feb. 19, 2014

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