Can the county jail send me a bill?

I was arrested about three weeks ago when an officer thought I should be investigated before my release. I went to jail for 4 days and was finally released and told that I am totally and completely without fault and free from any prosecution. My kids were in a heated argument at my house that I had no knowledge of. I was at home prior to the disagreement and made a statement to that effect immediately to the investigating officer. There was no investigation or any evidence of one being done. Having made a terrible situation worse for me and everyone I know, I asked if anyone knows what the investigation entailed and have not figured out anything being done.
Anyway, over the weekend I received a bill in the mail from the county jail for more than a hundred dollars. I called them immediately and notified them I was not going to recognize this attempt to bill me, and furthermore, I will not be paying this.
They responded by having me talk to a Lieutenant at the jail at witch time I told him the same.
I am not sure if there is anything more I can do to prevent having to pay this. Also, is there more they can do that I should expect.

It depends on your state, but you can be billed for services rendered while in county.

This link is from Michigan, but I imagine the sum is going to be comparable in most states. This article states that people can be charged 60 bucks per day, so add in a few more costs and you have your $100 total.

Here’s the link:

Anybody can send you a bill for anything. Whether you have to pay it is another matter.

What is the bill for?

As long as the jail thinks you owe them some money, you’re on the hook. If you don’t pay it, it will probably go to a collection agency. It will probably be harder to prove to them that you don’t owe it than the original creditor. That, of course, assumes that you actually don’t owe it.

Given your fact set, I would not pay any fees.
Responsibility for those fees is a civil matter. Nobody can make you pay until a judge orders you to pay. It would cost too much for them to bother going after you. And if it were me, I’d say, “Bring it on.”

Anyone can report bad credit/non payment to the credit agencies. You can post a one page rebuttal to any report.

That’s how I would handle it.

Instead of calling up the county jail and immediately saying that you’re not going to pay the bill (as apparently you’ve done), I’d recommend calling and asking them what the bill is for and why. You should politely point out that you were “released and told that you were totally and completely without fault and free from any prosecution,” and given that, why should you be responsible for these costs?

BTW, this article from the New York Times mentions that the laws under which these fees are assessed have been challenged, “In 2002, a federal court forced a sheriff in Cincinnati to refund more than $1 million in room fees from people who had been detained in jail but had not been convicted, saying the collection from them was a violation of due process.”

Honestly, i can barely make heads or tails of your OP with respect to specifically why you were arrested. You make it sound like there was no reason at all for it. In some states they can quite legally charge you room and board. If your jailing was completely unjustified then that sounds like a powerful argument you can make to the Judge as to why you should not have to pay.

If you were being combative, or were somehow interfering with the investigation your chances of claiming needless imprisonment as a means of escaping payment are not so great, even if it was determined you were not at fault for the original incident they were called in on.

You need a lawyer, not just to address the bill properly, but to have your arrest expunged, assuming what you posted is accurate.

I agree with this 100%. If you aren’t convicted, but the state makes you pay anyways, it sure seems to be like punishment without trial.

Punishment how?
It is a bill for services provided: they gave you a bed & blankets to sleep in, gave you 3 meals a day, etc. They are entitled to be paid for those services. If you think you were falsely arrested, sue them, and list this bill as a cost to be recompensed for.

Sure they deserve to be paid. The question is how much should be paid by:

-recipients who were convicted
-recipients who are completely innocent

I tend to believe the tab for innocent folks should be picked up by society.

Can you have an arrest (even an unjustified one) expunged?

I know that convictions/guilty pleas can be expunged, but I thought that arrests were a matter of public record, and there was no way to have them taken off the police logs…

Maybe it’s dependent on jurisdiction, but I think an arrest is going to show up “on paper” forever, even if you are never found guilty of the crime that you are arrested for.

OP, you need get a lawyer. You won’t get any useful advice here.

How can you even tell what his “fact set” is? The OP is nearly incoherent.

Um, wait… so the Marriott downtown can take me against my will, force me to stay there and eat their food, and bill me for it because after all I used their services?

The OP did not “use services”. He (she?) was NOT there voluntarily. He should not be expected to pay.

I agree with “check with a lawyer” and fight it.

If the “perp” did not ask for the service, and was not convicted of anything (which is the equivalent of “asking for it”) then the state should not be able to bill you for it. It sounds like a violation of “due process”, your property (money) cannot be taken without dueprocess of law or a legal contract (voluntary purchase of services).

Reminds me of the scene in the movie “Brazil” where the minister of Internal Security is explaining how they save money by billing the suspects for “information retreival” (arrest and interrogation) and “information storage” (incarceration).

The other posters are right. Ask a real lawyer.

I suspect this is the usual bureacratic shakedown. (a) Send a bill to everyone, and if half of them pay - bonus! (b) The jailmeister probably is not informed by the legal side what if any results happened in the case. I bet for most people, it’s the bill for the time from arrest to when they could raise bail, so no case is settled yet. So the guy bills everyone.

Sounds similar to when my stepson was arrested for carjacking while standing next to his own car smoking. They wanted him to pay the impound fees. Fortunately, the police/impond owner decided not to bill him.

Don’t pay it. That way, next time you are arrested, the jail will refuse to take you and the cops will have to let you go.

OK, inappropriate for GQ, but having thought of it I just had to post it.

It’s a bill for “services” which were never asked for. There is no valid or implied contract between the OP and the county sheriff.

Besides if the county is going to insist on billing the people it jails (without trial) then at the very list it should provide some sort of menu. That way those that can afford it can pay for things like better food, a private cell (maybe with a proper en-suite instead of the metal toilet-sink), premium cable, Internet access, etc. :rolleyes: It worked in the olden days.

Your release from what?

No, the downtown Marriott can not. They do not have any legal authority to arrest people.

However, the sheriff & local police DO have that authority – they were given that authority by the citizens of this country, who passed laws and then appointed people to enforce them. If they do so improperly, then they ca be sued for ‘false arrest’. (As I suggested in my previous post.)