Ikenna Njoku was arrested for trying to cash a check. The bank believed the check, which it had issued, to be fraudulent. It was not.
He was arrested
The arrest was embarrassing and frightening
He spent four days in jail
He was arrested on a Thursday. On Friday, the bank called the police to report that they were wrong, that the check was valid. But the detective was out of the office, so Mr. Njoku sat in jail over the weekend. Jail is unpleasant and frightening.
His money was withheld from him for weeks
The money Mr. Njoku was cashing was his money for rent, food, and bills. Since the police took weeks to process the evidence and return the check to him, Mr. Njoku was unable to access the money to pay bills including the costs of retrieving his car from the police impound lot.
He lost his car
Chase had his car towed from the bank’s parking lot, and the police promptly sold it at auction while Mr. Njoku was still in jail.
He lost his job
Because he was in jail, he could not go to work or call in. He was fired.
This is what happens when you’re arrested and working class.
This is why I so vigorously defend people accused of crimes.
A minor traffic violation that results in a fine of a couple hundred dollars, plus court costs and prosecution costs (which are always included) can quickly approach $500.00. If you can’t afford to pay the money, your driver’s license can be suspended.
If you have a job and need to drive to work, or if you have to drive children to child care, of if you have to drive to care for elderly parents, and you get stopped while driving after your license is suspended, your license can be revoked and you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Now a minor traffic ticket has morphed into a real crime.
Now you have a criminal record that can affect future employment or housing. Your costs have skyrocketed into the thousands of dollars. And the original petty misdemeanor, which has already become a misdemeanor, can quickly turn into a gross misdemeanor or even a felony.