Flagler County Sheriff's Office to bill convicts for investigative costs

'Tax payers shouldn't have to pay for criminal acts,' Sheriff Rick Staly says

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - Crime doesn't pay, especially not for suspects in Flagler County. 

Officials from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office recently announced that they will start charging criminals for the costs the department accrues while investigating a crime.

The reimbursement charges for the investigation will be added to the sentencing judgment once the defendant is convicted, according to a news release.

“Florida Law allows charging these fees to the criminal upon conviction, and that is what we will do,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Tax payers shouldn’t have to pay for criminal acts. If you’re going to do the crime, be prepared to pay for it.”

Flagler deputies plan to test the new policy on 32-year-old Michael Scott Wilson, who was arrested in December after authorities say he rigged the door handle at his Palm Coast home in an attempt to electrocute his pregnant, estranged wife.

He was arrested on two counts of attempted aggravated battery on a pregnant person and grand theft of a firearm after he was located in Knoxville, Tennessee, officials said.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office's lists the total investigative cost associated with that case as $4,978.85 plus $770 to extradite Wilson to Flagler County. If Wilson is convicted, deputies plan to bill him for that $5,748.

Those costs include pay for deputies, mileage for department vehicles and DNA sample collection, among other things.

"Whatever it costs to investigate your criminal activity, we are then going to ask the courts to reimburse the taxpayers of Flagler County," Staly said.

The department plans to work with the State Attorney's Office to add the reimbursement charges to any person who is convicted in Flagler County, regardless of the charges. The fees recovered will be returned to the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners' general fund.

Staly said the money could also help hire more school resource officers.

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