The amount of debt owed to North Carolina’s criminal courts has increased at a staggering rate. This report gives a scope of how much debt is uncollectible, identifies the people in the state most harmed by the current system, and pinpoints the case types that yield the lion’s share of this debt.
The North Carolina Next Step Act provides that courts may no longer revoke driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees unless there is a court finding at sentencing that the person is able to pay and the person’s license should be revoked if the person fails to pay.
Plaintiffs allege that the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles automatically revokes the drivers’ licenses of people who do not pay their traffic tickets in full within forty days.
This bench card provides guidance to North Carolina judges regarding the imposition and collection of fines and fees in criminal cases. In particular, the bench card outlines the law as applicable to court costs, attorney fees, other fees, fines, and restitution, and highlights when each obligation applies as well as when and how courts can provide relief.
The Mecklenburg County working group requested the assistance of Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program, which helped the group develop two bench cards. One bench card provides guidance for judges when imposing fines and fees; the other outlines a process for sanctioning defendants who fail to pay fines and fees.
The Durham County District Attorney’s office and the Bloomberg-funded Durham Innovation Team partnered to create the Durham Driver Amnesty Program. In its pilot phase, the District Attorney dismissed 2,500 pending charges for eligible participants which kept them from obtaining their driver’s license.
Amy Marie Palacios is a single mother with two children, who earned $20,090 in 2016 - below the federal poverty line for her three-person household. Her driver’s license was suspended in 2015 because she failed to pay the fine for a speeding ticket.
This review of law and policy is the first-year report of a five-year study comprising quantitative and qualitative research that provides a detailed understanding of how fines and fees are imposed and enforced across the United States.
This seminal report examines fines and fees practices in the fifteen U.S. states with the highest prison populations, focusing on “user fees” and their impact on individuals reentering society after incarceration.