Local News

Fee Considered For Traffic Court Compliance Dismissals

Posted July 6, 2006

— When some cases are dismissed in traffic court, it doesn't cost the alleged offender anything. But a proposal would hit them with a fee before they leave the courthouse.

In a compliance dismissal, a driver is tagged for a minor traffic violation, usually an expired license, or inspection sticker. Once they prove they are in compliance, the case is dropped, and the defendant pays nothing.

"They're using the system but not paying, and the question is, should they be required to pay something for the use of the system?" said Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby.

A bill backed by district attorneys would charge drivers $50 for a dismissal.

"What's the fair thing to do?" said Willoughby. "Who should be bearing the expense? Should it be the people who are using the system or should it be everyone in general? That's a decision the Legislature will have to make."

A traffic court judge for Wake County said he hears 300 cases a day that would qualify for the $50 fee. Ticketed drivers say they are not happy about that idea.

"I think that's a little excessive," said driver Mark Burnette. "I could see $25 or maybe $30, but $50 is probably over the limit."

Willoughby said his staff spends thousands of hours processing dismissals, and the $50 fee would be a user fee to recoup those costs.


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