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N.C. court fees go up

Posted September 1, 2009

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— Doing business in a North Carolina courthouse got more expensive on Tuesday, for actions from filing for foreclosure to paying traffic tickets.

A number of court fees were increased as part of $1 billion in new revenues the Democratic-led Legislature and Gov. Beverly Perdue agreed upon to balance the state's $19 billion budget.

A sampling of the fee increases include:

  • failure to appear in court, up $100 to $200
  • filing for foreclosure, up $75 to $150
  • traffic ticket, up $9 to $130
  • seatbelt or helmet violation, up $26 to $126
  • name change, up $37 to $88
  • criminal background check, up $10 to $25

Those who can't afford to pay the fees on their court date can sign up for an installment plan – which carries a new $20 fee.

Thomas Goodwin paid $245 in court fees Monday for a traffic ticket and missed court date. He said he was relieved that he narrowly escaped the fee increases.

"As a recent graduate, it was kind of hard to put the money together just to pay this, so I wouldn't have been able to" pay the higher fees, Goodwin said.

Critics said the fee increases unfairly target those who already hurting financially.

"It's hitting those people who simply did not take care of a minor ticket because of financial distress to begin with," defense attorney William Young said.

Court officials said the raised fees increase the incentive to obey the law.

In Wake county, 12 percent of people fail to show on their court date, said Clerk of the Court Lorrin Freeman.

"We hope that maybe with this increase, it will encourage more people to come to court," Freeman said. "If we all believe in fair and open court, it is something that we all have to shoulder together."


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 2, 2009

    Dougware, it's someone's "choice" to commit a crime. Those (bad) choices create the need for (necessitate) a justice system. It makes sense to have the criminals pay for this. Does that explanation help? :-)

  • SomeRandomGuy Sep 1, 2009

    I remember when failure to appear earned you a bench warrant AND a trip to jail when you were found...

    Not just a $200 fine.

  • coolwill43 Sep 1, 2009

    how about a not in the country legally tax, $3000.00 per day

  • Redneck Fun Sep 1, 2009

    1st to the Professor: You obviously have not checked your cell phone bill!! They already tax the HECK out of it!!!
    2nd: Not all traffic laws on the street are applicable on private property, but some are. No sign on private property even if it is a "standard" sign is enforceable by law. However even though you may not be able to be charged a stop sign violation for example, you can still be charged for failure to yield right of way.
    Just for the record, When I was a teenager I used to drag race in the Walmart parking lot, so don't act like it can't happen. I have also been charged with Careless and Reckless in that same parking lot!! and I deserved it. I am totally against the way our taxes have been wasted, however I am ALL for these fees. Our courts are SEVERELY hurting for money, and I think that is unacceptable!!

  • Professor Sep 1, 2009

    They are going to tax us to death. What are they going to tax next. Talking on the cell-phone?

  • jbova41 Sep 1, 2009

    It just seems to me if people have more of thier own money they would spend it at the movies, going out to eat or the occasional trip to the beach. Taxes is not the answer. Maybe I was a little hard on the democrats, but when you campaign on no new taxes you should a least try to stick to the promise.

  • DougWare.NET Sep 1, 2009


    How can something be a "choice and necessary" at the same time?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 1, 2009

    time4real, why do think we "will perish" and then mention the governor's gender in your statement, "FIRST WOMAN GOVERNOR !" ?

    Does the fact that our governor has a uterus have anything to do with anything? And, are you always sexist or just here?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 1, 2009

    mxteam44, you said you saw cops write “bogus” traffic tickets. What do you mean? Did they lie about what they saw? Did they make up their own traffic laws? (e.g. driving while stupid)

    Either way, if the DA or judge got wind, they would throw out the tickets and put the cops in jail. I suspect that you really mean that the cops wrote tickets for minor offenses and on seemingly inconsistent basis. Big difference.

    And, why are you defending a self elected fee...on criminals? These people CHOOSE to pay these fees and they do so while breaking laws meant to keep our society civilized.

    Why would you be opposed to this? I understand that you may hate taxes of all kinds, but these fees are a choice and necessary to fund the system that punishes law breakers. Who better to pay for our justice system than criminals?

  • cbarnett Sep 1, 2009

    Should have just doubled or tripled these fees and left taxes well enough alone. Maybe criminals would start thinking twice before doing the crime.