North Carolina Criminal Court Fines and Fees

About These Data

The data visualized throughout this website, provided by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), represents all cases from the late 1980s to January 10, 2020 in which courts reported a failure to comply (FTC), which is a failure to pay costs in a criminal case. The courts are required by law to collect a range of costs , though in some cases, judges have some discretion to waive or reduce costs or to provide a payment plan. Additional fees are imposed for failure to pay fees within forty days. An order for arrest can result. Fees are also imposed for failures to appear in court, for days spent in jail, and a “General Court of Justice” fee imposed in all cases. For traffic offenses, an FTC will lead to a suspension of a driver’s license.

The bar graph below represents all FTCs given between the late 1980s and January 2020, and it highlights that about 1/3 of these FTCs remain uncured.

Who Cannot Pay the Fees?

You can use this web application to sort and visualize the data by selecting different options and filters on the data. The visualization displays characteristics of these cases, including race, sex, age, charge type, county and timeframe. While the age was not provided in the original data, it was calculated from the defendant’s birthday and disposition date.

What Types of Criminal Cases

The charge types include crimes ranging from felonies, to less serious misdemeanors, and large numbers of traffic violations and infractions.

How Long do Failures to Comply Persist?

These failures to comply can persist for years. We examined the number of days between FTC and FTC compliance. For some individuals, there was also noncompliance due to a failure to appear in court (FTA) accompanying their FTC. For cases in which the FTC remains uncured, the end date is marked as January 10, 2020, the date the data were collected.

Contributors

This website was created by Caroline Levenson , Duke Class of 2022, and a Duke Technology Scholar, as part of an independent study supervised by Professor Maria Tackett , in the Duke Department of Statistical Science. At the Duke Center for Science and Justice , Professor Brandon Garrett and Post-doctoral Fellow William Crozier assisted in the development and analysis. We are grateful to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) for sharing these data, and for Daniel Bowes and the North Carolina Justice Center for requesting these data and providing feedback on the analysis. We would be grateful for any feedback on these data and displays and can be reached at dukecsj@law.duke.edu.

Length of FTCs

**We display all cases that are uncured as of January 10, 2020. As displayed in these figures, some cases have not been cured for years, while others are recent cases


Demographics



*The middle line through the boxplot represents the mean FTC length. The box contains the middle 50% of FTC lengths. Finally, the whiskers (vertical lines) represent the bottom and top 25% of FTC lengths while any dots are outliers.

FTCs by County

Note: The lighter the blue the more FTCs by county or longer the average FTC by county respectively.

Number of FTCs Given by County




Average Length of FTCs by County





Counties with Most Total FTCs Given:

1. Guilford County

2. Wake County

3. Mecklenburg County

Counties with Longest Average FTCs:

1. Mecklenburg County

2. Wayne County

3. Chowan County

*Use sorting on table for more info


FTCs Over Time

We note that the reason why the number of cases appears low in 2020 is these data are only current through January 10, 2020.