About Court Costs
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Since the unified court system was established, all operating expenses of the Judicial Department have been borne by the State. These expenses include personnel and operating expenditures for all judicial system offices and programs, as well as expenses for indigents' legal services, jurors and witness fees. Each biennium, the General Assembly appropriates funds for the operation of the court system. Counties and cities; however, continue to be responsible for providing courtrooms and related judicial facilities, including furniture.

The General Assembly has established a uniform schedule of civil and criminal court costs and a variety of fees, and prescribed the distribution of these costs and fees. Except for certain fees that are devoted to specific uses, all superior and district court costs collected by the Judicial Department are paid into the State's General Fund, as are appellate court fees.

Within the court costs assessed, the Judicial Department collects a facilities fee that is returned to the counties and municipalities to help them provide adequate court facilities for the courts. In addition, the State Constitution requires that all fines, penalties, and forfeitures collected by the courts in criminal cases be distributed to the respective counties in which the cases are tried, to be used for the support of the public schools.

(For more detailed information about Judicial Branch receipts and expenditures, see Part II of the latest "NC Courts Statistical and Operational Summary," which can be found at North Carolina Judicial Branch Annual Reports.)

This section defines the court costs and fees assessed for the various types of court cases, gives information about where payments may be made, and lists offenses for which court appearance can be waived by the payment of fines and costs.