Anyone who has occasion to sit in the County District Courts of North Carolina, the state where I reside, can’t help but see and hear the endless parade of defendants appearing before the judge on routine traffic infractions resulting in the imposition of court costs and sometimes fines.
The court costs are generally $189.00. If someone is unable to pay, a late fee of $70.00 is tacked on and the privilege to operate a vehicle is revoked. If caught operating a vehicle while the privilege is revoked, that person could, until very recently, be subject to up to 120 days incarceration, even though the sole reason for the revocation was inability to pay a fine. The legislature, not long ago, amended the statute to repeal incarceration as a penalty, provided the reason for the revocation was neither Driving Under the Influence nor Reckless Driving.