In case you missed it, there is a new method of obtaining relief from criminal monetary obligations. Rule 28 of the North Carolina General Rules of Practice was adopted in December of last year and became effective on Jan. 1, 2022. The rule is titled “The Equitable Imposition of Monetary Obligations in Criminal and Infraction Cases Based on the Defendant’s Ability to Pay.” It directs trial courts to determine the defendant’s ability to pay before imposing any discretionary monetary obligations in covered cases. The Administrative Office of the Courts has rolled out a new form, AOC-CR-415, to assist with implementation. The new rule and form provide a pathway to relief for a substantial number of current and past defendants. I have created a webinar discussing the details here, which can be viewed for free or for a small fee if CLE credit is desired. In the spirit of the rule, the .75 hour of CLE credit is offered at a discounted rate. Check it out or read on for some frequently asked questions about the rule.
Two recent cases from the Court of Appeals highlight a recurring issue related to money in criminal cases: the requirement to give a defendant notice and an opportunity to be heard before entry of a judgment for attorney fees.