HB 950 (S.L. 2012-142) adds requirements for remitting costs in criminal cases where a defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty or nolo contendere, including the $600.00 lab fee that is assessed where there has been DNA analysis, toxicology, or drug analysis performed at the State Crime Lab or a local crime lab.
Previously, lab fees for services performed by the North Carolina State Crime or a local crime lab facility could be waived or reduced by the court making a finding of just cause to grant such a waiver or reduction. This law adds the following language to G.S. 7A-304(a), requiring findings of fact and conclusions of law to support a finding of just cause: “Only upon entry of a written order, supported by findings of fact and conclusions of law, determining that there is just cause, the court may (i) waive costs assessed under this section or (ii) waive or reduce costs assessed under subdivisions (7) or (8) of this section.” (Subdivisions (7) and (8) are the $600.00 lab fee provisions.)
The law also amends G.S. 7A-38.7(a) to require findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting a finding of just cause to waive or reduce fees associated with mediation: “The court may waive or reduce a fee assessed under this section only upon entry of a written order, supported by findings of fact and conclusions of law, determining there is just cause to grant the waiver or reduction.”
These changes become effective July 1, 2012, and apply to fees waived on or after that date.