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Criminal Court Judgments - Attorney Fees

Criminal Court Judgments - Attorney Fees Most people understand that if you retain an attorney for criminal charges, there are legal fees associated with legal representation.

What some might not realize that if you are appointed a “Public Defender” by the Court, there also can be the imposition of legal fees if you are convicted, found guilty after a trial, or plead guilty.

The Court may, as part of the Judgment and Commitment, Order the payment of Costs of Court, Fines, Restitution, and Community Service Fees.

The Court may also impose, in the appropriate legal circumstances, a Civil Judgment for Attorney’s Fees.

That’s true for both felony and misdemeanor charges, again assuming you are convicted of the offense or offenses.

While part of the Order entering Judgment against the Defendant, attorney’s fees associated with representation for criminal charges, are technically entered as a Civil Judgment.

As is the case with all civil Orders and Judgments, the imposition of legal fees for your Public Defender or “appointed legal counsel,” are subject to the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.

Appeals From an Order or Judgment of the Court

Orders issued by judges in Superior Court are ordinarily accomplished by filing a formal, written Notice of Appeal.

That may also be done in “open court” and “on the record.”

The safer practice, even if Notice of Appeal is orally entered by the Defendant or the criminal defense attorney, is to follow up with a formally filed, written Notice of Appeal with the Clerk of Superior Court.

In Civil Court proceedings, the Notice of Appeal may require filing within thirty days after the entry of Judgment.

With Criminal Charges, that time frame is:

“At any time between the date of the rendition of the judgment or order and the fourteenth day after entry of the judgment or order.”

The Courts of Appeal in North Carolina, may under NC Rule of Appellate Procedure 9 allow something called a Motion Pertaining to Additions to the Record.

The appeal court is given discretion on whether to hear such Motions to Appeal. Corrective Motions are neither automatic or granted in every instance.

The Appellate Courts in North Carolina may also allow appeals based on a Writ of Certiorari, thus preserving the appellate issue.

A Writ of Certiorari is considered an, “extraordinarily remedial” and can also preserve appellate issues when the Court deems that necessary and appropriate.

NC Appellate Courts are also given the power to grant “cert” or certiorari ex mero moto.

Ex Mero Moto, roughly translated means, “Of their own accord.”

The court may consider appeals without formal prompting or request, doing so voluntarily or on their “own accord.”

How Much are Attorney’s Fees in Criminal Cases?

Criminal Court Judgments - Attorney Fees Legal fees associated with the appointment of an attorney by the Court are subject to certain procedures and protocols.

As it relates to appointed counsel (and Public Defenders) the legal fee may be a flat rate as determined by the Office of Indigent Defense Services and may be set by the Court considering the standard hourly rate authorized for such matters.

Again, restitution of legal fees for a Public Defender or private appointed counsel applies if you are convicted or plead guilty to criminal charges.

If you are found not guilty or the charges are dismissed, the State is responsible for legal fees.

It’s important to understand, a Public Defender is not guaranteed in every instance. The appointment of legal counsel also is not automatic.

You must qualify for the appointment of legal counsel in North Carolina.

Contrary to what some might think, the appointment of counsel and/or a Criminal defense lawyer on the Outer Banks may require completion of an Affidavit of Indigency on the AOC-CR-226.

Court-appointed lawyers are not always free.

Civil Judgment for Criminal Defense Fees

The Court, prior to entering a Civil Judgment for Legal Fees, must give the Defendant the opportunity “to be heard.”

Formal notice of the right to be heard is also required.

The Court must make a formal inquiry of the Defendant and not the Defendant’s criminal lawyer about the appropriateness of the fees.

The Judge issuing the Civil Judgment (Order of Attorneys Fees) must ask the Defendant whether he or she “wishes to be heard.”

District Court matters in North Carolina, which include many misdemeanor charges, may not be recorded.

District Criminal Court is, except for a few, special circumstances such as Juvenile Court or Domestic Violence Court, ordinarily not considered a “court of record.”

As such, there must be a specific entry on the Judgment, Clerk’s Notes, or formal record of the proceedings that the Defendant was given notice of their right to be heard and also was heard on the issue of legal fees.

Outer Banks Criminal Lawyer - Danny Glover

If you seek legal representation for criminal charges in Gates, Dare, Currituck, Pasquotank, Camden, Chowan, or Perquimans County NC, Danny Glover is available for consultation.

"We charge nothing for legal consultations for OBX criminal matters."

- Danny Glover

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