JEFFERSON- Ashe County citizens can now pay probation-related costs, fines and fees online using their credit / debit card with the launch of Online Collections and Payments (OCAP). Online payments are available 24/7 at onlineservices.NCcourts.org for supervised and unsupervised probationers with their case file number, the county that issued the charge, and a major credit card, including American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard®, and Visa® cards.
“Offering online payment services to pay probation fines and fees is a win-win for the public and our courts,” said Ashe County Clerk of Superior Court, Pam Barlow. “Citizens are able to take care of their fines and court costs online without having to wait in line, miss work, or take time out of the busy schedules. It will also reduce foot traffic in and around the courthouses across the state. This is another step toward bringing the court system into today’s technology age.”
The online payments system provides immediate benefits to citizens, as well as to court officials and staff. While it provides a more convenient payment option for citizens, the system also means less paperwork, less traffic in the courthouse, and shorter lines at the cashier window. Prior to OCAP, citizens had to pay costs, fines, and fees at the courthouse or by mail. In fiscal year 2014 – 15, North Carolina courts processed probation payments totaling more than $14.2 million.
“OCAP is easy to use, more convenient for the public, and more efficient for the state,” said Judge Marion Warren, director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. “It is a great online tool that is part of the larger ongoing initiative to modernize the North Carolina court system.”
The system is available in all 100 counties statewide. OCAP was piloted in Chatham, New Hanover, and Wake counties prior to statewide implementation on May 31. Probation payments are the first statewide non-traffic citation-related costs available for online payment. Credit / debit card payments are eligible for most district criminal (CR) or superior criminal (CRS) cases that have gone to court and been placed on supervised or unsupervised probation with monies owed. The OCAP system can only be used for probation cases that have been tried in court.
A convenience fee is charged at the time of each credit / debit card payment and is remitted to a third-party company. Except for the convenience fee, most monies received do not stay with the courts but instead go to other state and local government agencies. Continuing on the technology success of NCAOC’s payNCticket program since 2010, the online payments system is another convenient epay technology making it easier for citizens to do business with the courts. NCAOC is working to expand payment options to all criminal cases for release later this year.
OCAP fact sheet
About N.C. Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch is an equal and distinctively separate branch and core function of government. More than 6,000 Judicial Branch employees statewide administer justice in courthouses in North Carolina’s 100 counties. The Judicial Branch budget for FY 2015–16 is $484.9M, 92% of which is used to pay salaries and the remaining 8% is used for operations. The Judicial Branch receives only 2.23% of the overall State budget. More than 54% of the Judicial Branch’s appropriation is equivalent to revenues collected by the courts through imposed fines and fees that are deposited in the State General Fund.
About N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts
The N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) is the administrative agency for the N.C. Judicial Branch, providing administrative services to help the North Carolina court system operate more efficiently and effectively, taking into account each courthouse’s diverse needs, caseloads, and available resources. Among the many programs and services that it provides to courts statewide, NCAOC uses technology to improve the delivery of services to the public and to provide greater and more convenient access to court personnel.