C.A. 4th;
G052640

The Fourth Appellate District reversed in part a judgment and remanded. The court held that a crime lab fee and a drug program fee were not “fines” subject to penalty assessments.

Julio Martinez was convicted of both possessing and transporting a controlled substance. Marinez was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay two mandatory fees—a $50 crime-lab fee, under Penal Code §11372.5, and a $150 drug program fee, under §11372.7. The trial court concluded both fees were actually “fines” subject to additional assessments, penalties, and a surcharge. Martinez appealed, challenging the trial court’s imposition of the penalty assessments.

The court of appeal reversed, holding that the statutory fees were not penal in nature and, therefore, not subject to penalty assessments. The court agreed with People v. Watts (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 223 and People v. Webb (2017) 13 Cal.App.5th 486 that the two fees at issue here serve an administrative function and are thus not subject to penalty assessments. The court found further that Martinez was subject to separate fees under §§11372.5 and 11372.7 for each of his two convictions. Because the fees were not punishment, the trial court lacked authority to either stay or fail to impose the required fees. The court remanded remand for recalculation of the criminal laboratory analysis and drug program fees on each count without the addition of penalty assessments.