History and Purpose of the Magistrate
The Office of Magistrate traces its development through centuries of English and American history. In North Carolina many of the duties performed by the Magistrates were once carried out by Justices of the Peace, an office that was phased out between 1968 and 1970. Some Magistrates have trial jurisdiction over minor traffic offenses and simple misdemeanors. They are the foundation and integral part of the Judicial system and are considered Judicial Officials of the State of North Carolina. The principle function of the Magistrate is to provide an independent, unbiased review of complaints brought to the Magistrate by law enforcement officers or the general public.