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In North Carolina, Magistrates are judicial officers of the District Court and have jurisdiction in both criminal and civil cases. In many instances, a citizen's first contact with the judicial system comes through the office of the magistrate as magistrates are the front-line protection of peoples' constitutional rights.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Magistrate is to protect and preserve the rights and liberties of all of the people, as guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States and North Carolina, by providing a fair, independent and accessible forum the just, timely and economical resolution of their legal affairs.

In criminal cases, the pretrial process begins with the magistrate, whose primary function in the judicial system of North Carolina is to provide an independent, unbiased review of charges and complaints by law enforcement officers or citizens. The magistrate determines if, and to what extent, further action is warranted when a police officer or a citizen claims that a crime has been committed.

Magisterial duties include issuing various types of processes such as arrest warrants or summonses, search warrants, subpoenas, and civil warrants. Magistrates conduct bond hearings to set bail and conditions of release in instances in which an individual in charged with a criminal offense. They determine whether or not a person should be charged with driving while impaired and hold the initial 30-day drivers license revocation hearing. Magistrates may also accept prepayments for traffic infractions and minor misdemeanors.

Magistrates also have important civil responsibilities -- deciding evictions and cases involving up to $5,000.00 money damages in Small Claims Court, and issuing important processes in cases of alleged domestic violence.

 

 

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