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Judge Gavel

North Carolina Magistrates Association

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It is our sincere and dedicated belief that the General Court of Justice is an essential bulwark in preserving the rights, liberty, and safety of the people.
It is the Mission of the North Carolina Magistrates Association:
To promote professionalism and fellowship among its members and to inspire each other to higher efforts;
To sponsor and coordinate all activities of individuals, organizations, and institutions working to increase the knowledge and ability of Magistrates; and
To encourage and foster the ideals of equal access, just treatment, and unrestricted service to all persons.

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Magistrate's Oath of Office and Duties

I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without favoritism to anyone or to the State; that I will not knowingly take, directly or indirectly, any fee, gift, gratuity or reward whatsoever, for any matter or thing done by me or to be done by me by virtue of my office, except the salary and allowances by law provided; and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties of magistrate of the District Court Division of the General Court of Justice to the best of my ability and understanding, and consistent with the Constitution and laws of the State, so help me, God.

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  • Accept guilty pleas, admission of responsibility, and enter judgment for infractions

  • Handle misdemeanor and infractions for cases involving alcohol, boating offenses, state park/recreational areas, littering offenses, and wildlife offenses (e.g. hunting, fishing, etc.)

  • Accept written appearances, waivers of trial or hearing and guilty pleas and, in appropriate cases, enter judgment and collect fines, penalties and costs

  • Issue arrest warrants

  • Issue search warrants

  • Grant bail or set release conditions (non-capital offenses)

  • Hear and enter judgments on worthless checks (<$2,000.00)

  • Conduct initial appearances

  • Conduct small claims court in cases involving up to $10,000.00

  • Administer oaths

  • Provide punishment for direct criminal contempt

  • Take depositions and examination before trial

  • Issue subpoenas and capiases

  • Take affidavits for verification of pleadings

  • Assign years allowances to surviving spouses and children

  • Perform marriage ceremonies

  • Take acknowledgment of written contract or separation agreement

  • Accept applications for involuntary commitments

  • Conduct hearings for driver license revocations

  • Validate vehicle towing by law enforcement

  • Validate impounding of vehicles in certain DWI/DWLR charges

  • Issue temporary domestic violence protection orders in certain emergency conditions

  • Appoint an umpire pursuant to GS 20-279.21 to determine the amount of property damage to a motor vehicle

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As of June 30, 2020

  • There were 672.6 magistrate full-time equivalent positions in North Carolina as of June 30, 2020. 

  • Magistrates represent approximately 10% of the Judicial Branch workforce.

  • From July 31, 2020-June 30, 2021 there were 170,998 civil magistrate cases filed and 172,844 civil magistrate cases disposed of.

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