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COVID-19 and North Carolina Courts

Note: North Carolina’s Administrative Office of the Courts provides regular updates regarding the CoronaVirus and COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting the state’s court system.

North Carolina Criminal Courts have, like most courts around the country, been substantially impacted by the Coronavirus. On March 13, 2020, North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order that essentially has closed most of the courts for all but emergency matters. While the courts are technically open, at this point all trials and non-custodial hearings have been continued. A PDF copy of the Chief Justice’s March 13 order is available here. A PDF copy of the Chief Justice’s subsequent March 19 order is available here.

People arrested and requiring an a first appearance according to N.C.G.S. Sec.15A-511 and, at least in Wake County, District Court judges. In addition, trial courts are required to schedule hearings for in-custody defendants requesting a bond hearing, and have been scheduling plea hearings for defendants who wish to accept plea deals.

Furthermore, the civil courts have been open for Domestic Violence emergency protective orders, and 50B hearings.

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