Basic Information About Court Systems In North Carolina
In North Carolina, if you are charged with a misdemeanor, these cases are handled in the District Court. There are many possible resolutions to cases of this nature, but it is very important that you be up front and honest with your lawyer about your prior criminal record if you have one. This information serves a very important role in determining your sentence should you be found guilty or plead guilty and knowing this information is important in determining how to proceed in your case. Your lawyer should look at all advantages and disadvantages of your resolution options, from trial to plea to some other resolution, so that you can be fully informed of your rights and the potential outcome.
If your case is a felony, and you have not yet been indicted by the grand jury, your case will be set in the District Court for a probable cause hearing. It is very rare that the state will give you a probable cause hearing in that it is basically a way for you to obtain free discovery information. Rarely if ever do you present any evidence at a probable cause hearing since the only thing the judge bases his/her opinion on as far as finding probable cause is the state’s case. Therefore, the state would have to present only some of their evidence, and your lawyer would then have knowledge of this and could possibly use it later on to your advantage.
Therefore, if you are out of jail, and you have a probable cause hearing scheduled, it is likely that the state will move to continue you case. If you object after a certain amount of time and the state has not filed written notice to continue the case, the judge may deny the state’s motion and force the state to dismiss the charges. The problem with them doing that is you could possibly be indicted by the grand jury later and rearrested and then have to post a new bond. Therefore, when you are out of jail, generally these matters get continued, so that you can remain out of jail. Then if you are later indicted while you are out on bond, it is extremely rare that you are re-arrested or a new bond set and you are usually allowed to remain out on your current bond.
In the Superior Court System, which is where all felonies are tried before a jury, the charges need to go through the Case Management System. This system involves going to court one time every other month, usually the first or second Thursday of each month and trying to see where the case is going. The first Case Management setting is usually a preliminary setting where some discovery is exchanged and some details are discussed. By the second setting of Case Management, the state will make a plea offer if they intend to do so. By the third setting of Case Management the state wants to know whether or not you will accept a plea offer that was made or if it can be tweaked a little bit to make it acceptable otherwise the case is set for trial.
If the case is set for trial, it will be placed on the trial calendar in the order that the District Attorney’s Office sees fit. Therefore, a case can be near the top or near the bottom of this list and there is no exact way to know whether or not the case will be tried on the date it is actually scheduled. Usually, the District Attorney’s Office will go down a list and try cases in order. However, many cases will end up being continued or pleading out and a case at much higher number may very well be the first case tried that week. It is therefore essential that you be ready for trial on the date given and have all the witnesses and evidence necessary to proceed.
In a nutshell, we have just explained to you some basic information regarding a criminal matter. The details of your case will be discussed with you with your attorney. We thank you very much visiting our site and considering Wright, Worley, Pope, Ekster & Moss, PLLC.