48-Hour Rule for Domestic Violence Cases in North Carolina


If a person is arrested for allegedly committing a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence offense in North Carolina, he/she will be held in jail without bond for 48 hours until a District Court Judge—instead of a magistrate—must set the individual’s bond, whichever comes first. The same rule applies when a person allegedly commits a protection order violation and a domestic criminal trespass charge.

The 48-hour rule starts once the arrest is made. For example, if the arrest occurred over a weekend, the defendant will be held in jail until Monday morning or when a judge becomes available to review a formal report about the defendant’s criminal history.

Whether or not a defendant obtains a secured bond, the following are conditions and special terms for release after a domestic violence arrest:

  • Do not come in contact with the alleged victim or complainant
    • Stay away from his/her home, work, business, school, etc.
  • Do not assault, wound, molest, harass, or threaten the alleged victim
  • Do not damage or remove items from the alleged victim’s property
  • Limit child visitation based on an existing order
  • Avoid consuming alcohol
    • A SCRAM device may be administered to provide proof of sobriety

However, if a judge doesn’t set a bond or is otherwise unavailable during those 48 hours, a magistrate will adhere to pretrial release conditions. While pretrial release and bail can be set by a magistrate in other legal matters, only a district court judge has the authority to set such conditions for domestic violence charges.

Since Charlotte is one of the larger jurisdictions in the state, there is at least one administrative court available Monday through Friday. If a person is arrested on Friday night in Charlotte for domestic violence charges, he/she may have his/her first court appearance as soon as Monday morning.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for domestic violence in Charlotte, contact Jetton & Meredith, PLLC today at (704) 931-5535 to learn about your legal options.