COVID-19 and North Carolina Courts


On March 13, 2020, North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced that due to the COVID-19 or coronavirus, North Carolina Courts would be in large part shutting down for 30 days. The order that Chief Justice Beasley signed left much of the specifics of how each individual courthouse will operate during this time period. For Mecklenburg, Union, Gaston, Cabarrus, and Iredell counties however much of the general procedure is the same.

If you or a loved one are in jail and have a court date scheduled during this 30-day window, it is important to speak to an attorney. Most counties are still running some sessions of court during the shutdown to handle cases for those who are incarcerated or for those who are in an emergency situation.

Criminal District or Superior Court

If you have a case in criminal district or superior court and your court date falls in the 30-day window of the shutdown, you DO NOT need to attend court. The courts are not issuing Orders for Arrest based on a failure to appear during this time. Your attorney should reach out to you regarding your court date, but the general practice of the courts will be to continue your matter to a date outside of the shutdown. It is important to know that whether you have an attorney or not, the court system is required to send a letter to your official address indicating when your next court date is.

Administrative Court

If you have a traffic ticket, first appearance, or other administrative matter, and your next court date falls inside the 30-day shutdown window, your case will be continued by the court. The courts are NOT issuing Failure’s to Appear and are NOT notifying the DMV to suspend licenses during this time.

Probation Violation Court

If your next court date for a probation violation is during the shutdown period and you are not in jail, your court date will be continued. You will get a letter from the court with your next court date, and the court will not be issuing Orders for Arrest based on failure to appear during this period.

Domestic Violence

Unlike most criminal and civil courts, Domestic Violence court is still running during this time. All counties are running some version of first court where they are holding ex-parte hearings for the issuance of DVPO, and many courts are still running the full 1-year DVPO hearings. If you are in a domestic violence situation and you wish to seek a 50B or DVPO please contact us today as you can still go through the court system to get this kind of protection.

The Clerks Office and Other Matters

Effective 03/18/2020 the Clerk of Court in Mecklenburg County made the decision to only have the clerk’s office both criminal and civil open from 09:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This includes the cashier’s office and windows. If you have business that you need to conduct with the clerk or you have questions and wish to speak with someone in person after these hours, you will need to go to the magistrate’s office.

As of 03/19/2020 Cabarrus, Union, Gaston, and Iredell counties Clerk of Court’s office are still running normal working hours.

Furthermore, many District Attorney’s offices are open, however, many have gone to a reduced staff during this time and all of the DA’s may not be available at all times.

Finally, while many motions, strike orders, and other documents require a Judge’s signature, it is important to know that even though there are still some sessions of court running each and every day, there is no guarantee on how long the judge may be at the courthouse. If you have a motion or strike order that you need completed, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible.