Changes to the Bond System in North Carolina


North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper just signed a new bill into law that will greatly affect how some criminal defendants are processed in the criminal justice system starting October 1, 2023. One of the first things that typically happens when you are charged with a crime is, that you are taken in front of a magistrate in order for them to determine your conditions of release, or set your bond. Under the new law, SL2023-75, there are two main categories of Defendants affected; those charged with a violent crime, and those charged with a new crime while out of some form of pre-trial release.

  1. Violent Crimes Rules

This section of the law states that a Judge shall determine in the Judge’s discretion whether a person charged with one of the following charges may be released before trial:

  • Murder (first or second degree or attempted murder)
  • Kidnapping
  • Forceable Rape (first or second degree)
  • Statutory Rape of a Child by an Adult
  • First Degree Statutory Rape
  • Statutory Rape of Person who is 15 years or younger
  • Forceable Sex Offenses (first or second degree)
  • Statutory Sex Offense with a Child by and Adult
  • First Degree Statutory Sex Offense
  • Statutory Sex Offense of Person who is 15 years or younger
  • Human Trafficking
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury
  • Discharge Firearm into Occupied Property
  • First Degree Burglary
  • First Degree Arson
  • Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon

This new law means that if you are charged with the above offenses, a magistrate cannot set your bond. Instead, you will be held until for 48 hours or until you can be seen by a District Court Judge, whichever happens first. This rule is similar to the rule for all cases of domestic violence.

  1. Repeat Offender Rules

The other change that the new rule makes is that if you are on any kind of pre-trial release (whether a secured bond, unsecured bond, or written promise to appear) for any kind of criminal case, and you pick up new criminal charges, the magistrate cannot set your bond until the same 48-hour window as above elapses. This means that they will hold you for 48 hours or until they can put you in front of a district court judge, whichever happens first.

These new rules put an emphasis on hiring a lawyer as early in the process as possible. In many jurisdictions across the State of North Carolina, an attorney can often assist in getting a lower bond amount and help you get out of jail sooner. Furthermore, depending on the kind of case you have it could become an issue that will play a role in the outcome of the case moving forward. Either way, if you or someone you know is being held under the new 48-hour rule, you should reach out to an attorney as quickly as possible.