Magistrates for each county are appointed for two-year terms by the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge upon nomination of the Clerk of Superior Court. Magistrates are officers of the district court, and they are subject to the supervision of the Chief District Court Judge in judicial matters.

In criminal matters, magistrates issue arrest and search warrants and set bail. They have authority to:
  • accept guilty pleas to minor misdemeanors and pleas of responsibility to infractions;
  • accept waivers of trial and guilty pleas to certain traffic littering, wildlife, boating, marine fisheries, state park recreation and alcoholic beverage violations; and
  • accept waivers of trial and guilty pleas in worthless check cases in which the check is for $2000 or less.
In civil matters, the magistrates may be assigned by the Chief District Court Judge to hear small claims cases, including summary ejectment (landlord's action to evict a tenant) cases. The magistrate is also authorized to perform marriage ceremonies, assign a year's allowance to a surviving spouse, administer oaths, verify pleadings and take acknowledgments (notarization) of instruments.

In Franklin County the Louisburg Magistrate office is located in the courthouse at 102 S. Main Street, Louisburg. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Phone Number is 919 496-0111.

The location for the Louisburg office at night and on weekends and holidays is the Franklin County Detention Center at 285 T Kemp Road, Louisburg. Magistrates are on call for nights, weekends and holidays. For assistance go to the Franklin County Detention Center at the above address and ask for a Magistrate. The night number is 919 496-0111 or 919 496-7486. The emergency number is 919 496 2511.