Courtroom 1130 is an administrative courtroom. You are here because you are charged with a traffic violation or with a minor criminal offense. Although we do not have trials in this courtroom, the decisions you make today are very important and may affect your driver's license, your insurance, and your liberty. Information contained in this video will help you make those decisions. Please watch this video so you will know what to do.
Five types of business are conducted in this courtroom.
- Reduce traffic tickets to allow you to pay them off. In some cases we dismiss them.
Video is approximately 13 minutes.
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- Provide information concerning court related programs that may affect the way you want to handle your case
- Accept guilty pleas, in certain types of cases, for those who want to plead guilty today.
- Schedule new court dates for those who want to have a trial or want more time to decide what to do.
- Advise you of rights to a court appointed attorney
Before we go into greater detail, let us tell you the rules concerning conduct and security in the courtroom.
The Sheriff's Department is responsible for your security and conduct in the courtroom. Here are the rules for you to follow:
- Turn off pagers and cell phones or put them on vibrate.
- Do not bring food or drinks into the courtroom. Chewing gum is prohibited.
- Do not sleep.
- Reading anything other than court papers is prohibited.
- Men should remove their hats or anything covering their heads.
- Do not talk except to courtroom personnel - the Sheriff, the Assistant District Attorney, or the Judge. If you need to talk to your attorney, please talk outside.
- Do not allow children or babies to disturb others. Free childcare is located on the 2nd floor of this building for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years.
- Do not approach the front of the courtroom unless instructed to do so or you hear your name called by a Deputy Sheriff or the Assistant District Attorney.
- In case of an emergency, exit the courtroom as directed by the Sheriff.
We do not have trials in courtroom 1130. If you want a trial, we will schedule one for you to be held a month or two from now in another courtroom. Tell the Judge or the Assistant District Attorney when they call your name if you wish to plead not guilty and have a trial. They will give you the date and time your trial is scheduled. You will receive a copy of this form (show form on screen) showing your trial date, courtroom and time. You must be prepared
to handle your case on your scheduled trial date.
If you are charged with a traffic offense and you have corrected the problem that caused you to get a ticket, the Assistant District Attorney may dismiss the charge if you can provide proof the problem has been corrected. Offenses which fall into this category include:
- Expired or Improper Registration
- No Inspection
- No Insurance
- No Driver's License or Expired Driver's License
- Equipment violations
If you have proof the problem is corrected, please have it ready to show the Assistant District Attorney when your name is called.
If you had a minor traffic accident and received a ticket, the Assistant District Attorney may dismiss the charge if you can show proof the accident was reported to your insurance company. A letter from your insurance company is sufficient proof. If you have such a letter, please have it ready to show the Assistant District Attorney when your name is called.
If you have a speeding ticket, the Assistant District Attorney may reduce the speed to allow you to pay the ticket. Reduced tickets do not have to be paid today. You have 20 days from today's date to pay. Tickets can be paid at the cashier's window located outside of this courtroom on the 1st floor. The cashier accepts cash, money orders, and certified checks. They do not accept personal checks. An ATM machine is located on the second floor near the Clerk's Office.
If the JUDGE orders you to pay a fine and/or court costs, the money DOES have to be paid today, unless the Judge gives you an extension. When you are in front of the Judge is the time for you to ask for this extension. Otherwise, you have until 5:00 p.m. to pay at the cashier's window in this building or until 12 midnight to pay at the Magistrate's Office across the street at the jail.
If you plead guilty or pay off a reduced ticket, you may get an insurance increase. Whether or not your insurance goes up depends on how many tickets you've had, what the tickets were for, and when you got the tickets or had the accident. Neither the Judge nor the Assistant District Attorney has that information so they cannot advise you about insurance consequences.
Please do not
ask the Judge or the Assistant District Attorney how a reduction will affect your insurance. They do not know and they cannot tell you. If you need to know insurance consequences before you make a decision, continue your case and call your insurance company or contact an attorney.
Court Related Programs
Defensive Driving School
We have a defensive driving school you can attend for certain minor traffic tickets. The school involves one 4-hour class, which is offered at a variety of times, including nights and weekends. A program fee and court costs is due and payable when you arrive to the class. Please check with the driving school representative for the exact amount you need to bring with you. When you complete the class, a PJC, or a Prayer for Judgment Continued, is entered on your case. You do not have to come back to court after the class if you complete the class at least two weeks prior to your court date. If you have a question concerning your need to come back to court be sure to ask your instructor at the driving school.
You may not
attend the defensive driving school if you have taken the class within the last 3 years or if you have an out-of-state driver's license. Not all offenses qualify for the school. Serious offenses such as DWI, reckless driving, and bad speeding do not qualify. Tell the Assistant District Attorney or the Judge if you are interested in going to the school when you hear your name called.
Drug Education School
We have a drug education school you can attend if you are charged with an alcohol or marijuana related offense that does not involve driving. Typical offenses which qualify for the school are:
- Possession of marijuana
- Possession of marijuana paraphernalia
- Public consumption of alcohol
- Underage possession of alcohol
- Intoxicated and disruptive in public
The school consists of 15 hours of class taken over a period of 5 weeks - 1 class 3 hours a week, on either a Monday or Thursday night or a Saturday morning. If you successfully complete the school, your case is dismissed. Tell the Judge or the Assistant District Attorney if you are interested in going to the school when you hear your name called. He or she will tell you how to apply.
Deferred Prosecution is a one-time program for people charged with certain crimes such as larceny, damage to property, trespass, and assault. If you have no prior criminal convictions, and are willing to admit your guilt in writing, you may qualify for the program. Deferred Prosecution requires you to be on probation for at least 6 months. If you comply with the conditions of probation, including such things as doing community service work, paying restitution, and staying out of trouble, at the end of the probation, your case is dismissed.
Deferred Prosecution is an opportunity to keep your record clean. Tell the Judge or the Assistant District Attorney if you are interested in applying for Deferred Prosecution. He or she will tell you how to apply.
Worthless Check Settlement Program
If you are charged with writing one or more worthless checks, ask the Judge or the Assistant District Attorney about the Worthless Check Settlement Program. He or she will tell you how to apply. The program allows you time to pay off worthless checks without obtaining a criminal conviction.
Your Right to An Attorney
If you are charged with an offense for which you could go to jail, you have the right to an attorney. You can represent yourself, hire your own attorney, or apply for a Public Defender. If you want an attorney and do not have enough money to hire one, you can ask the Judge for a Public Defender.
Tell the Judge when you hear your name called if you want to apply for a Public Defender. The Judge will ask you to fill out a form listing your monthly income and expenses. The form looks like this (show the form on screen). If you qualify for a Public Defender, you will be told how to contact your attorney and your case will be postponed.
A Public Defender might not be free
. If you are found guilty, or plead guilty, fees for the Public Defender may be charged against you as part of the costs of court. To collect these costs, the State of North Carolina may file a civil judgment against you for the amount of the fees. The civil judgment allows the State to seize your North Carolina tax returns for up to 10 years to pay the money that you owe.
If you are under the age of 18 years, a parent or guardian may ultimately be responsible for reimbursing the State for your attorney fees. The parent or guardian may also be subject to the civil judgment in the amount of the fees if you are found guilty or plead guilty. Their North Carolina tax returns also may be seized for up to 10 years.
There are two types of cases in courtroom 1130: Traffic Offenses and Criminal Misdemeanors. The Assistant District Attorney will call names of people who have traffic cases scheduled in the courtroom. Come to the front counter when the Assistant District Attorney calls your name. Speak loudly enough to be heard, but not so loudly as to interfere with other conversations. This is your opportunity to ask the Assistant District Attorney for a speed reduction, a chance to go to driving school, or to show you have complied with your ticket. You may also indicate that you wish to take your matter to trial, in which case, you will be given a trial date.
If you are here for a Criminal Misdemeanor Charge your case will be taken into the Judge's Courtroom in the next room. Wait for your name to be called by a Deputy Sheriff. When your name is called, come forward as directed by the Deputy Sheriff. He will then take you to the Judge's courtroom to have your matter heard. The Judge will ask if you want to go trial or to discuss a guilty plea. If you choose a trial, or want to continue the case to have more time to decide, the Judge will give you a trial date and allow you to apply for a Public Defender. If you want to hire your own attorney or represent yourself, the Judge will have you sign a form saying you do not want court appointed counsel.
If your choice is to discuss a guilty plea, the Judge will explain your options. Then, if you plead guilty, the Judge will have you sign a form saying you want to represent yourself and do not want court appointed counsel. The Judge will take your plea and enter a sentence.
Tell the Judge immediately if you want to apply for one of the programs previously described. Do not plead guilty and then ask to apply. Once you plead guilty, you are not eligible for any of the programs.
When you finish with the Judge you may be instructed to approach the Clerk, who is seated next to the Judge. The Clerk will give you the paperwork you need, whether it is a trial date, application information for a court related program or a cost bill if you entered a guilty plea.
If the Judge orders you to pay a fine and/or court costs, the money must be paid by 5:00 p.m. at the cashier's window on the 1st floor of this building or before 12 midnight at the Magistrate's Office across the street at the jail, unless the Judge gives you an extension.
Ask your questions to the Judge, or to the Assistant District Attorney. Do not ask questions to the Clerk.