Frequently asked questions
What is the AOC?
The Administrative Office of the Courts was created when the courts were unified in 1963. The primary functions of the AOC include providing support to court officials statewide, administering the budget for the entire judicial branch of government, and providing public information about the court system.
Where can I find North Carolina Law, particularly statutes?
If you have access to the internet, the General Assembly’s home page will provide this information for you. (http://www.ncga.state.nc.us) If not, try your local law school or the North Carolina Supreme Court library or law library located in Raleigh. Most universities have a “government” section in the library that has the statutes as do most libraries. Finally, many local courts have a limited library that may have some information.
Who can I contact if I have a problem receiving child support payments?
Effective October 1, 1999, all child support payments that were previously paid to the Clerks of Court for North Carolina will be paid to a centralized child support collection center which is maintained by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The centralization of child support collection was developed in accordance with state and federal law, and it is anticipated that it will allow for more efficient and timely collection and distribution of child support. The Clerks of Superior Court will no longer accept child support payments. The Department of Health and Human Services has created a website to share information with the public about the new automated system it is using to collect child support. Please visit the site for more information: http://www.dhhs.state.nc.us/central-collect/
Please direct all collections inquiries to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Child Support Enforcement Central Collections office by emailing them at CSE.Central.Collect@ncmail.net or by calling toll free 1-877-531-1818; 1-800-735-2962 (TTY); or in the Raleigh area at 919-881-2346.
What is the difference between District Court and Superior Court?
District Courts are the entry level trial court, and the proper division for civil cases involving less than $10,000, all juvenile matters, and criminal cases involving infractions or misdemeanors. If the parties involved in the case do not object, District Court can conduct civil jury trials, or hear civil matters with more than $10,000 in controversy. However, Superior Court is the proper division for civil cases involving more than $10,000, as well as all felony criminal cases. Both courts have jurisdiction over cases regardless of the amount of money in controversy.
How can I conduct a criminal record check?
Public terminals at the offices of most Clerks of Superior Court (in each county) are available and will allow you to conduct these types of searches.
How can I obtain a copy of a Criminal Calendar?
Criminal Calendars are set by the District Attorney’s office in each district. Copies are distributed by the Clerk of Superior Court in each county. It is possible to conduct a search of criminal calendars for some districts at the following AOC web site: http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/html/trial_courts.htm
How can I take action against an attorney who has acted improperly or unethically?
Contact the North Carolina State Bar. The State Bar handles attorney complaints and, in appropriate cases, will pursue grievances against attorneys. The number is (919) 828-4620. **Note: The law imposes time limits within which you must take certain actions. You therefore should contact an attorney immediately if you have any questions concerning your legal rights and remedies. If your complaint is about a public defender, you should first contact the Public Defender in your district.
How can I take action against a judge that has acted improperly or unethically?
Contact the Judicial Standards Committee. The Commission handles complaints regarding judges and, in appropriate cases, will pursue grievances against judges. The number is (919) 733-2690. The mailing address is Post Office Box 1122, Raleigh, NC 27602. **Note: The law imposes time limits within which you must take certain actions. You therefore should contact an attorney immediately if you have any questions concerning your legal rights and remedies.
How do I file a complaint against a magistrate?
A complaint may be filed with the Chief District Court Judge in the District where the magistrate works. For more information about magistrates, visit the homepage of the North Carolina Magistrate’s Association, at http://www.happysemporium.com/magistrate.htm
How do I file a complaint about the conditions of the local jail?
Local jails are managed by the individual county and not the State of NC; a complaint should be filed with the Sheriff and the County Manager of the particular county
What kind of document do I need to file, or when to file, or where to file, in a particular case?
The Administrative Office of the Courts cannot give legal advice to the public. You should contact an attorney. If you need an attorney referral, you can contact the North Carolina Bar Association Lawyer Referral at 1-800-662-7660. Or, you may contact the local legal services office. To find the local legal services office in your area contact Legal Services of North Carolina (LSNC) at (919) 856-2564.