North Carolina’s Court Systems consists of a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals, the trial courts of Superior Courts, District Courts, Business Court, Small Claims Court, and Recovery Courts.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and the court of last resort for appeals. The Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court and handles most appeals from the lower courts and state administrative agencies.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is also head of the entire judicial branch. Along with the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court has six Associate Justices. Each serves an eight-year term. The Supreme Court holds no trials but simply reviews previous cases to make sure no errors were made in applying the law. Supreme Court decisions are final and often become law.
North Carolina has 15 Court of Appeals judges. They sit in panels of three to review cases and determine if any errors were made. The only appeals they do not handle directly are capital offense murder cases. They go directly to the Supreme Court. Court of Appeals judges also serve eight-year terms. Appeals from here go to the Supreme Court. This state uses a unified court system.
According to the Freedom of Information Act, North Carolina allows public access to most court records and cases. There are, however, situations and information that is kept private and not open to the public. NC posts a list of exempt items on their website. The list includes:
- “Social security numbers or taxpayer identification numbers.
- Drivers’ license numbers (except on law enforcement records). Passport numbers.
- Checking or savings account numbers.
- Credit card or debit card numbers.
- Biometric data.
The above information will be redacted from files before they are made public. Other exclusions such as sealed, expunged, and juvenile records will also not be available.
North Carolina makes it easy for patrons to use the court system for a variety of purposes. On their main menu, they have a forms section with 996 available downloadable forms for filing. Many of the sections on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website are geared towards self-represented individuals and common legal actions like divorce, small claims, domestic violence, adoptions, guardianship, and traffic issues. They also offer e-filing options for civil lawsuits, appellate court actions, and Business Court issues. The e-filing option is limited to specific counties and is administrated by the NC Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
Interested in finding North Carolina court records quickly and easily? Use the Infotracer search tool to access hundreds of NC court cases, including the areas of Mecklenburg County, Wake County, and Guilford County. Thanks to Old North State Public Records Law Chapter 132 - NC General Assembly, companies like Infotracer, can provide court records on demand for things like criminal court records, civil court cases, family and probate court issues, bankruptcies and more.
A court records search may be performed privately by anyone without providing any special authorization. The person searching doesn’t even need a reason to search except in cases where the record is court-ordered private or confidential by law such as juvenile records.
Using a NC state court records name search, users can get free instant access to NC court records from all over the state. Infotracer is the best way to lookup cases online from North Carolina’s superior courts, district courts, business court, small claims court, and recovery courts in all 41 judicial districts.
In 2012, the North Carolina courts received 625,111 filings. In 2016, the number of filings increased by 331.6% and counted 2,697,858 filings and had 2,843,286 outgoing cases
|Court Type||Incoming Caseloads|
Domestic relations caseload of North Carolina at year end of 2016 has decreased by 0.0% compared to the last 1 years, in 2016 the number of incoming cases have been 121,737.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
The number of criminal cases in North Carolina courts counts to 1,503,283, with 265,151 felony cases and 1,238,132 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
North Carolina’s Superior Court was created in 1777 and is the oldest court in the state. These courts hear both criminal and civil cases. Superior Courts are the general jurisdiction courts for the state and they are divided into five divisions and 48 districts. Superior Court judges rotate among the districts every six months. These courts handle civil claims of more than $25,000 and all felony cases. They also hear misdemeanor appeals from District Court. Business Court is a division of Superior Court designed specifically to resolve complex cases involving corporate and commercial laws of commerce. There are four locations for Business Court.
District Courts in North Carolina are the limited jurisdiction courts for the state. District Courts are divided up into 41 judicial districts across the state, and there is at least one per county. These courts handle criminal, civil, juvenile, and magistrate cases. They can operate jury trials, but a judge hears most cases. Some examples of District Court cases are divorce, child custody, child support, and civil claims of less than $25,000. District Courts also resolve misdemeanors and other petty infractions. They have a small claims division that handles cases of less than $10,000, landlord/tenant issues and personal property lawsuits along with mechanic’s liens.