About District Court

District Courts, can be divided into four categories, civil, criminal, juvenile and magistrate.

Civil cases such as divorce, custody, child support and cases involving less than $10,000 are heard in District Court, along with criminal cases involving misdemeanors and infractions. The trial of a criminal case in District Court is always without a jury. The District Court also hears juvenile cases involving children under the age of 16 who are delinquent and children under the age of 18 who are undisciplined, dependent, neglected or abused. Magistrates (see magistrate section) accept guilty pleas for minor misdemeanors, accept guilty pleas for traffic violations and accept waivers of trial for worthless-check cases among other things. In civil cases, the magistrate is authorized to try small claims involving up to $10,000 including landlord eviction cases.

District Court judges in North Carolina serve a 4 year term and are elected by the citizens. Magistrates are nominated by the Clerk of Court and appointed by the Chief District Court Judge in each county.
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