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The Impact of COVID-19 on NC Courts

During this unprecedented time, Manning Law is closely monitoring updates from the North Carolina Judicial Branch and the Governor’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Task Force to ensure the health and safety of our clients, attorneys and courts.

We understand that information is changing rapidly and are committed to keeping you informed on the measures taken by NC courts to slow the spread of the novel virus and protect the public. Manning Law continues to represent our clients during this situation and help you navigate any changes to court operations. 

Learn below about how the judicial system is responding and how your case could be affected by COVID-19. 

Court Schedule & Closings

As an essential government function, North Carolina’s courts are exempt from Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 121, also referred to as the “stay-at-home order.” 

The courts are taking extra precautions to maintain social distancing requirements and severely limit trips to local courts to help slow community transmission of COVID-19 for the public and employees. Those who have likely been exposed to COVID-19 and have business before the courts may not enter the courthouse and are required to contact the clerk of superior court’s office for additional directions. 

As of now, courthouses and many courts, including the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, are operating as normal. However, the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts has reported 13 counties to change business hours, court sessions, offices, courthouses and alternate filing locations. For the complete list, visit https://www.nccourts.gov/closings.

If you have any questions regarding the courthouse schedule or a court session, we advise you to contact an attorney, like Manning Law, to learn the latest information.

NC Supreme Court Orders

In light of the COVID-19 situation, North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has issued multiple emergency steps and orders since March 13 in an effort to curb court operations and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Read the latest updates below to learn how these orders might impact your case:

Courtroom Operations & Social Distancing Measures

  • Clerks of court post notices at court facilities discouraging entry by those infected with COVID-19
  • Court proceedings may be conducted by remote audio and video transmissions
  • Attorneys and others without business before the court directed to avoid court facilities
  • A sworn statement under penalty of perjury is permissible rather than notarization for court filings and oaths
  • Court documents may be served by email

Court Payments & Deadlines

  • Court proceedings (including criminal trials) are postponed until June 1, 2020
  • Deadlines for payment for court debts in traffic and criminal cases have been extended for 90 days, and failures to pay will not be reported to the DMV
  • Licenses will not be suspended until this emergency passes
  • Deadline to file documents due March 16 to June 1 will be deemed timely if received before the close of business on June 1, 2020, and any actions required to be done during that time can also be postponed until that date
  • Pending bail bond forfeiture proceedings to be stayed

To read all emergency steps and orders from the Judicial Branch, please visit https://www.nccourts.gov/covid-19-coronavirus-updates.

Early Release for Some NC Inmates

According to the Charlotte Observer, in an effort to reduce the prison population and stem the spread of COVID-19, state prison officials have begun releasing certain inmates early. These inmates must be:

  • Nonviolent
  • Already scheduled to be released in 2020
  • Considered high-risk for COVID-19 complications

So far, the Department of Public Safety has released six inmates under these new criteria and is considering around 500 more. If you would like to speak to an attorney, contact Manning Law to learn how we can help.

Experienced Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorneys

We are here for you during these uncertain times. From traffic violations to severe federal crimes, the experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorneys at Manning Law can help you navigate the evolving court system amid COVID-19. Contact us today so we can get started on your case immediately.

Taylor Manning
The content on this page was reviewed by Manning Law Firm, PLLC partner Taylor Manning. You can learn more about Taylor's experience and expertise on his bio page.