Inclement weather in the Carolinas can make for anxious times. It’s more than just black ice and downed trees. If you have court appearance coming up, wondering what to do can be a problem.
If you have criminal charges pending or a scheduled court appearance date for DWI charges in Charlotte, failure to appear as directed can result in the issuance of an Order for Arrest or “OFA.”
The Clerk of Court may also record a Failure to Appear (FTA) that if reported back to NC DMV can result in problems with your driver’s license in North Carolina.
If you are a client and have questions about whether court is closed or when you can get your case continued, call us. Helping people navigate the legal system is an important part of what we do as criminal defense lawyers – Bill Powers
You may find the office Charlotte-Mecklenburg Court Closing Policy (inclement weather Order) here.
The local Court Closing rule recommends you call the Mecklenburg County Emergency Announcement Line at 704-686-0289
We tend to follow the school system in Charlotte relative to court closures, but that is not absolute.
If criminal court is officially closed, matters before the court are ordinarily “continued by the Court.”
Lawyers who handle criminal charges in Charlotte
During times of foul weather, our team of defense lawyers at Powers Law Firm PA are inundated with panicked calls, emails, and texts asking, “Is court closed?”
Frankly, we want to know probably as much as you do.
That’s because we are often required to appear in more than one jurisdiction on a daily basis.
Each Judicial District handles court closures differently, pursuant to local rules and obviously the type of weather conditions at issue.
The weather can vary from one side of Mecklenburg County to another. South Charlotte may be clear while Huntersville is buried in snow – Bill Powers, Charlotte Criminal Defense
As such, making the call whether to close court for the day can be a difficult decision for local judicial officials.
The 26th Judicial District (which includes Charlotte, Huntersville, Pineville, Matthews, etc.) has gotten so big, there can’t be a phone-tree like some smaller districts in Stanly County (Albemarle Court House) or even in Statesville and Mooresville in Iredell County.
Charlotte Court Closing Policy
Fortunately, we have a written policy in Charlotte (the 26th Judicial District – Mecklenburg County Courthouse) that sets forth when court is closed or open. For years there has been a general assumption that, “Court is closed when CMS is closed.”
That is NO LONGER THE RULE. Court may be open in Charlotte, even if the schools in Mecklenburg County are closed.
Indeed, some mandatory courts may be open (Courtroom 1150 for Bond Hearings and Probable Cause Hearings), while certain trial courts may be closed, thus limiting the need for Clerks of Court, Deputies, and courtroom personnel.
The Administrative Office of the Courts or NCCOURTS.gov also posts online certain judicial districts Court Closings. To be frank, we generally do not rely upon the statewide website given the consequences for missing court and some Judicial Districts choose not to update court closure information via that outlet.
Visit the NC Court Closings site here.
What happens if I miss court?
If your matter is a “non-waivable” offense, you are technically required to be there. Failure to Appear may result in an OFA – Order for Arrest and possibly forfeiture of bond related to an FTA Failure to Appear.
This is an area where legal representation by an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help.
We do what we can to appear on behalf of clients and explain to the Court why they can’t be there. We also want to avoid issuance of a warrant if possible – Bill Powers, Defense Attorney
Not every case will automatically result in a Warrant for Arrest or OFA. There are some types of cases, normally more minor traffic tickets that may result only in a 20-Day Failure to Appear.
Thereafter, failure to timely remedy the FTA may result in a 120-Day Failure and suspension of your driver’s license by NC DMV. The key to all this is this there is no one set rule or protocol that fits in every type of case in every circumstance.
For example, some jurisdictions have a more relaxed way of handling missed court appearances. They may automatically continue cases to another date, thus avoiding an Order for Arrest or Failure to Appear.
Do NOT assume that will happen in your case. If you’re represented by legal counsel, make sure they have accurate contact information.
At the Powers Law Firm PA, we want to make sure you have provided our defense lawyers your correct cell phone number and email address.
That way we can send important updates and information about upcoming court appearances.
You may reach our office at (704)-342-4357 or Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.com
Contact Information for Charlotte-Metro Courts
- Gaston County Courthouse – Gastonia NC
- Union County Courthouse – Monroe NC
- Iredell County Courthouse – Statesville NC
Call Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Powers Law Firm PA
We help people with a wide range of different legal matters in both North Carolina and South Carolina. That includes legal representation for things like DWI charges in North Carolina, DUI in South Carolina, both felony and misdemeanor charges, and traffic tickets.
Attorney Bill Powers is licensed in North Carolina and practices only in North Carolina. Attorney Chris Beddow is licensed in both South Carolina and North Carolina. Contact Chris Beddow at Chris@CarolinaAttorneys.com