By Bill Powers, Co-Author of the North Carolina DWI Quick Reference Guide and Articles Contributor to Teddy’s North Carolina DWI Trial Notebook
The NC DWI laws are the same in Charlotte NC (Mecklenburg County) as they are on the coast in Wilmington, NC (New Hanover County). How Charlotte DWI charges are handled by DWI defense attorneys, as a procedural matter, is different than other jurisdictions.
In large measure that’s due to the size of the 26th Judicial District, which includes the City of Charlotte, all of Mecklenburg County, Matthews, North Carolina, Pineville NC, Huntersville NC, and Davidson NC. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) is one the largest law-enforcement agencies in the state of North Carolina, with approximately 1,500 police officers on the force.
With an estimated population of 1,076,837 and explosive growth in Mecklenburg County by almost 6.5% in 2017, one would reasonably expect to see increases in the numbers of arrests and criminal charges, for felony or misdemeanor charges, DWI driving while impaired, and other NC traffic laws matters.
It’s not that the crime rate in Mecklenburg is greater than other judicial districts like Iredell County, Gaston County NC, Union County in Monroe, North Carolina, or Rowan County NC.
With literally more than one million people living in what many still might call a “sleepy Southern city,” there will be an ever-increasing number of allegations of criminal charges for assault, assault and battery, drug crimes, and “drunk driving” or “drunken driving” (Charlotte DWI charges).
Even with mass transit, like the Charlotte Light Rail System, the Charlotte Trolley, UBER and Lyft, people still drive after consuming alcohol and occasionally drive while impaired, subject to the effects of alcohol and other legal (and illegal drugs) substances.
The Carolina DUI / DWI Lawyer s at our firm have travel extensively throughout North Carolina, helping people with impaired driving charges.
“I’ve personally handled NC DWI jury trials as far west as Murphy, North Carolina in Cherokee County and out east in New Bern in Craven County. If people are in trouble with DWI in North Carolina, we’re here to help.” Bill Powers, NBTA Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer.
The court system in Charlotte NC enjoys the benefit of some special, administrative-type court processes that are not always available in smaller districts.
Given the number of charges for violations on the NC Criminal Laws, the NC DWI Laws, and the NC Traffic Laws, Mecklenburg County has established courtrooms to handle administrative matters such as addressing legal counsel, the appointment of a public defender, explaining the legal system, and handling traffic tickets.
To call Courtroom 1130 a “Traffic Court” would be a mistake, because there are many other types of criminal charges that pass through the courtroom including misdemeanor drug crimes, possession charges, misdemeanor assault and allegations of assault and battery, DWLR driving while license revoked, or license suspended.
Courtroom 1130 may be the “first appearance” court for Charlotte DWI charges and other impaired driving offenses that take place in Mecklenburg County. One distinguishing feature of Courtroom 1130 is that the people accused of crimes are out of jail. . .that is unless they have outstanding Warrants for Arrest or an Order for Arrest (OFA in North Carolina), appear and are taken into custody by Deputies working in Courtroom 1130.
Another somewhat distinguishing factor about Courtroom 1130 is the line out the door. The DIY approach to trying to handle speeding tickets, inspection violations, tag issues, and other more minor NC traffic law violations, means a fair number of pro se (for himself or for herself) defendants appear in Courtroom 1130.
Given the tens of thousands of Uniform Citations issued in Mecklenburg County by the NC State Highway Patrol (NCSHP), CMPD Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the Pineville Police Department, the Matthews Police Department, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department and every other law enforcement agency that serves the Judicial district, Courtroom 1130 is often a busy place.
While the District Attorney’s Office staffs Courtroom 1130 with one or more prosecutors for public matters (people not represented by defense lawyers), matters tend to be disposed of on a first-come-first-serve basis….and that can take time.
Under the NC criminal laws (and NC traffic laws), you may serve as your own attorney.
Whether that is an efficient use of your time, and whether that always results in a favorable disposition, is another matter. Just because you can handle criminal charges or a traffic citation by yourself, without the assistance of an experienced defense lawyer, that doesn’t mean you should.
“Our law firm provides a free case evaluation for traffic tickets, Charlotte DWI charges, and misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. While we believe people are generally better served by retaining legal representation for complex legal matters, we have no problem with answering questions and giving guidance. If we think you can, and should, handle a minor Charlotte traffic ticket, we’ll let you know that.” Bill Powers, Criminal Defense Lawyer Charlotte NCWhat Is Courtroom 1150 in Charlotte, North Carolina in Mecklenburg County?
Like Courtroom 1130 in Charlotte, Courtroom 1150 also serves a wide range of criminal charges, including allegations of felony charges for Drug Crimes, Felony Assaults, Robbery, Murder, Sex Offenses, and NC Manslaughter Charges (among other things).
While there may be misdemeanor criminal charges associated with cases in Courtroom 1150, they are almost always tied to a felony charge in Mecklenburg County. At the same time, out-of-state warrants, Governor’s Warrants, and Orders for Arrest in other counties may also be addressed in Courtroom 1150, as it often serves as the Bond Hearing court in Charlotte NC for defendants in custody (in jail).
Legal matters handled in Courtroom 1150 include, but are not limited to:
- First Appearance - Video Appearance - Initial Appearance
- Appointment of Legal Counsel - Waiver of Counsel
- PC Probable Cause Hearing
- Deferred Disposition – Deferred Prosecution
- Conditional Discharge – Entry into Conditional Discharge and Deferred
Courtroom 1150 in Charlotte, North Carolina is also a very busy place, given the number of felony charges and felony indictments there are in Mecklenburg County and the 26th Judicial District.Where Is the Courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina?
832 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202