What exactly is criminal district court like in North Carolina? Ultimately, it depends on the day. Some days, court is quick and quiet; other days it is chaotic and takes up the full four hour session (or longer).
When you enter the courtroom, you are expected to sit behind the bar (the short wooden wall that separates the galley from the district attorney tables, clerk’s desk, and judge’s bench). On most days, the assistant district attorney will conduct a calendar call. Before the call, he or she will give specific instructions on how to answer. Make sure you listen closely and speak loudly enough so the clerk can hear you. If you do not, you could be called and failed.
If you have an attorney, wait for your attorney to come to court. He or she will guide you through everything. If it is your first appearance, you will be read your rights and given the option to apply for a court-appointed attorney. Do note not everyone qualifies for a court-appointed attorney; it is based on your income and expenditures. If you do not have an attorney and do not qualify for one, or want to represent yourself, the assistant district attorney will talk to you about your options.
There likely will be many people who are in the courtroom for the same charge you are there for. No one is looking specifically at you. Most people are nervous about their own case and what will happen. Depending on the county and charge, you may not even have to go in front of the judge for a continuance. Sometimes, you can be in and out of the courtroom within fifteen minutes.
Do you have an upcoming date in district court in Wake or Durham County? Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Guirguis Law at (919) 832-0500 for more information. Attorneys Shane Davidson and Paige Feldmann will walk you through your options and possible outcomes. In some situations, you might not even need to appear in court — they will appear for you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free phone consultation for your misdemeanor charge.