Frequently Asked Questions About Your Legal Case
When is my court date?
North Carolina is in a transition to an updated record system. All counties will be eventually on the new system. Right now, some counties have been coverted and some have not. As of February 6, 2024, the following counties use the new system. We have bolded the ones we have representation currently in: Beufort, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Harnett, Hyde, Johnston, Lee, Martin, Mecklenburg, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrell, Wake, and Washington. Please follow this link to search for your case and pending court dates in the new system: https://portal-nc.tylertech.cloud/Portal/. For all other counties (including, Durham, Orange, and Chatham that we have representation in), please use the following link to search for your court date in the older system: www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/calendars/CriminalQuery.html
Do I have to come to court?
Once your retain Chris, he will let you know in advance if you have to attend court. Normally, if your case is in disposition court (i.e., Wake County Courtroom 101), then you do not have to appear. Depending on the severity of your case, and if you have signed a Waiver of Appearance, most District Court cases Chris can attend for you. You will have to attend District Court for felony level cases, all Superior Court cases, and some more severe misdemeanor cases, unless Chris has specifically told you that you do not need to attend court. If you live more that 50 miles from the courthouse where your case is heard, and/or live out of the state, please discuss attendance options with Chris. Just to be clear, having to work is not an acceptable excuse for the court for you to miss a required court date. If you have COVID, then you need to provide some form of proof that you have tested positive.
What do I wear to court?
Making a good first impression on the judge can help your case. Chris advises his male clients to wear a collared shirt tucked into pants. He advises his female clients to avoid short shorts, shorts skirts, and tank tops. He also suggests that all his clients not wear sandals. The defendant’s dress is especially important if Chris is trying your case, but generally will not make a difference for quick administrative matters.
Where is the courthouse?
All criminal and traffic cases in Wake County take place at the Wake County Justice Center. It is located at 300 S. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. Wake County Civil DVPO cases are heard at the Wake County Courthouse located at 316 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC 27601. Cases for Orange County normally take place in the Orange County Courthouse located at 106 E. Margaret Ln, Hillsborough, NC 27278. Occasionally, Orange County cases are heard in the Chapel Hill Courthouse (indicated by CH in the courtroom number), which is located at 179 E Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Cases for Johnston County take place in the Johnston County Courthouse located at 207 E. Johnston St, Smithfield, NC 27577. Cases for Chatham County normally take place at the Chatham County Courthouse located at 40 E Chatham St, Pittsboro, NC 27312. Occassionally, Chatham County cases are heard in the Siler City Courthouse (indicated by DCSC) located at 311 N 2nd Ave, Siler City, NC 27344.
Where do I park?
The best place to park for the Wake County Justice Center or the Wake County Courthouse is the Wake County Parking Deck located at 216 W. Cabarrus Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. You can enter this deck either from W. Cabarrus Street or from W. Davie Street. While the area around the Wake County Justice Center also has many parking meters on the street, it is easier to park in a nearby parking deck, so you do not have to leave to put more money in the meter. All other courthouses have on-site parking.
What time should I be there?
If you retain Chris and your case is set in Wake County disposition court (Courtroom 101), Chris will appear on your half anytime between 7:45 and 3:30.
If you retain Chris, and Chris has noted you need to be in court, we will notify of you of the time and courtroom. If your case is set in Wake County District Court (Courtrooms 201 through 204 and 301 through 304), then you should be present in the courtroom at either 9:00 am or 2:00 pm depending on whether your case is set in the morning or afternoon.
If your case is set in Superior Court, then the rules for when to appear vary. If Chris has noted you need to be in court, we will notify of you of the time and courtroom. Given the importance of cases in Superior Court, please contact Chris at 919-526-7545 to ensure that you arrive in the correct location at the correct time.
Where should I go when I get to court?
You should go to the courtroom where your case is set. You can obtain this information on the court’s website approximately one week before your court date by clicking the information in in the FAQ – “When Is My Court Date” above.
You also can determine the correct courtroom by checking the scrolling screens outside of Room 1000 of the Wake County Justice Center and looking for the Defendant’s last name.
You also should text 919-526-7545 to let us know that you have arrived in court.
Will Chris be there for the calendar call?
Chris almost always has cases scheduled in multiple courtrooms each session of court, so it is impossible for him to be in every courtroom for calendar call. The court schedules everybody at the same time and tells the attorneys when to go for each case. Please wait in your assigned courtroom. If they call your name before Chris is in the courtroom, tell the judge that Christopher Detwiler is your attorney and that he will be there soon. If you have any questions or concerns, you can call 919-526-7545.
What should I say when they call my name during calendar call?
If they call your name before Chris is in the courtroom, tell the judge that Christopher Detwiler is your attorney and that he will be there soon. Although Chris’s name often is already on the file and on the docket, saying his last name informs the Assistant District Attorney that he represents you, and it ensures that no one will talk to you about anything significant until he arrives. If you have any questions or concerns, you can call 919-526-7545.
When will Chris come to the courtroom to handle my case?
Since he almost always has cases set in multiple courtrooms each session, he will have to move from one courtroom to the next as he handles his client’s cases. Some courtrooms take priority over other courtrooms, and he is therefore supposed to go to the higher priority courtrooms first. There are also many other factors that affect which courtroom’s cases he will handle first, such as who checked in with him, who is in court for the first time, which cases involve outside witnesses, which clients are in custody, and which courtroom is the busiest. He often will have judges and Assistant District Attorneys calling him to specific courtrooms to handle certain cases as well.
Overall, Chris tries to move his clients out of court as quickly as he can without undermining the results in their cases. He also understands that attending court often means missing work or school, so he tries to handle everything as efficiently as possible. If your court session is at 9 a.m., please plan on being in court the rest of the morning due to how the court schedules all cases at the same time. Occasionally, your case may be postponed until the afternoon. If your court session is scheduled for 2 p.m., please plan on staying until 5 p.m. The court prioritizes which cases are heard and what rooms the attorneys are to attend first. Chris does not have control over when he can get to your case.
Will I have to talk in court?
Chris’s clients are often nervous about having to talk in court, but generally, Chris does all the talking, which is why you hired him. There are times, however, when his clients may have to answer some simple questions, such as, “Who is your attorney?” or “Do you understand the terms of your deferral?” There also are times when his clients offering a sincere apology or explaining the situation to the judge may make a significant difference in the outcome of the case. Although you never will be required to say anything, Chris will let you know if he thinks it will help, and he will always be there to chime in at the appropriate time if needed.
How long will I have to be in court?
Morning and afternoon sessions typically last anywhere from two to four hours. Chris often resolves some cases within a matter of minutes, but it all depends on how busy he or the court is that day, and on the circumstances of your case. If your court session is at 9 a.m., please plan on being in court the rest of the morning due to how the court schedules all cases at the same time. Occasionally, your case may be postponed until the afternoon. If your court session is scheduled for 2 p.m., please plan on staying until 5 p.m. The court prioritizes which cases are heard and what rooms the attorneys are to attend first. Chris does not have control over when he can get to your case.
What is my balance?
One of our assistants will send you invoices regularly indicating how much you have paid, how much you owe, and when the next payment is due. You also will receive an electronic receipt each time you make a payment. The total fee is outlined in the Engagement Letter that you signed as well. With all this information, you should be able to check your records to determine the balance, but please feel free to call Chris or one of his assistants at 919-526-7545 for additional details.
How do I make a payment?
Normally, you will receive an invoice explaining the details of what you owe and when. That invoice will have a link on how to pay via credit or debit card. You can also pay directly via credit or debit card by clicking Make a Payment under the About Section on our website, or clicking this ink: https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/detwilerlaw/operating. Please put the client’s name in the reference field. You may mail Chris a certified or cashiers check, or money order. Additionally, you can bring cash payments to the office or to court. An updated invoice showing this payment will be sent via email within one business day.
How do I pay my court costs, fines and fees?
You can use the following links to pay the court costs, fines, and fees in your case(s).
As of February 6, 2024, some counties have been coverted to a new system and some have not. The following counties use the new system. We have bolded the ones we have representation currently in: Beufort, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Harnett, Hyde, Johnston, Lee, Martin, Mecklenburg, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrell, Wake, and Washington. Please follow this link to pay your court fees in the new system. Under search type, choose case number. Under search criteria, use your case number: https://portal-nc.tylertech.cloud/Portal/Home/Dashboard/17
For all other counties (including, Durham, Orange, and Chatham that we have representation in), please use the following link to pay your court costs in the older system: https://www3.nccourts.org/onlinepayments/menu.sp. You choose the county from the first drop down menu and input your case number.
The court’s website accepts credit and debit cards. The only information that you need is the case number for your case, which you can obtain by calling our office, checking the case details we sent you, or calling the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court at 919-792-4000. If your case is another county, please call that county’s Clerk of Superior Court office. Telephone numbers of each office can be found via this link: https://www.nccourts.gov/locations. Click on your county and then on the county page click on Contact Directory.
What is the best way to reach Chris?
Chris probably spends over ninety percent of the workday either in court or on the phone with clients. As a result, it can be difficult to reach him directly. He regrets that he cannot take every call, but the reality is that doing so would be impossible. You can call or text our office telephone number at 919-526-7545. Our main office hours are Monday – Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you call during this time, your call will be answered by our answering service and transferred to one of our assistants. If you call after normal business hours, your call will be answered by our answering service and transferred to our after hours contact. If we do not answer right away, please leave your information with our answering service and we will contact you as soon as we can.
During the day of court, you can get in touch with our office by calling or texting our office at 919-526-7545. It makes sense to communicate via text in the courthouse because emails do not always come through immediately, and if is difficult to call. When you are not in court and have questions, please contact us either via phone or text at 919-526-7545, or you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris receives a high volume of texts from his staff and clients to his personal phone, which makes it too easy for him to miss direct text messages. For important issues, call or text our office phone, or email. Our assistants will be able to see missed office calls, office texts, and emails, but they will not see Chris’s missed direct texts.
Where do I do my community service?
To complete community service for court purposes, you can complete the hours at ANY tax-exempt, non-profit (501-C organization) of your choice. Below is a link to a search engine that you can type organizations into to check and see if they are, indeed, non-profit. This link will include all non-profit organizations, not just organizations located in North Carolina. When you click on this link, it will take you to an IRS Aprpoved Non-Profit page. Once on that page, click on the Tax Exempt Organization Tool. On the next page that comes up, click Search for Tax Exempt Organizations. This will take you to a page that will allow you to search for a specific organization you want to work with or just search for all in a specific city and/ or state.
Once you complete your hours, have the organization you completed them through write a short letter on their letterhead stating your name and how many hours you completed. They can email it to email@example.com, or they can email it to you, and you can forward it to us.