North Carolina’s First Appearance Process Amended for Second Time in this Legislative Session

In this earlier blog post, I discussed changes made to North Carolina’s first appearance process, to be effective for criminal processes served on or after December 1, 2021. Additional amendments have been made in new legislation.

In Session Law 2021-182 (S183), Section 2.5.(a) revised G.S. 15A-601 as previously amended by S.L. 2021-138.

Defendants charged with misdemeanors and in custody to get first appearance

This amendment does not affect a significant change made by S.L. 2021-138–the expansion of first appearance to include defendants charged with misdemeanors who are in custody. Under current law, only criminal defendants with felony charges are required to get first appearance.

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