The Criminal & Traffic division handles a variety of tasks in both District and Superior Court.
They are responsible for the entry of cases and citations, the entry of dispositions and judgments, and the retention of records. In addition to the maintenance of records they generate all of the calendar information, produce background checks, process expunction requests, and hold administrative hearings. Their offices are located on the 1st floor of the Buncombe County Courthouse.
Traffic Citation Payments
Minor traffic citations do not require a court appearance and may simply be paid off before the court date. Paying off a citation prior to court, however, may have unintended consequences. As the reverse side of your traffic ticket will inform you, paying off a citation before court is the same as appearing in court and pleading responsible (guilty) to the original charge. This conviction may result in points being assessed against your license and your insurance premiums may also go up. Court costs of $188 for infraction cases and $190 for all other criminal charges are still assessed and must be paid in addition to the fine even if you wish not to attend your court date.
Court Dates & Continuances
If you would like to check on a criminal or traffic court date, you may call the Clerk's Office at (828) 259-3402.
The Clerk's office cannot issue continuances of court dates.
Continuances may only be issued by the District Attorney or a Judge. However, the District Attorney's and Judges' offices do not have enough staff available to handle telephone requests for continuances on a day to day basis. You may request a continuance on your court date or you may retain an attorney to request a continuance on your behalf.
What if I missed my court date?
If you have missed your court date by more than 20 days, a late fee of $200.00 will be added to the fine and costs. Additionally, the Division of Motor Vehicles will start the process to suspend your driver's license. If you have missed your court appearance for a minor traffic or misdemeanor offense you may appear on any Friday that the courthouse is open between 8:30 am and 10:30 am to speak with a District Attorney about resetting or complying your ticket. If your personal court appearance was required for a court mandatory offense and you failed to appear on your court date, the court will issue an Order for Arrest. You may be required to post a bond to insure your appearance in court at a later date. You may get more information regarding missed court dates by visiting the Criminal Division of the Clerk's Office, located on the 1st floor, Room 110, of the Buncombe County Courthouse.
Administrative Court is held the first full week of every month on the ground floor of the Buncombe County Judicial Complex in District Courtroom 1A. It is divided into two sessions one in the morning, which runs from 8:00-11:30 am, and an afternoon sessions that runs from 1:00-4:00 pm. It operates on a first come first serve basis and allows you to appear in court at your discretion on the assigned day. This court is designed for first appearance issues, to handle minor traffic and compliance offenses, and to advise defendants of their constitutional rights to representation in regards to more serious charges.
Criminal records are a matter of public record and may be checked by name upon the payment of the statutory $25.00 fee.
The criminal records system, designed and maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts, is name-based only and no guarantee can be made as to actual identity. For this reason, these record searches are more accurately described as a name inquiry check. The system is not based on identifiable characteristics such as fingerprints. Social Security Numbers are not indexed on the system; however, dates of birth, where known or reported, are reported on the system.
If a more accurate search is required, it is recommended that a law enforcement agency be used to provide a search based on fingerprints rather than name.
The name inquiry check you obtain from the Clerk's Office only searches criminal charges filed in Buncombe County, North Carolina, and will not pick up out-of-county, out-of-state, or federal charges. Some internet sites provide this type of search for a fee.
To obtain a certified name inquiry check, you may visit the Clerk's Office, located on the 1st floor of the Buncombe County Courthouse. You must be able to provide the person's name and date of birth. The $25.00 fee must be paid for and receipted in the main lobby of the Buncombe County Judicial Complex at the cashier stations prior to receiving the criminal history check.
You may mail a written request for a certified name inquiry check. To do so, please clearly state in your request that you would like a certified name inquiry check; provide the person's first and last name, and middle initial if known, along with their date of birth; a $25.00 certified check or money order made payable to the Clerk of Superior Court; and provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope, for the copy. Mail your request to:
Clerk of Superior Court
Attention: Criminal Division
60 Court Plaza
Asheville, NC 28801
How to Pay Your Citation before Court
Some traffic tickets require a court appearance and cannot be paid off prior to the court date. If you fail to appear on your court date as required, your driver's license may be revoked and you may be arrested.
Only traffic citations that do not require your personal court appearance may be paid before court. If your personal court appearance is not required, there are three ways to pay a traffic ticket PRIOR to your court date:
To pay by mail, make a certified check or money order payable to the Clerk of Superior Court for the amount shown on the front of your citation. We do not accept personal checks. Mail your payment and your citation to:
Clerk of Superior Court
Attn: Criminal and Traffic Division
60 Court Plaza
Asheville, NC 28801
To pay in person, come to the Clerk's office, located on the ground floor of the Buncombe County Judicial Complex no later than the last working day before your court date. You must pay in cash, certified check, money order, debit or credit card. We do not accept personal checks.
You may pay your citation online at onlineservices.nccourts.org with a major credit or debit card. Like our other payment options this must be done prior to the court date noted on your ticket. This service carries a nominal convenience charge in addition to the fine and cost stated on your citation.
Paying Off an Old Traffic Ticket
A driver who fails to comply with a citation or other charge may have his driver's license suspended until the matter is settled. Furthermore, if a court appearance was necessary (usually in the more serious traffic citations, such as DWI, Careless and Reckless, etc., and the defendant fails to appear, an Order for Arrest will be issued and the defendant may be arrested.
To find out if your traffic citation requires your personal court appearance, please check your copy of the traffic citation.
If your court appearance was REQUIRED and you FAILED TO APPEAR in court: An Order for Arrest has been issued and, after 20 days, DMV has been notified of your noncompliance. DMV assesses a $200.00 fee and will suspend your license. Since your court appearance was necessary and you failed to appear, you cannot take care of this ticket until the District Attorney agrees to reinstate the charges against you. To do this, you must appear in person in the Criminal Division of the Clerk's Office, located on the 1st floor, Room 110, of the Buncombe County Courthouse for more instructions. If you live in another state, you should contact an attorney practicing in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Hiring an attorney to represent you may save you the time and expense of a personal appearance in court.
If your court appearance was not necessary and you failed to appear in court or pay your fine: Contact the Criminal Division at (828) 259-3402 to find out how much you need to pay. You may simply pay the amount through the mail by certified check or money order.
Petitions for Expunction are filed and processed by the Clerk's office. Not all charges in North Carolina are eligible for expunction. Expunction requests vary based on the charge, type of disposition, and the defendants age. Some requests require additional affidavits and documentation. Fees for expunctions range from no filing fee at all to $175. While the Clerk's office can provide you with the petition they are not able to advise you on how to complete it. Petitions may be picked up on the 1st floor, Room 110, of the Buncombe County Courthouse or by accessing the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts website: www.nccourts.org/Forms/FormSearch.asp