Attorney General of North Carolina
|North Carolina Attorney General|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013 FY Budget:||$119,395,956|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||North Carolina Constitution, Article III, Section 7|
|Next election:||November 8. 2016|
|Last election:||November 6, 2012|
|Other North Carolina Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Superintendent of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Commissioner • Labor Commissioner • Public Service Commission|
(1) Officers. A Secretary of State, an Auditor, a Treasurer, a Superintendent of Public Instruction, an Attorney General, a Commissioner of Agriculture, a Commissioner of Labor, and a Commissioner of Insurance shall be elected by the qualified voters of the State in 1972 and every four years thereafter, at the same time and places as members of the General Assembly are elected. Their term of office shall be four years and shall commence on the first day of January next after their election and continue until their successors are elected and qualified. ...
Article III, Section 7 also outlines the qualifications for the attorney general:
|... (7) Special Qualifications for Attorney General. Only persons duly authorized to practice law in the courts of this State shall be eligible for appointment or election as Attorney General.|
- must be authorized to practice law in North Carolina
Article III, Section 7 addresses vacancies in the office of attorney general. In the event of a vacancy, the governor appoints a successor who will serve until a new officeholder is elected. The election coincides with the first election for members of the General Assembly that occurs more than 60 days after the seat becomes vacant.
The attorney general, in addition, to serving as the state's chief legal advisor, heads the Department of Justice. The duties and responsibilities of office are dictated by the state constitution and state statutes:
- represent the state and its officials, departments, agencies, and commissions in all civil matters
- provide legal opinions, when requested by the general assembly, governor or other state official
- assist judges, district attorneys, magistrates, and municipal and county attorneys
- handle criminal appeals from state trial courts
The office of the attorney general does not:
- prosecute specific crimes (unless requested by the local district attorney)
- have jurisdiction over local district attorneys, law enforcement agencies and personnel, or courts
- provide legal counsel to individuals or private organizations 
The attorney general in North Carolina is popularly elected every four years, in presidential election years. The attorney general, barring any vacancies, will be elected in 2012, 2016, and 2020. The term of office is four years, and begins on the first day of January next after their election.
To view the electoral history dating back to 2000 for the office of North Carolina Attorney General, Click [show] to expand the section.
The North Carolina Department of Justice, with the attorney general at its helm, provides legal representation to state agencies, assists local law enforcement, provides training and standards, and protects North Carolina consumers. There are a number of divisions within the agency that allow it to fulfill these duties:
- The State Bureau of Investigation assists local law enforcement agencies with criminal investigations. The division has statewide jurisdiction, but only gets involved in cases involving homocides, robberies, property crimes, and other serious crimes at the request of the local police department. The division maintains original jurisdiction in certain areas: drug and arson violations, election law violations, child sexual abuse in day care centers, theft/misuse of state property, and computer crimes that involve crimes against children.
- The North Carolina Justice Academy trains criminal justice personnel and offers technical assistance to state agencies. The division publishes and distributes training materials and develops appropriate coursework. Focus areas for training include information on how to detect and identify: elder abuse, identity theft, illegal drugs, hazardous materials, and bombs. The staff also advises law enforcement officers on the proper handling of electronic evidence, and keeps all personnel apprised of changes in operating procedures.
- The Sheriffs' Standards Training Commission oversees the training and certification of all deputy sheriffs, detention offices and telecommunicators, and ensure the training materials are accurate and up-to-date.
- The Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission establishes and enforces the minimum employment, training, and retention standards for the state's criminal justice officers. The commission is dedicated to ensuring all officers are both competent and ethical in every aspect of their jobs.
- The Consumer Protection Division handles all reports of consumer fraud and scams, investigating all complaints and prosecuting cases when the interest of all North Carolina consumers is at stake.
- The Victims and Citizens Services Section manages several services that are aimed at protecting crime victims. The division's address confidentiality program helps victims keep their address from abusers, and the victims and citizens services works to make sure restitution is paid if it is owed. The office also handles reports of elder abuse in nursing homes and other facilities that receive Medicaid funds.
- The Private Protective Services Board licenses and monitors people, firms, associations, and corporations who provide private protective services. The division performs background investigations, registers employees of licensed companies, investigates public complaints, audits entities for compliance, and enforces relevant laws and regulations.
- The Alarm Systems Licensing Board is similar to the private protective services board, but the purview of this board includes entities in the alarm systems business. The duties of the two offices are essentially identical within their respective areas: performing background investigating, registering employees of licensed companies, investigating public complaints, auditing entities for compliance, and enforcing relevant laws and regulations.
The budget for the Department of Justice in Fiscal Year 2013 was $119,395,956.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
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Contact InformationAttorney General’s Office
9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
Phone: (919) 716-6400
Fax: (919) 716-6750
- Office of the North Carolina Attorney General
- About the office of the North Carolina Attorney General
- North Carolina Department of Justice, "Attorney Ray Cooper: Biography," May 16, 2011
- NC Department of Justice, "Duties and responsibilities of the attorney general," Accessed July 5, 2011
- North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management, "2011-2013 Post Legislative Budget Summary," accessed April 13, 2013
- The Council of State Governments,"The Book of States 2010 Table 4.11," retrieved April 23, 2011