Traffic Tickets - Criminal Record Checks

Traffic Tickets

Regarding traffic tickets, you are entitled to attend court or to hire an licensed attorney to represent you. While some minor traffic citations do not require a court appearance and can be paid off before your court date, doing so pleads you "guilty" to that offense as charged, and may make your insurance premiums go up, effect your future insurability, add driver's license points to your record, or may cause a suspension of your license. Driver's with multiple tickets, recent suspensions or probations, or with commercial driver's licenses (CDL) should be especially cautious. If you have questions consult with the attorney of your choice.  

The Clerk's Office cannot amend or reduce your citation. The Assistant District Attorney in the courtroom on your court date may talk with you about a possible citation reduction. The Assistant District Attorney is prohibited by NC Bar Ethics Rules from giving you any advice regarding the consequences of your ticket or any offered reduction. The Assistant District Attorney represents the State of North Carolina in the proceeding and is adverse to you. Likewise, the Judge, Clerks and other courtroom personnel are also prohibited from giving legal advice. Each person's licensing and insurance situations are different, and an error made in court while unrepresented can be a costly and unnecessary mistake.      

Some traffic citations require a court appearance and cannot be paid prior to the court date. If you fail to appear on your court date as required, your driver's license may be revoked and/or you may be arrested. If you are unsure whether you must appear in court for your case, please call the Criminal Division Phone Number: (252) 504-4444. If your personal court appearance is not required, there are three (3) ways to pay a traffic citation prior to your court date:

In person. You may plead guilty and pay your citation at the Cashier's Office of the Clerk of Court, located behind District Court No. 1 on the 1st floor of the Carteret County Courthouse Annex, no later than your court date. You must pay in cash, by certified check, or by money order; we do not accept personal checks. Please see Directions for our location. After business hours, and with the exact amount, tickets may be waived at the Magistrate's Office.

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 citation to:

Clerk of Superior Court
ATTN: Criminal Division - Traffic
300 Courthouse Square 
Beaufort, NC 28516

Online. You may pay your citation using a credit or debit card by visiting This online payment system uses a third party vendor for secure transactions. There is an additional fee for use of this system at the time of payment. 

Criminal Record Checks

Criminal records are a matter of public record and may be checked by name upon payment of the statutory fee. This fee may be confirmed here, by checking under "Miscellaneous Fees". The fee may be paid by cash, certified check or money order made payable to the Carteret County Clerk of Superior Court. No personal checks or charge cards of any kind will be accepted. This service is requested primarily by employers or landlords but can be utilized by any fee-paying member of the public.

The criminal record check you obtain from the Clerk's Office only searches criminal charges filed in Carteret County, North Carolina; it will not pick up out-of-county, out-of-state, or federal charges. Various internet sites and other entities can provide this type of search for a fee if you require this kind of service.

Please be advised of the following: the criminal records system is designed and maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts and is name-based only. The system is not based on any unique, identifiable characteristic such as fingerprints. This means no guarantee can be made as to actual identity.

For example, if the name to be searched is relatively common (i.e. "John Smith") every John Smith charged with a criminal offense in Carteret County will appear in the criminal record check. It is the responsibility of the checking party to distinguish between the various individuals by verifying dates of birth, addresses, or physical characteristics such as race and gender.

Obtaining a Criminal Record Check

There are two (2) ways to obtain a criminal record check:

In person. You may visit the Criminal Division of the Clerk's Office, located on the 1st floor of the Carteret County Courthouse. You must be able to provide the name to be checked and pay the applicable fee. 

The Criminal Record Check form is available online. It may be filled in, printed, and brought or mailed to the address below. This form is in Adobe PDF format.

By mail. You may also mail a written record check request by clearly stating you are requesting a criminal record check and providing the name to be checked, any maiden or married names, date of birth, a certified check or money order for the applicable fee, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. Mail your request to:

Clerk of Superior Court
ATTN: Criminal Division - Records
300 Courthouse Square