15A-304. Warrant for arrest.

(a) Definition. - A warrant for arrest consists of a statement of the crime of which the person to be arrested is accused, and an order directing that the person so accused be arrested and held to answer to the charges made against him. It is based upon a showing of probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.

(b) When Issued. -

(1) A warrant for arrest may be issued, instead of or subsequent to a criminal summons, when it appears to the judicial official that the person named should be taken into custody.

(2) Upon a finding of probable cause pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, the issuing official shall issue a criminal summons instead of a warrant, unless the official finds that the accused should be taken into custody. Circumstances to be considered in determining whether the accused should be taken into custody may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

a. The accused has a history of failure to appear before the court as required, or there is other evidence that the person is unlikely to appear in response to a summons for the current proceeding.

b. There is evidence that the accused is likely to escape or otherwise flee the State in order to avoid prosecution for the offense alleged.

c. There is evidence of imminent danger of harm to persons or property if the accused is not taken into custody.

d. The location of the accused is not readily discoverable, such that a criminal summons would be unlikely to be served before any court date assigned at the time of issue.

e. A relevant statute provides that arrest is mandatory for an offense charged.

f. The seriousness of the offense. However, the fact that the offense charged is a felony shall not, by itself, constitute grounds for the issuance of a warrant.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, an official shall only find probable cause based solely on information provided by a person who is not a sworn law enforcement officer if the information is provided by written affidavit. If the finding of probable cause pursuant to subsection (d) of this section is based solely upon the written affidavit of a person who is not a sworn law enforcement officer, the issuing official shall not issue a warrant for arrest and instead shall issue a criminal summons, unless one of the following circumstances exists:

a. There is corroborating testimony of the facts establishing probable cause from a sworn law enforcement officer or at least one disinterested witness.

b. The official finds that obtaining investigation of the alleged offense by a law enforcement agency would constitute a substantial burden for the complainant.

c. The official finds substantial evidence of one or more of the grounds listed in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(c) Statement of the Crime. - The warrant must contain a statement of the crime of which the person to be arrested is accused. No warrant for arrest, nor any arrest made pursuant thereto, is invalid because of any technicality of pleading if the statement is sufficient to identify the crime.

(d) Showing of Probable Cause. - A judicial official may issue a warrant for arrest only when he is supplied with sufficient information, supported by oath or affirmation, to make an independent judgment that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person to be arrested committed it. The information must be shown by one or more of the following:

(1) Affidavit;

(2) Oral testimony under oath or affirmation before the issuing official; or

(3) Oral testimony under oath or affirmation presented by a sworn law enforcement officer to the issuing official by means of an audio and video transmission in which both parties can see and hear each other. Prior to the use of audio and video transmission pursuant to this subdivision, the procedures and type of equipment for audio and video transmission shall be submitted to the Administrative Office of the Courts by the senior regular resident superior court judge and the chief district court judge for a judicial district or set of districts and approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

If the information is insufficient to show probable cause, the warrant may not be issued. A judicial official shall not refuse to issue a warrant for the arrest of a person solely because a prior warrant has been issued for the arrest of another person involved in the same matter.

(e) Order for Arrest. - The order for arrest must direct that a law-enforcement officer take the defendant into custody and bring him without unnecessary delay before a judicial official to answer to the charges made against him.

(f) Who May Issue. - A warrant for arrest, valid throughout the State, may be issued by:

(1) A Justice of the Supreme Court.

(2) A judge of the Court of Appeals.

(3) A judge of the superior court.

(4) A judge of the district court, as provided in G.S. 7A-291.

(5) A clerk, as provided in G.S. 7A-180 and 7A-181.

(6) A magistrate, as provided in G.S. 7A-273. (1868-9, c. 178, subch. 3, ss. 1-3; Code, ss. 1132-1134; 1901, c. 668; Rev., ss. 3156-3158; C.S., ss. 4522-4524; 1955, c. 332; 1969, c. 44, s. 27; c. 1062, s. 1; 1973, c. 1286, s. 1; 1997-268, s. 2; 2004-186, s. 15.1; 2017-176, s. 5(a).)