The Attorney General
The Attorney General is elected by the people of North Carolina every four years as the state’s top law enforcement officer and top lawyer. Powers and duties of the Attorney General are set forth in the Constitution and Statutes of North Carolina.
The first North Carolina Constitution, written in 1776, established the Office of the Attorney General. In the early 1800s, the General Assembly created the Department of Justice as part of a government-wide reorganization.
Under the state Constitution, the attorney general must be authorized to practice law in the courts of this state.
As head of the North Carolina Department of Justice, the Attorney General provides legal representation and advice to all state government departments, agencies and commissions. The Attorney General also provides legal opinions at the request of other public officials and handles all criminal appeals from state trial courts.
When the state's public interests are at stake, the Attorney General can take legal action on behalf of North Carolina's citizens.
The Attorney General also heads the State Bureau of Investigation, which provides expert analysis of crime scene evidence and helps local law enforcement investigate crimes.
The North Carolina Justice Academy, also a part of the DOJ, provides training and technical assistance for law enforcement agencies. Commissions staffed by DOJ employees oversee law enforcement training and standards.