Four Oaks, North Carolina

Four Oaks, North Carolina is a town of 1,424 residents (U.S. Census 2000) in southern Johnston County, approximately 45 minutes southeast of Raleigh.

Four Oaks was named for an oak tree that had four trunks growing out of one base. The town was developed as supply depot for construction materials as the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad was being built. The oak tree was used as a landmark, as suppliers easily recognized it. Four Oaks, NC is a small town with a total area of just 1.1 square miles. The town is on Interstate 95 and U.S. 301, exactly halfway between New York City and Miami.

Throughout the year, Four Oaks hosts a variety of festivals and events, including seasonal celebrations such as Oaktober Fest and the Tree Lighting & Christmas Parade. Oaktober Fest is a daylong festival featuring an antique tractor show, a Classic Car Show, and farm heritage displays and demonstrations. The festivities end with an Antique Auction at Four Oaks Auction Company.

Four Oaks is also the site of the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site, the scene of the last major Confederate offensive of the Civil War. Anniversary re-enactments of the Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, are held each year. In addition, the Harper House, a field hospital during the Civil War, still stands today and is open to the public as an example of a functioning Civil War field hospital.

The Four Oaks Police Department provides law enforcement services. According to DrinkingAndDriving.Org, 79 people per 10,000 are arrested for DUI in Johnston County, NC annually. The non-profit organization gave Johnston County a “D” grade for the number of drunk driving citations given annually. Grades are based on the average yearly number of DUI arrests per 10,000 people, with an “A” grade representing 0-22 DUI arrests per 10,000 people each year. In calculating DWI fines and penalties in the State of North Carolina, many variables, including grossly aggravating, aggravating, and mitigating factors, determine what punishment a driver will receive if arrested and convicted of a DWI, as reported by the University of North Carolina paper called “DWI Sentencing In District Court.”

In Four Oaks, North Carolina, you'll find two trial courts that hear criminal cases: the Superior Court and District Court. Four Oaks utilizes the Johnston County Courthouse, located at 207 East Johnston Street in Smithfield. If you’re confused about the terms you hear in court, you may find this listing of criminal law terms helpful.

The State Superior Court is divided into eight divisions and 46 districts. This trial court hears felony criminal cases, as well as misdemeanor and infraction appeals from District Court. The Superior Court hears civil cases where more than $10,000 is in controversy. North Carolina District Courts are divided into four categories: civil, criminal, juvenile, and magistrate. Like the Superior Court, the District Court sits in the county seat. Civil cases involving less than $10,000 are heard in District Court, as are divorce, custody, and child support matters. The District Court also hears criminal matters involving misdemeanors, infractions without a jury and juvenile cases. A magistrate system is used to take guilty pleas in minor misdemeanors and traffic violations.

The Court of Appeals in Raleigh is NC's only intermediate appellate court. Fifteen judges sit in rotating panels of three, deciding questions of law on every case appealed from the Superior and District courts with the exception of death penalty cases. Appeals can range from a parking ticket case to a murder case. Cases where there is a dissent in the Court of Appeals go to the Supreme Court, as do those that the Supreme Court accepts for review through petition. Court of Appeals judges serve eight-year terms.

The Supreme Court of North Carolina, located in Raleigh, is the state's highest court and there is no further appeal in the state from its decisions. This court has a chief justice and six associate justices who sit together as a panel. The Supreme Court has no jury and makes no determination of fact; rather, it considers error in legal procedures or in judicial interpretation of the law.