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Scope & Impact

Understanding the size, reach & outcomes of our criminal justice system 

Nearly 90% of all charges in North Carolina are misdemeanors—and 75% of those are for non-violent, motor vehicle offenses, like speeding, expired registration, revoked license, even tinted windows. 

Misdemeanors, however, can lead to life-changing barriers. Missed court dates and inability to pay bail can land people in jail or result in criminal records—making it harder to get a job, pursue education, serve in the military, or find housing. And these consequences hit minority groups hardest.   

Read our research, explore our projects, and use our model tools—we’re here to help.

82% of 2021 NC criminal charges were for non-violent misdemeanors.
The five most commonly charges offenses are misdemeanors. 1 Speeding, 2 Expired registration card/tag, 3 Driving while license revoked, non-impaired revocation, 4 No operator's license, 5 Operate vehicle no insurance.
Black people make up 22.1% of the general population but 40% of all criminal charges.

Explore our Measuring Justice Dashboard to uncover patterns, evaluate your county, and drill down on specific areas.


Start out strong

The first step in any effort: understand the problem. Our legal and empirical research helps unpack the system’s complexities. Our work organizes data, pinpoints opportunities, and summarizes end results—because the more you know about an issue, the more effectively you can solve it.

How Do North Carolina Criminal Charges Get Resolved?
Briefing Paper
What Do We Know About Violent Crime Trends in North Carolina?
Criminal Code Recodification for North Carolina


Pilot projects

Find what’s working

Right now in North Carolina, we’re helping stakeholders—including law enforcement leaders, court officials, county leaders, and others—develop and implement effective reforms. Our work informs policy choices, helping stakeholders innovate solutions and evaluate outcomes. Explore these projects to see what’s possible.

Alternative Responder Programs


Ready-to-Use Roadmaps

Get up and running

Our legal and evidence-based tools—forms, flowcharts, templates, implementation plans, and more—help you tailor your approach to your community. Whether you need a single court appearance tool or a comprehensive model bail policy, we have the roadmaps to support you.

Explore the scope & impact toolbox

Find what you need—or discover new pathways—by drawing from our extensive collection of reports, projects, research, data dashboards, and much more.

“The more information we have to analyze the processes we use and the results we achieve, the better we can perform our duty.  . . .  We must continually evaluate how we can improve the job we’re doing. The Lab helps us do that.”