|Preamble||Article I||Article II||Article III||Article IV|
|Article V||Article VI||Article VII||Article VIII||Article IX|
|Article X||Article XI||Article XII||Article XIII||Article XIV|
We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution.
That the great, general, and essential principles of liberty and free
government may be recognized and established, and that the relations of this
State to the Union and government of the United States and those of the people
of this State to the rest of the American people may be defined and affirmed, we
do declare that:
Section 1. The equality and rights of persons.
We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these
are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the
pursuit of happiness.
Sec. 2. Sovereignty of the people.
All political power is vested in and derived from the people; all government
of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is
instituted solely for the good of the whole.
Sec. 3. Internal government of the State.
The people of this State have the inherent, sole, and exclusive right of
regulating the internal government and police thereof, and of altering or
abolishing their Constitution and form of government whenever it may be
necessary to their safety and happiness; but every such right shall be exercised
in pursuance of law and consistently with the Constitution of the United States.
Sec. 4. Secession prohibited.
This State shall ever remain a member of the American Union; the people
thereof are part of the American nation; there is no right on the part of this
State to secede; and all attempts, from whatever source or upon whatever
pretext, to dissolve this Union or to sever this Nation, shall be resisted with
the whole power of the State.
Sec. 5. Allegiance to the United States.
Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and
government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in
contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.
Sec. 6. Separation of powers.
The legislative, executive, and supreme judicial powers of the State
government shall be forever separate and distinct from each other.
Sec. 7. Suspending laws.
All power of suspending laws or the execution of laws by any authority,
without the consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their
rights and shall not be exercised.
Sec. 8. Representation and taxation.
The people of this State shall not be taxed or made subject to the payment of
any impost or duty without the consent of themselves or their representatives in
the General Assembly, freely given.
Sec. 9. Frequent elections.
For redress of grievances and for amending and strengthening the laws,
elections shall be often held.
Sec. 10. Free elections.
All elections shall be free.
Sec. 11. Property qualifications.
As political rights and privileges are not dependent upon or modified by
property, no property qualification shall affect the right to vote or hold
Sec. 12. Right of assembly and petition.
The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common
good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly
for redress of grievances; but secret political societies are dangerous to the
liberties of a free people and shall not be tolerated.
Sec. 13. Religious liberty.
All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God
according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority
shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of
Sec. 14. Freedom of speech and press.
Freedom of speech and of the press are two of the great bulwarks of liberty
and therefore shall never be restrained, but every person shall be held
responsible for their abuse.
Sec. 15. Education.
The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of
the State to guard and maintain that right.
Sec. 16. Ex post facto laws.
Retrospective laws, punishing acts committed before the existence of such
laws and by them only declared criminal, are oppressive, unjust, and
incompatible with liberty, and therefore no ex post facto law shall be enacted.
No law taxing retrospectively sales, purchases, or other acts previously done
shall be enacted.
Sec. 17. Slavery and involuntary servitude.
Slavery is forever prohibited. Involuntary servitude, except as a punishment
for crime whereof the parties have been adjudged guilty, is forever
Sec. 18. Court shall be open.
All courts shall be open; every person for an injury done him in his lands,
goods, person, or reputation shall have remedy by due course of law; and right
and justice shall be administered without favor, denial, or delay.
Sec. 19. Law of the land; equal protection of the laws.
No person shall be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold,
liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner deprived of
his life, liberty, or property, but by the law of the land. No person shall be
denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be subjected to
discrimination by the State because of race, color, religion, or national
Sec. 20. General warrants.
General warrants, whereby any officer or other person may be commanded to
search suspected places without evidence of the act committed, or to seize any
person or persons not named, whose offense is not particularly described and
supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty and shall not be granted.
Sec. 21. Inquiry into restraints on liberty.
Every person restrained of his liberty is entitled to a remedy to inquire
into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the restraint if unlawful, and that
remedy shall not be denied or delayed. The privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus shall not be suspended.
Sec. 22. Modes of prosecution.
Except in misdemeanor cases initiated in the District Court Division, no
person shall be put to answer any criminal charge but by indictment,
presentment, or impeachment. But any person, when represented by counsel, may,
under such regulations as the General Assembly shall prescribe, waive indictment
in noncapital cases.
Sec. 23. Rights of accused.
In all criminal prosecutions, every person charged with crime has the right
to be informed of the accusation and to confront the accusers and witnesses with
other testimony, and to have counsel for defense, and not be compelled to give
self-incriminating evidence, or to pay costs, jail fees, or necessary witness
fees of the defense, unless found guilty.
Sec. 24. Right of jury trial in criminal cases.
No person shall be convicted of any crime but by the unanimous verdict of a
jury in open court. The General Assembly may, however, provide for other means
of trial for misdemeanors, with the right of appeal for trial de novo.
Sec. 25. Right of jury trial in civil cases.
In all controversies at law respecting property, the ancient mode of trial by
jury is one of the best securities of the rights of the people, and shall remain
sacred and inviolable.
Sec. 26. Jury service.
No person shall be excluded from jury service on account of sex, race, color,
religion, or national origin.
Sec. 27. Bail, fines, and punishments.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel
or unusual punishments inflicted.
Sec. 28. Imprisonment for debt.
There shall be no imprisonment for debt in this State, except in cases of
Sec. 29. Treason against the State.
Treason against the State shall consist only of levying war against it or
adhering to its enemies by giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be
convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt
act, or on confession in open court. No conviction of treason or attainder shall
work corruption of blood or forfeiture.
Sec. 30. Militia and the right to bear arms.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the
right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and, as
standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be
maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and
governed by, the civil power. Nothing herein shall justify the practice of
carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal
statutes against that practice.
Sec. 31. Quartering of soldiers.
No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the
consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.
Sec. 32. Exclusive emoluments.
No person or set of persons is entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments
or privileges from the community but in consideration of public services.
Sec. 33. Hereditary emoluments and honors.
No hereditary emoluments, privileges, or honors shall be granted or conferred
in this State.
Sec. 34. Perpetuities and monopolies.
Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free state and
shall not be allowed.
Sec. 35. Recurrence to fundamental principles.
A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to
preserve the blessings of liberty.
Sec. 36. Other rights of the people.
The enumeration of rights in this Article shall not be construed to impair or
deny others retained by the people.
Sec. 37. Rights of victims of crime.
(1) Basic rights. Victims of crime, as prescribed by law, shall be entitled to the following basic rights:
(a) The right as prescribed by law to be informed of and to be present at court proceedings of the accused.
(b) The right to be heard at sentencing of the accused in a manner prescribed by law, and at other times as prescribed by law or deemed appropriate by the court.
(c) The right as prescribed by law to receive restitution.
(d) The right as prescribed by law to be given information about the crime, how the criminal justice system works, the rights of victims, and the availability of services for victims.
(e) The right as prescribed by law to receive information about the conviction or final disposition and sentence of the accused.
(f) The right as prescribed by law to receive notification of escape, release, proposed parole or pardon of the accused, or notice of a reprieve or commutation of the accused's sentence.
(g) The right as prescribed by law to present their views and concerns to the Governor or agency considering any action that could result in the release of the accused, prior to such action becoming effective.
(h) The right as prescribed by law to confer with the prosecution.
(2) No money damages; other enforcement. Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating a claim for money damages against the State, a county, a municipality, or any of the agencies, instrumentalities, or employees thereof. The General Assembly may provide for other remedies to ensure adequate enforcement of this section.
(3) No ground for relief in criminal case. The failure or inability of any
person to provide a right or service provided under this section may not be used
by a defendant in a criminal case, an inmate, or any other accused as a ground
for relief in any trial, appeal, postconviction litigation, habeas corpus, civil
action, or any similar criminal or civil proceeding. (1995, c. 438, s. 1.)