(a)        In General. – Following application made under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-262, a superior court judge may enter an ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of a pen register or a trap and trace device within the State if the judge finds:

(1)        That there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a felony offense, or a Class A1 or Class 1 misdemeanor offense has been committed;

(2)        That there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person named or described in the affidavit committed the offense, if that person is known and can be named or described; and

(3)        That the results of procedures involving pen registers or trap and trace devices will be of material aid in determining whether the person named in the affidavit committed the offense.

(b)        Contents of Order. – An order issued under this section:

(1)        Shall specify:

a.         The identity, if known, of the person to whom is leased or in whose name is listed the telephone line to which the pen register or trap and trace device is to be attached;

b.         The identity, if known, of the person who is the subject of the criminal investigation;

c.         The number and, if known, physical location of the telephone line to which the pen register or trap and trace device is to be attached and, in the case of a trap and trace device, the geographic limits of the trap and trace order; and

d.         The offense to which the information likely to be obtained by the pen register or trap and trace device relates; and

(2)        Shall direct, upon request of the applicant, the furnishing of information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to accomplish the installation of the pen register or trap and trace device under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-264.

(c)        Time Period and Extension.

(1)        An order issued under this section shall authorize the installation and use of a pen register or a trap and trace device for a period not to exceed 60 days.

(2)        An extension of an order issued under this section may be granted, but only upon an application for an order under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-262 and upon the judicial finding required by subsection (a) of this section. The period of extension shall not exceed 60 days.

(d)       Nondisclosure of Existence of Pen Register or a Trap and Trace Device. – An order authorizing or approving the installation and use of a pen register or a trap and trace device shall direct that:

(1)        The order be sealed until otherwise ordered by the judge; and

(2)        The person owning or leasing the line to which the pen register or a trap and trace device is attached, or who has been ordered by the judge to provide assistance to the applicant, not disclose the existence of the pen register or trap and trace device or the existence of the investigation to the listed subscriber, or to any person, unless otherwise ordered by the judge.

The provisions of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-903 and 15A-904 shall apply to this Article. (1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1104, s. 1; 1997-80, s. 13.)

Terms Used In North Carolina General Statutes 15A-263

  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • following: when used by way of reference to any section of a statute, shall be construed to mean the section next preceding or next following that in which such reference is made; unless when some other section is expressly designated in such reference. See North Carolina General Statutes 12-3
  • Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • Pen register: means a device which records or decodes electronic or other impulses which identify numbers dialed or otherwise transmitted on the telephone line to which such device is attached, but the term does not include any device used by a provider or customer of a wire or electronic service for billing, or recording as an incident to billing, for communication services provided by the provider or any device used by a provider or customer of a wire communication service for cost accounting or other like purposes in the ordinary course of its business, nor shall the term include any device which allows the listening or recording of communications transmitted on the telephone line to which the device is attached. See North Carolina General Statutes 15A-260
  • state: when applied to the different parts of the United States, shall be construed to extend to and include the District of Columbia and the several territories, so called; and the words "United States" shall be construed to include the said district and territories and all dependencies. See North Carolina General Statutes 12-3
  • Trap and trace device: means a device which captures the incoming electronic or other impulses which identify the originating number of an instrument or device from which a wire or electronic communication was transmitted. See North Carolina General Statutes 15A-260