Nuisance Abatement

The Alcohol Law Enforcement Branch is authorized under Chapter 19 of the North Carolina General Statutes to investigate alleged public nuisances and make recommendations regarding actions to abate such nuisances. ALE operates a full time specialized team to investigate properties deemed to be a nuisance as defined by law. Special agents receive in-depth training in Chapter 19 enforcement, civil procedure, paralegal certification, and other corresponding legal procedures.

North Carolina law governing the abatement of nuisances provides for a civil action to effectually close a property declared to be a nuisance. Brought on behalf of the State of North Carolina, the civil action targets property used for specified illegal purposes. As defined in statute, nuisance activities include prostitution, gambling, illegal possession or sale of drugs or alcoholic beverages, and repeated acts which create a breach of the peace. The civil penalties for operating a nuisance include fines, forfeitures, perpetual restrictive covenants on property, and subsequent jail time for failing to comply with judgments.

At the request of our local law enforcement partners, ALE’s Nuisance Abatement Team special agents works with police and sheriff’s offices to spearhead these investigations to make our communities safer.

Any type of real property utilized for the purposes as defined in this law may be subject to a civil action. Local departments, with the assistance of the Nuisance Abatement Team, have successfully abated nuisances at locations including bars, illegal clubs, drug houses, boarding houses, and hotels that previously served as a hub for criminal acts that reduce the quality of life for the surrounding community.

Nuisance abatement investigations commence by a written request from the local district attorney, chief of police, or sheriff. Upon request, ALE investigates nuisance properties to determine if the location meets the criteria for a nuisance action. If such action is recommended, ALE special agents coordinate interviews, prepare affidavits, conduct property title searches, and thoroughly research law enforcement records from local departments. At the conclusion of the investigation, the attorney of record is presented with a recommendation for the appropriate remedy or civil action.