Like North Carolina Misdemeanors, North Carolina Felonies almost always begin in District Court. Here, most felonies are resolved either through the dismissal of charges, a diversion program, or a plea deal. Normally, the case is continued several times in district court while the Prosecutor gathers evidence and negotiates with the Defense Attorney on what options the Prosecutor is willing to offer; normally a deferral program or plea deal. If agreement cannot be reached, the case will be moved to Superior court.
A North Carolina Felony can reach Superior court if the Prosecutor indicts the Defendant. An indictment is where the State brings in a Grand Jury to hear evidence on the case. The Grand Jury will deliberate and if they find enough evidence to indict the Defendant, they return what is called a True Bill of Indictment.
At Superior Court, the Prosecutor will likely make additional attempts to plead out the case. If no agreement can be reached between the Prosecutor and the Defendant, then the case will go to trial. In Superior Court, the case is almost always heard in front of a jury (unless both sides agree to a bench trial). The jury will be used to make a determination of whether the Defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury finds the Defendant guilty, the Judge will issue the sentence (punishment).