Abbeville County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Abbeville County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Abbeville County.
Abbeville County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Abbeville County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Abbeville County. The Abbeville County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Required Court Appearances in Abbeville County
Any required court appearances in Abbeville County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Abbeville County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
What happens in Abbeville County at an arraignment?
In Abbeville County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
Sentencing in Abbeville County
In Abbeville County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Abbeville County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Abbeville County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
In a jury trial in Abbeville County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Who can help me in Abbeville County?
For general information about your case the Abbeville County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Abbeville County Criminal Court Locations
Abbeville County Circuit Court
Address: 102 Court Square, Room 103, PO Box 99, Abbeville, SC 29620
Phone: 864-366-5312 Ext. 55 Fax: 864-366-9188
Abbeville County Magistrate Court
Address: 21 Old Calhoun Falls Road, PO Box 1156, Abbeville, SC 29620
Phone: 864-446-6500 Fax: 864-446-6555
Abbeville Municipal Court
Address: 102 South Main Street, Abbeville SC 29620
Phone: 864-366-5843 Fax: 864-459-9608
Calhoun Falls Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 246, Calhoun Falls, SC 29628
Phone: 864-418-8512 Ext. 22 Fax: 864-447-8060
Due West Municipal Court
Address: 3 Main Street, PO Box 665, Due West, SC 29639
Phone: 864-379-2385 Fax: 864-379-2883