Berkeley County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Berkeley County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Berkeley County.
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.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Arraignments in Berkeley County
During an arraignment in Berkeley County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Berkeley County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Berkeley County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Berkeley 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.
Required Court Appearances in Berkeley County
Any required court appearances in Berkeley 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.
Jury Deliberations in Berkeley County
In Berkeley County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Berkeley County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Berkeley County will take place at the Berkeley County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Berkeley County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
I need help for my Berkeley County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Berkeley County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Berkeley County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Sentencing in Berkeley County
In Berkeley 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.
Who is the prosecutor for Berkeley County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Berkeley County criminal cases will either be a representative of Berkeley County or a representative from South Carolina. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Berkeley County Criminal Court Locations
Berkeley County Circuit Court
Address: 300-B California Avenue, PO Box 219, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Phone: 843-719-4400 Fax: 843-719-4509
Berkeley County Magistrate Court – Bond Court
Address: 300 California Avenue, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Berkeley County Magistrate Court – Central Traffic and Criminal Domestic
Address: 223 North Live Oak Drive, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Phone: 843-719-4050 Fax: 843-719-4534
Berkeley County Magistrate Court – Goose Creek
Address: 303-B North Goose Creek Blvd, Goose Creek, SC 29445
Phone: 843-553-7080 Fax: 843-553-7074
Berkeley County Magistrate Court – Moncks Corner
Address: 223 North Live Oak Drive, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Phone: 843-719-4537 Fax: 843-719-4528
Berkeley County Magistrates Court – St. Stephen
Address: 1158 South Main Street, St. Stephen, SC 29479
Phone: 843-567-7400 Fax: 843-567-3102
Bonneau Municipal Court
Address: 420 Municipal Lane, PO Box 70, Bonneau, SC 29431
Phone: 843-825-3385 Fax: 843-825-2577
Goose Creek Municipal Court
Address: 519 North Goose Creek Blvd, PO Drawer 1768, Goose Creek, SC 29445
Phone: 843-569-4230 Fax: 843-569-4206
Hanahan Municipal Court
Address: 1255 Yeamans Hall Road, Hanahan, SC 29410
Phone: 843-576-5262 Fax: 843-576-5273
Jamestown Municipal Court
Address: Highway 41 & 17-A, PO Box 145, Jamestown, SC 29453
Phone: 843-257-2233 Fax: 843-257-2233
Moncks Corner Municipal Court
Address: 118 Carolina Avenue, PO Box 700, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Phone: 843-719-7918 Fax: 843-719-7980
St. Stephen Municipal Court
Address: 124 Hood Street, St. Stephen, SC 29479
Phone: 843-567-3116 Fax: 843- 567-7235