Charleston County Criminal Court

Charleston County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Charleston County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Charleston County.

Charleston County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Charleston County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Charleston County. The Charleston 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.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Charleston 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.

Charleston County Criminal Court

Charleston County Criminal Court

Charleston County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Charleston County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Charleston County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Charleston County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

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 appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Who can help me in Charleston County?

For general information about your case the Charleston 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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Charleston 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.

Charleston County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Charleston County will take place at the Charleston County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Charleston County Criminal Court Locations.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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.

Charleston County Required Court Appearances

In Charleston County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Charleston County Criminal Court Locations

  • Charleston County Circuit Court

    Address: 100 Broad Street, Suite 106, Charleston, SC 29401
    Phone: 843-958-5000 Fax: 843-958-5020

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – Centralized Bond Hearing Court

    Address: 3831 Leeds Avenue, Suite 200, North Charleston, SC 29405
    Phone: 843-746-9822 Fax: 843-746-9960

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – Centralized Preliminary Hearing Court

    Address: 3831 Leeds Avenue, Suite 100, North Charleston, SC 20405
    Phone: 843-745-2390 Fax: 843-745-2395

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – City of Charleston

    Address: 995 Morrison Drive, PO Box 941, Charleston, SC 29402
    Phone: 843-724-6720 (Small Claims)

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – East Cooper

    Address: 1189 Sweetgrass Basket Pkwy, Suite 300, Mount Pleasant, SC 29465
    Phone: 843-856-1205 Fax: 843-856-1188

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – James Island

    Address: 615 Riverland Drive, PO Box 12226, Charleston, SC 29422
    Phone: 843-795-1140 Fax: 843-406-2753

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – McClellanville

    Address: 10009 Highway 17 North, McClellanville, SC 29458
    Phone: 843-887-3334 Fax: 843-887-3901

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – North Area 1

    Address: 4045 Bridge View Drive, Suite B125, PO Box 60037, North Charleston, SC 29419
    Phone: 843-202-6610 Fax: 843-202-6620

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – North Area 2

    Address: 2145 Melbourne Avenue, Suite 100, North Charleston, SC 29405
    Phone: 843-745-2215 Fax: 843-745-2334

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – North Area 3

    Address: 6185 Rivers Avenue, Suite E, North Charleston, SC 29405
    Phone: 843-553-4003 Fax: 843-572-0013

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – North Area Small Claims

    Address: 4045 Bridge View Drive, Suite B146, PO Box 70235, North Charleston, SC 29415
    Phone: 843-202-6650 Fax: 843-202-6652

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – Ravenel/Adams Run Area

    Address: 5962 Highway 165, Suite 200, Ravenel, SC 29470
    Phone: 843-889-8332 Fax: 843-889-9202

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – Wadmalaw/Johns Island

    Address: 1527 Main Road, Suite 100, Johns Island, SC 29455
    Phone: 843-559-1218 Fax: 843-559-2378

  • Charleston County Magistrates Court – West Ashley Area

    Address: 1720 Sam Rittenberg Blvd, Unit 11, PO Box 31861, Charleston, SC 29417
    Phone: 843-766-6531 Fax: 843-571-4751

  • Charleston Municipal Court

    Address: 180 Lockwood Boulevard, Charleston, SC 29403
    Phone: 843-724-7460 Fax: 843-724-7171

  • Folly Beach Municipal Court

    Address: 21 Center Street, PO Box 48, Folly Beach, SC 29439
    Phone: 843-513-1842 Fax: 843-588-2476

  • Hollywood Municipal Court

    Address: 5962 Highway 165, Ravenel, SC 29470
    Phone: 843-889-8332 Fax: 843-889-9202

  • Isle Of Palms Municipal Court

    Address: 1207 Palm Blvd, PO Box 508, Isle Of Palms, SC 29451
    Phone: 843-886-8946 Fax: 843-886-8005

  • Kiawah Island Municipal Court

    Address: 21 Beachwalker Drive, Kiawah Island, SC 29455
    Phone: 843-768-9166 Fax: 843-768-4764

  • Lincolnville Municipal Court

    Address: Physical: 141 West Broad Street, Lincolnville, SC 29458
    Phone: 843-873-3261 Fax: 843-873-3267

  • McClellanville Municipal Court

    Address: 405 Pinckney Street, McClellanville, SC 29458
    Phone: 843-887-3712 Fax: 843-887-3094

  • Mount Pleasant Municipal Court

    Address: 100 Ann Edwards Lane, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
    Phone: 843-884-6796 Fax: 843-856-2514

  • North Charleston Municipal Court

    Address: 2500 City Hall Lane, PO Box 190016, North Charleston, SC 29419
    Phone: 843-740-2601 Fax: 843-745-1051

  • Ravenel Municipal Court

    Address: 5962 Highway 165, Ravenel, SC 29470
    Phone: 843-889-8332 Fax: 843-889-9202

  • Seabrook Island Municipal Court

    Address: 2001 Seabrook Island Road, Seabrook Island, SC 29455
    Phone: 843-768-9121 Fax: 843-768-9830

  • Sullivan’s Island Municipal Court

    Address: 2050-B Middle Street, PO Box 427, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482
    Phone: 843-883-5734 Fax: 843-883-3009

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.