Cherokee County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Cherokee County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Cherokee County.
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.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
Prosecutor in Cherokee County
In Cherokee County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Cherokee County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent South Carolina. For the most part, the prosecutor in Cherokee County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Cherokee County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Cherokee County Required Court Appearances
In Cherokee 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.
Where will Cherokee County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Cherokee County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Cherokee County.
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.
Who can help me in Cherokee County?
For general information about your case the Cherokee 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.
Sentencing in Cherokee County
In Cherokee 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.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
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.
Cherokee County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Cherokee County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Cherokee 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 Cherokee 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.
Cherokee County Criminal Court Locations
Cherokee County Circuit Court
Address: 125 East Floyd Baker Blvd, PO Drawer 2289, Gaffney, SC 29342
Phone: 864-487-2571 Fax: 864-487-2754
Cherokee County Magistrate’s Court – Blacksburg
Address: 101 South John Street, Suite A, PO Box 427, Blacksburg, SC 29702
Phone: 864-839-2492 Fax: 864-839-3415
Cherokee County Magistrate’s Court – Gaffney
Address: 312 East Frederick Street, PO Box 336, Gaffney, SC 29342
Phone: 864-487-2533 Fax: 864-902-8425
Blacksburg Municipal Court
Address: 105 South Shelby Street, PO Box 487, Blacksburg, SC 29702
Gaffney Municipal Court
Address: 201 North Limestone Street, PO Box 2109, Gaffney, SC 29342
Phone: 864-487-8524 Fax: 864-487-6221