Colleton County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Colleton County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Colleton County.
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 Colleton 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.
In a jury trial in Colleton 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.
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.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in Colleton County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Colleton County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Colleton County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Colleton County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Colleton 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 Colleton 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.
Colleton County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Colleton County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Colleton County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Who can help me in Colleton County?
For general information about your case the Colleton 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.
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.
Prosecutor in Colleton County
In Colleton County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Colleton County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent South Carolina. For the most part, the prosecutor in Colleton County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Sentencing in Colleton County
In Colleton 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.
Colleton County Criminal Court Locations
Colleton County Circuit Court
Address: 101 Hampton Street, PO Box 620, Walterboro, SC 29488
Phone: 843-549-5791 Fax: 843-549-2875
Colleton County Magistrate Court
Address: 40 Klein Street, PO Box 1732, Walterboro, SC 29488
Phone: 843-549-1122 Fax: 843-549-9010
Cottageville Municipal Court
Address: 72 Salley Ackerman Road, PO Box 57, Cottageville, SC 29435
Phone: 843-835-8655 Ext. 1 Fax: 843-835-8531
Edisto Beach Municipal Court
Address: 2414 Murray Street, Edisto Beach, SC 29438
Phone: 843-869-2505 Ext. 206 Fax: 843-869-3855
Walterboro Municipal Court
Address: 248 Hampton Street, PO Box 709, Walterboro, SC 29488
Phone: 843-782-1057 Fax: 843-549-7725