Georgetown County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Georgetown County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Georgetown 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.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
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.
Arraignments in Georgetown County
During an arraignment in Georgetown 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 Georgetown 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 Georgetown County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Georgetown 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.
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.
Georgetown County Required Court Appearances
In Georgetown 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.
Georgetown County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Georgetown County will take place at the Georgetown County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Georgetown County Criminal Court Locations.
Who can help me in Georgetown County?
For general information about your case the Georgetown 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 Deliberations in Georgetown County
In Georgetown 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.
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.
Georgetown County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Georgetown County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Georgetown County. The Georgetown 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.
Georgetown County Criminal Court Locations
Georgetown County Circuit Court
Address: 401 Cleland Street, Room 115, PO Box 479, Georgetown, SC 29442
Phone: 843-545-3215 Fax: 843-545-3281
Georgetown County Magistrate Court – Andrews
Address: 110 North Morgan Avenue, Andrews, SC 29510
Phone: 843-545-3631 Fax: 843-264-3639
Georgetown County Magistrate Court – Georgetown
Address: Phone: 843-545-3381 (Summary, Domestic, Jury) Fax: 843-545-3394
Phone: 843-545-3371 (Traffic) Fax: 843-545-3355
Georgetown County Magistrate Court – Murrells Inlet
Address: 14329 Ocean Highway, PO Box 1830, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Phone: 843-545-3635 Fax: 843-545-3641
Georgetown County Magistrate Court – Pawleys Island
Address: 14329 Ocean Highway, PO Box 1830, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Phone: 843-545-3633 Fax: 843-545-3640
Georgetown County Magistrate Court – Pleasant Hill
Address: 9974 Pleasant Hill Drive, Hemingway, SC 29554
Phone: 843-545-3637 Fax: 843-545-3642
Andrews Municipal Court
Address: 101 North Morgan Street, PO Box 1223, Andrews, SC 29510
Phone: 843-264-8222 Fax: 843-264-5051
Georgetown Municipal Court
Address: 2222 Highmarket Street, Georgetown, SC 29440
Pawleys Island Municipal Court
Address: 321 Myrtle Avenue, PO Box 1818, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Phone: 843-237-1698 Fax: 843-237-7083