Greenwood County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Greenwood County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Greenwood 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.
Prosecutor in Greenwood County
In Greenwood County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Greenwood County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent South Carolina. For the most part, the prosecutor in Greenwood County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Jury Deliberations in Greenwood County
In Greenwood 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Greenwood County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Greenwood 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.
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 Greenwood County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Sentencing in Greenwood County
In Greenwood 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 can help me in Greenwood County?
For general information about your case the Greenwood 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.
Where will Greenwood County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Greenwood County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Greenwood County.
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.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
What happens in Greenwood County at an arraignment?
In Greenwood County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
Greenwood County Criminal Court Locations
Greenwood County Circuit Court
Address: 528 Monument Street, Room 114, Greenwood, SC 29646
Phone: 864-942-8546 Fax: 864-942-8693
Greenwood County Magistrate Court
Address: 528 Monument Street, Room 100, Greenwood, SC 29646
Phone: 864-942-8655 Fax: 864-942-8663
Greenwood Municipal Court
Address: 520 Monument Street, PO Box 40, Greenwood, SC 29648
Phone: 864-942-8458 or 864-942-8474 Fax: 864-942-8423
Ninety Six Municipal Court
Address: 120 Main Street West, PO Box 8, Ninety Six, SC 29666
Phone: 864-543-2200 Ext 201
Ware Shoals Municipal Court
Address: 210 McLane Avenue, PO Box 510, Ware Shoals, SC 29692
Phone: 864-456-7478 Fax: 864-456-7528