Jasper County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Jasper County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Jasper 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.
Where can I get help for my Jasper County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Jasper County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
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 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.
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.
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.
Jasper County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Jasper County will take place at the Jasper County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Jasper County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Prosecutor in Jasper County
In Jasper County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Jasper County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent South Carolina. For the most part, the prosecutor in Jasper County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Mandatory Appearances in Jasper County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Jasper 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.
Arraignments in Jasper County
During an arraignment in Jasper 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 Jasper 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 Jasper County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Jasper County Criminal Court Locations
Jasper County Circuit Court
Address: 265 Russell Street, PO Box 248, Ridgeland, SC 29936
Phone: 843-726-7710 Fax: 843-726-7782
Jasper County Magistrate’s Court – Bond Court
Address: 800 North Jacob Smart Blvd., PO Box 748, Ridgeland, SC 29936
Phone: 843-726-7737 Fax: 843-726-7745
Jasper County Magistrate’s Court – Central Traffic Court
Address: 967 West Adams Street, PO Box 166, Ridgeland, SC 29936
Phone: 843-726-7717 Fax: 843-726-3915
Jasper County Magistrate’s Court – Hardeeville
Address: 21 Martin Street, PO Box 1169, Hardeeville, SC 29927
Phone: 843-784-2628 Fax: 843-784-3245
Jasper County Magistrate’s Court – Ridgeland
Address: 967 West Adams Street, PO Box 748, Ridgeland, SC 29936
Phone: 843-726-7933 Fax: 843-726-4191
Hardeeville Municipal Court
Address: 26 Martin Street, PO Box 582, Hardeeville, SC 29927
Phone: 843-784-3366 Fax: 843-784-3422
Ridgeland Municipal Court
Address: 1 Town Square, PO Box 1119, Ridgeland, SC 29936