Kershaw County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Kershaw County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Kershaw County.
Mandatory Appearances in Kershaw County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Kershaw 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 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.
Kershaw County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Kershaw County will take place at the Kershaw County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Kershaw County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Kershaw County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Kershaw County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Kershaw County. The Kershaw 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.
Who can help me in Kershaw County?
For general information about your case the Kershaw 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.
In a jury trial in Kershaw 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.
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.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Kershaw County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Kershaw County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Kershaw 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 Kershaw 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.
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 Kershaw 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.
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.
Kershaw County Criminal Court Locations
Kershaw County Circuit Court
Address: 1121 Broad Street, Room 313, PO Box 1557, Camden, SC 29021
Phone: 803-425-7223 Fax: 803-425-1505
Kershaw County Magistrates Court
Address: 1121 Broad Street, Room 202, Camden, SC 29020
Phone: 803-425-7226 Fax: 803-425-6044
Bethune Municipal Court
Address: 101 Elm Street, PO Box 447, Bethune, SC 29009
Phone: 843-334-6238 Fax: 843-334-6114
Camden Municipal Court
Address: 1000 Lyttleton Street, Camden, SC 29020
Phone: 803-425-2421 Fax: 803-425-6049
Elgin Municipal Court
Address: 2469 Main Street, PO Box 277, Elgin, SC 29045
Phone: 803-438-2362 Fax: 803-408-1155