Laurens County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Laurens County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Laurens County.
In a jury trial in Laurens 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.
Prosecutor in Laurens County
In Laurens County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Laurens County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent South Carolina. For the most part, the prosecutor in Laurens County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
Laurens County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Laurens County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Laurens 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 Laurens 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.
Sentencing in Laurens County
In Laurens 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.
Laurens County Required Court Appearances
In Laurens 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.
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.
Laurens County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Laurens County will take place at the Laurens County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Laurens County Criminal Court Locations.
I need help for my Laurens County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Laurens County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Laurens County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
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.
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.
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 Laurens County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Laurens County Criminal Court Locations
Laurens County Circuit Court
Address: 100 Hillcrest Square, Suite B, PO Box 287, Laurens, SC 29360
Phone: 864-984-3538 Fax: 864-984-7023
Laurens County Magistrate Court – Clinton
Address: 203 West Pitts Street, Clinton, SC 29325
Laurens County Magistrate Court – Gray Court
Address: 329 Main Street, Gray Court, SC 29645
Laurens County Magistrate Court – Laurens
Address: 100 Hillcrest Square, PO Box 925, Laurens, SC 29360
Clinton Municipal Court
Address: 404 North Broad Street, Clinton, SC 29325
Cross Hill Municipal Court
Address: 439 North Main Street, PO Box 337, Cross Hill, SC 29332
Phone: 864-998-4453 Fax: 864-998-4453
Gray Court Municipal Court
Address: 329 Main Street, PO Box 438, Gray Court, SC 29645
Laurens Municipal Court
Address: 250 West Laurens Street, Laurens, SC 29360