Lexington County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Lexington County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Lexington County.
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.
What happens in Lexington County at an arraignment?
In Lexington 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.
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.
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.
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.
Who is the prosecutor for Lexington County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Lexington County criminal cases will either be a representative of Lexington County or a representative from South Carolina. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Where will Lexington County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Lexington County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Lexington County.
I need help for my Lexington 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 Lexington 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 Lexington 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.
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.
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.
Lexington County Required Court Appearances
In Lexington 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.
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 Lexington 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.
Lexington County Criminal Court Locations
Lexington County Circuit Court
Address: 205 East Main Street, Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: 803-785-8212 Fax: 803-785-2215
Lexington County Magistrate Court – Bond Court
Address: 521 Gibson Road, Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: 803-785-2845 Fax: 803-785-8356
Lexington County Magistrate Court – Central Traffic Court
Address: 139 East Main Street, Suite A, Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: 803-785-2142 Fax: 803-785-2530
Lexington County Magistrate Court – Criminal Domestic Violence Court
Address: 139 East Main Street, Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: 803-785-2886 Fax: 803-785-2530
Lexington County Magistrate Court – District 1, Lexington
Address: 139 East Main Street, Suite B, Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: 803-785-2383 Fax: 803-785-8155
Lexington County Magistrate Court – District 2, Irmo
Address: 111 Lincreek Drive, Columbia, SC 29212
Phone: 803-785-2384 Fax: 803-749-4050
Lexington County Magistrate Court – District 3, Batesburg-Leesville
Address: 231 West Church Street, Batesburg-Leesville, SC 29006
Phone: 803-785-5013 Fax: 803-332-0357
Lexington County Magistrate Court – District 4, Swansea
Address: 500 Charlie Rast Road, Swansea, SC 29160
Phone: 803-785-6250 Fax: 803-785-4078
Lexington County Magistrate Court – District 5, Oak Grove
Address: 428 Oak Drive, Lexington, SC 29073
Phone: 803-785-6251 Fax: 803-785-2571
Lexington County Magistrate Court – District 6, Cayce-West Columbia
Address: 650 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033
Phone: 803-785-6267 Fax: 803-796-7635
Batesburg-Leesville Municipal Court
Address: 660 West Columbia Avenue, Batesburg-Leesville, SC 29006
Phone: 803-532-4408 Fax: 803-532-0357
Cayce Municipal Court
Address: 1800 12th Street, Cayce, SC 29033
Chapin Municipal Court
Address: 157 NW Columbia Avenue, PO Box 183, Chapin, SC 29036
Phone: 803-575-8052 Fax: 803-575-8053
Gaston Municipal Court
Address: 186 North Carlisle Street, Gaston, SC 29053
Phone: 803-796-7725 Fax: 803-739-5793
Irmo Municipal Court
Address: 7300 Woodrow Street, PO Box 406, Irmo, SC 29063
Phone: 803-781-7050 Fax: 803-749-2743
Lexington Municipal Court
Address: 111 Maiden Lane, Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: 803-951-4634 Fax: 803-951-4643
Pelion Municipal Court
Address: 1010 Main Street, PO Box 7, Pelion, SC 29123
Phone: 803-894-3535 Fax: 803-894-2549
Pine Ridge Municipal Court
Address: 2757 Fish Hatchery Road, West Columbia, SC 29172
Phone: 803-755-2500 Fax: 803-955-0605
South Congaree Municipal Court
Address: 119 West Berry Road, West Columbia, SC 29172
Phone: 803-755-2760 Fax: 803-755-0456
Springdale Municipal Court
Address: 2915 Platt Springs Road, Springdale, SC 29170
Phone: 803-794-0408 Fax: 803-791-0567
Swansea Municipal Court
Address: 320 West Third Street, Swansea, SC 29160
Phone: 803-568-3366 Fax: 803-568-3034
West Columbia Municipal Court
Address: 200 North 12th Street, PO Box 4044, West Columbia, SC 29171
Phone: 803-791-1880 Fax: 803-739-2662