Union County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Union County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Union County.
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.
I need help for my Union 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 Union 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 Union 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.
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 Union 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 happens in Union County at an arraignment?
In Union 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 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.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in Union County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Union 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.
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.
Where will Union County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Union County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Union County.
In a jury trial in Union 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.
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.
Who is the prosecutor for Union County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Union County criminal cases will either be a representative of Union 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.
Union County Criminal Court Locations
Union County Circuit Court
Address: 210 West Main Street, Union, SC 29379
Union County Magistrates Court
Address: 210 West Main Street, Union, SC 29379
Phone: 864-429-1648 Fax: 864-429-1685
Jonesville Municipal Court
Address: 131 North Main Street, PO Box 785, Jonesville, SC 29353
Phone: 864-429-6644 Fax: 864-674-6634
Union Municipal Court
Address: 101 Sharpe Avenue, PO Box 987, Union, SC 29379
Phone: 864-429-1701 Fax: 864-429-2815