Williamsburg County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Williamsburg County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Williamsburg County.
Williamsburg County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Williamsburg County will take place at the Williamsburg County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Williamsburg County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
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.
Williamsburg County Required Court Appearances
In Williamsburg 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.
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.
I need help for my Williamsburg 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 Williamsburg 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 Williamsburg 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.
Jury Deliberations in Williamsburg County
In Williamsburg County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Williamsburg County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Williamsburg County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Williamsburg 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 Williamsburg 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.
Williamsburg County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Williamsburg County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Williamsburg County. The Williamsburg 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.
Williamsburg County Criminal Court Locations
Williamsburg County Circuit Court
Address: 125 West Main Street, Kingstree, SC 29556
Phone: 843-355-9321 Ext. 7100 Fax: 843-355-1580
Williamsburg County Magistrate Court – Hemingway Satellite Office
Address: 2811 South State Highway 41-51, Hemingway, SC 29554
Williamsburg County Magistrate Court – Kingstree Central Office
Address: 209 Short Street, Kingstree, SC 29556
Phone: 843-355-9565 Fax: 843-355-6444
Greeleyville Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 212, Greeleyville, SC 29056
Phone: 843-426-2111 Fax: 843-426-2270
Hemingway Municipal Court
Address: 110 South Main Street, PO Box 968, Hemingway, SC 29554
Phone: 843-558-2551 Fax: 843-558-0370
Kingstree Municipal Court
Address: 401 North Longstreet Street, Kingstree, SC 29556
Phone: 843-355-8165 Fax: 843-355-7489
Lane Municipal Court
Address: 345 South Lane Road, PO Box 30, Lane, SC 29564
Phone: 843-387-5151 Fax: 843-387-6781