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General Sessions Offenses
General Sessions Court in SC has jurisdiction over most offenses that carry a potential penalty of more than 30 days, with a few exceptions that stay in the lower court like driving under the influence (DUI) first offense, driving under suspension (DUS), and some domestic violence (DV) cases.
General Sessions level cases usually carry much harsher penalties, and punishments can range from probation to life in prison. The solicitor’s office for each county puts most of their resources into General Sessions Court, and they tend to fight much harder for convictions in the higher court.What Is the Procedure if I’ve Been Charged With a Crime in SC’s General Sessions Court?
If you have been charged with a General Sessions level offense, the procedure that you must follow varies from county to county, but it will invariably involve multiple court appearances.
In most cases, a magistrate will set your bond within 48 hours, and you will be given information about your first court appearance and the procedure for requesting a preliminary hearing before you are released from jail.
In every county, you will be given two court appearances automatically, usually called the First and Second Appearance or Docket Appearance. If you do not appear in court on these days and have not been excused through your attorney, the Solicitor will issue a bench warrant for your arrest and you can be held without bond until your trial date or until the bench warrant is lifted by a judge.
Following the First and Second Appearances, your prosecutor may repeatedly notice you to appear at “roll calls” until your case is placed on the trial roster. In most cases, we should be able to get you excused from appearing at “roll call” dates although we may have to attend for you.How Do I Get the Evidence in My Case?
Following your arrest, law enforcement forwards their investigative file to the Solicitor's office for prosecution.
We file motions to obtain all evidence in your case from the prosecutor, and we will also investigate your case ourselves, using private investigators and experts as necessary. Although we will often speak with the arresting officers, most negotiations are done with the prosecutor in your case.
An independent defense investigation of your charges and circumstances can sometimes lead to a dismissal of your case when appropriate, or an offer of a reduced sentence. When negotiations are unsuccessful, however, you must be willing and prepared to take your case to trial.SC General Sessions Criminal Defense Lawyer in Columbia, Lexington, and Myrtle Beach
We understand that, when you are charged with a crime in SC’s General Sessions Court, you are facing serious consequences and your life has been turned upside down. In many cases in General Sessions Court, we are fighting for our client’s freedom – but, even when a case may end in a fine or probation, we know the impact that a conviction can have on you and your family.
If you are charged with a General Sessions offense in South Carolina, call our Myrtle Beach defense firm at (843) 444-6122 or contact us online to find out how we can help you.