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.

Client Reviews
Mindi and Laura were an amazing team team in helping my son with a traffic violation. There responsiveness from answering my phone call, to being able to pay the invoice online, showing up to court and representing my son for a ticket in less than 24 hours. Not to mention successfully having the ticket dismissed. The process was explained to us clearly each step of the way. This allowed us to prepare for any possible ramifications as well being patient with any questions we may have had. Even if the ticket did not get dismissed the care and attention they showed towards my son's situation made us feel very safe in their good hands for this legal matter. N. Jones
I retained Lacey Thompson & Hiller, defense firm for a difficult domestic violence case. She provided a strategy that won my case. Her legal skills are great, but just as important she's a supportive attorney who truly cares and her advice was spot on. I'll always be thankful. Besides Lacey, all the staff that I worked with at Thompson & Hiller firm were terrific: competent, professional, and personable. I recommend Lacey Thompson to everybody who needs a defense attorney. Anonymous
Attorney Laura Hiller, assisted me in 2013 by representing my daughter who at the time was only (14) years old in a juvenile criminal case being tried as an adult. The State charged her with murder. The claims at the time were completely shocking to myself and my daughter at the time and I wasn't sure what to do or who I needed to assist me with this. That's when I met Laura, who in all honesty kept me sane and hopeful through the entire process. She was so thorough when it came to gathering all information from all parties involved, aggressive when stepping into the courtroom, and behind the scenes. Most importantly though she was invested in proving my daughters innocence and I will forever be grateful for her and her work. My daughter's case was dismissed! Definitely who you want in your corner, whether the case is big or small. L.P.M.