A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil disputes within its geographic area. These courts can be located at the city or county level.
Columbia Municipal Court INformation
Court: Columbia Municipal Court
Address: “811 Washington Street, PO Box 644, Columbia, SC 29202”
State: South Carolina
What is the role of the Columbia Municipal Court?
Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Columbia Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.
In other situations, the role of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family matters, personal injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or breaches of contract.
County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felonies and larger civil cases.
TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Columbia, South Carolina
Municipal courts are the entry level of courts in the U.S.. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some places share municipal courts with other municipalities.
This can be done to better assist their population or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.
There is no set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor versus a felony, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor charges and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well
What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Columbia?
Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:
- Probable cause for arrest
- Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
- Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
- Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
- start preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to charge
The common process of a Municipal Court Case
First Step: Issuance of Summons
Second Step: Show Up before Judge or Magistrate
Municipal Court Penalties in Columbia, SC
Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed attorney near you. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be accurate for the Columbia Municipal Court.
A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1,000.00 or one year in jail. A person’s driving privileges may be suspended for six months if they receive three speeding tickets within 12 months.
The penalties for different charges in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.
Columbia Municipal Court Records
Municipal Court records from a municipal court could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be available.
Common Questions ABOUT the Columbia Municipal Court
What is municipal court in Columbia, South Carolina?
In South Carolina, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts will have a small jurisdiction and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanor crimes.
What does the municipal court handle in Columbia, South Carolina?
Depending on the scope of the municipality, a municipal court can handle a civil division (cases with less than $15,000 at issue), a traffic/criminal division, or a housing and environmental division. More serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.
How many judges does the Columbia Municipal Court have?
The count of judges depends on the municipality’s size.
How are cases heard in municipal courts in South Carolina?
A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete many hours of continuing education every year to maintain their credentials.