Hartsville Municipal Court – Hartsville, SC

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil disputes inside its location. These courts can be found at the city or county tier.

Hartsville Municipal Court INformation

Court: Hartsville Municipal Court
Address: “133 West Carolina Avenue, PO Drawer 2497, Hartsville, SC 29550”
Phone: 843-383-3008

City: Hartsville
County: Darlington
State: South Carolina

What is the purpose of the Hartsville Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic violations. Courthouses like Hartsville Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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 divorce or other family matters, personal injury, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can’t exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felonies and bigger civil matters.

TYPES OF Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Hartsville, South Carolina

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts in the United States. 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 help their population or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, small criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor crimes and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

how are cases managed in the municipal court in Hartsville?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known city courts or town courts. Matters are managed by a magistrate who is usually a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to help for a specific period of time.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to protect evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to learn if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The common process of a municipal courthouse case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the most common steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is issued when someone has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to show up after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Hartsville, SC

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed attorney near you. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Hartsville Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can have penalties up to $1000 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 crimes in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Hartsville Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the matter they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Hartsville Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Hartsville, 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 location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanor crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in Hartsville, South Carolina?

Depending on the size 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. Serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Hartsville Municipal Court have?

The number of judges depends on the municipality’s population.

How are cases heard in municipal courts in South Carolina?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes elected by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal magistrates are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish several hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their licenses.