Ridgeland Municipal Court – Ridgeland, SC

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its location. These courts can be found at the county or city tier.

Ridgeland Municipal Court INformation

Court: Ridgeland Municipal Court
Address: “1 Town Square, PO Box 1119, Ridgeland, SC 29936”
Phone: 843-726-7500

City: Ridgeland
County: Jasper
State: South Carolina

What is the purpose of the Ridgeland Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courts like Ridgeland Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

On the other hand, the purpose 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 breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Ridgeland, 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 jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better service their population or to save money on costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, small criminal charges and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony crime, 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 Ridgeland?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Cases are handled by a magistrate who is usually a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to serve for a specific time.

Judges manage 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 police officers in order to protect evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. 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 from the court is sent when someone has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the 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 $1,000.00 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate

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

Municipal Court Penalties in Ridgeland, SC

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1k or one year in local 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 crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Ridgeland Municipal Court Records

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

Questions ABOUT the Ridgeland Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Ridgeland, South Carolina?

In South Carolina, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters within a town or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanor crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in Ridgeland, 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 Ridgeland Municipal Court have?

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

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 duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by the people with each precinct’s results judged based on population. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete several hours of continuing education every year to maintain their licenses.