Saint Matthews Municipal Court – St. Matthews, SC

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil matters within its area. These courts can be found at the county or city tier.

Saint Matthews Municipal Court INformation

Court: Saint Matthews Municipal Court
Address: “1313 Bridge Street, PO Box 172, St. Matthews, SC 29135”
Phone: 803-874-2405

City: St. Matthews
County: Calhoun
State: South Carolina

What is the role of the Saint Matthews Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic matters. Courts like Saint Matthews Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

On the other hand, 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 cases, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.

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 felony matters and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF Legal Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in St. Matthews, South Carolina

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better assist their citizens or to save money on costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in St. Matthews?

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

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an 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 locations
  • start preliminary inquiries to establish if there is enough evidence to charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The common process of a municipal court case can be tricky. The following material is an overview of the steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The citizen who has received the summons will need to be present at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they fail to appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: 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 St. Matthews, 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 accurate for the Saint Matthews Municipal Court. 

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

Saint Matthews Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government 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 matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Saint Matthews Municipal Court

What is municipal court in St. Matthews, South Carolina?

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

What does the municipal court handle in St. Matthews, South Carolina?

Depending on the area 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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Saint Matthews Municipal Court have?

The number 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 duration or until retirement. Judges are commonly elected by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted based on the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish several hours of continuing education every period to maintain their credentials.