South Congaree Municipal Court – West Columbia, SC

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited area of authority over criminal charges and civil matters inside its area. These courts can be found at the county or city level.

South Congaree Municipal Court INformation

Court: South Congaree Municipal Court
Address: “119 West Berry Road, West Columbia, SC 29172”
Phone: 803-755-2760 ext. 103

City: West Columbia
County: Lexington
State: South Carolina

What is the purpose of the South Congaree Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like South Congaree 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 family matters, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and larger civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in West Columbia, South Carolina

Municipal courts are the lowest 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 service their people or to save money on costs. The matters that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level crimes and code infractions.

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

how are cases managed in the municipal court in West Columbia?

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 popularly known city courts or town courts. Matters are handled by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to serve for a specific time period.

Judges manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms 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 understand if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The common process of a Municipal Court matter

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

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when an individual has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court 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 don’t show up, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up 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 West Columbia, 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 accurate for the South Congaree Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can possess 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 courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

South Congaree 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 an individual might need to depend on the matter they have in front of 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 South Congaree Municipal Court

What is municipal court in West Columbia, South Carolina?

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

What does the municipal court handle in West Columbia, 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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the South Congaree 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 court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted according to population. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete many hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their licenses.