Summerville Municipal Court – Summerville, SC

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes within its geographic area. These courts can be found at the county or city tier.

Summerville Municipal Court INformation

Court: Summerville Municipal Court
Address: “200 South Main Street, Summerville, SC 29483”
Phone: 843-875-2010

City: Summerville
County: Dorchester
State: South Carolina

What is the role of the Summerville Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic violations. Courts like Summerville Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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, injury cases, 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 $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Summerville, 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 jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better service their citizens or to save money on administrative costs. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level crimes and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor crime 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 handled in the municipal court in Summerville?

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 have often been called city courts or town courts. Matters are managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to assist for a specific duration.

Magistrates administer 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
  • Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to protect evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary examinations to determine if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is issued when a person has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to appear 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 anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up 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 Summerville, 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 100% accurate for the Summerville Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can carry penalties up to $1k 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 license for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Summerville 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 before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Summerville Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Summerville, 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 offenses and misdemeanor charges.

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

How many judges does the Summerville 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 term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted based on the number of people. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete many hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their credentials.