|FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS|
|I. What the Court Does|
|I've seen the terms "Summary Court" and "Magistrates' Courts". What's the difference?
What kinds of civil cases are heard in Magistrates' Courts?
Can I get a jury trial in Magistrates' Courts?
How do I file a criminal case?
How can I obtain a temporary restraining order?
|II. What the Court Does Not|
|Does your office provide information pertaining to tax leins, land transactions, or general partnership filings?
Can I make my child support payments at a Magistrates' Court?
Do I go to Magistrates' Courts for a marriage license?
Can I register to vote at your office?
Can I pay my traffic ticket at your office?
|III. Small Claims|
|When is a case a matter for "Small Claims," and when is it "Common Pleas"?
How do I file a Small Claims case? Is there a charge?
Where do I file a Small Claims Case?
I have a judgment from Small Claims Court. How do I have it executed?
|IV. Rental and Property|
|What is a Landlord/Tenant dispute?
How do I go about evicting a renter for non-payment of rent?
What is a Claim and Delivery case?
What is a Pre-Distress Warrant?
What is a Sale on Abandoned Property?
|V. Appeals & Expungements|
|How does a person file an appeal on a civil case?
How does a person file an appeal on a criminal case?
What is an "expungement"?
How do I know if I'm eligible for an expungement?
How do I get my criminal record expunged?
|VI. Legal Counsel|
|Can you give me advice about my lawsuit?
How can I find a lawyer?
Can you recommend an attorney or law firm to me?
Can I act as my own attorney when filing a case?
|VII. Case Inquiries|
|How can I check on the status of my case? Can I review case files?
How can I find out when my case is coming up for trial (or another scheduled event such as a hearing?)
Do you provide case and judgment information to companies such as credit bureaus?
|VIII. Jury Duty|
|I received a summons for jury duty. How can I get more information?|
A $40 filing fee is attached to the first application, which is the Affidavit and Application of Ejectment and Rule To Show Cause. This paper gives the tenant 10 days from the date of service to settle with the landlord, move, or request a hearing to show cause why s/he should not be evicted. If the tenant does not settle, move, or request the Show Cause hearing at the end of this period, the landlord should make the application for the second paper of the eviction process, which is titled a Writ (or Warrant) Of Ejectment. There is a second $10 filing fee required with this paper. The Court prepares the paperwork and a constable will serve the tenant. This second notice gives the tenant 5 days to settle or vacate. If the tenant fails to respond after 5 days, the landlord may call the court's office to schedule an eviction (put-out) date with the Constable.
An "Expungement" is the destruction or obliteration of criminal records relating to an arrest or a conviction. South Carolina law allows for the destruction of arrest and/or conviction information under the following limited circumstances.
EXPUNGEMENTS INIATED IN SUMMARY COURTS:
Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws § 17-1-40, the arrest and booking record, files, mug shots, and fingerprints of any person, who after being charged with a criminal offense and such charge is discharged or proceedings against such person dismissed or is found to be innocent of such charge, shall be destroyed and no evidence of such record pertaining to such charge shall be retained by any municipal, county or State law enforcement agency. This does not apply to cases where there was not an arrest and finger print record created.
DISMISSAL OR NON CONVICTION OF OFFENSE
Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws § 17-1-40, the arrest and booking record, files, mug shots, and fingerprints of any person, who after being charged with a criminal offense and such charge is discharged or proceedings against such person dismissed or is found to be innocent of such charge, shall be destroyed and no evidence of such record pertaining to such charge shall be retained by any municipal, county or State law enforcement agency
SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF PRE-TRIAL INTERVENTION
Pre-trial Intervention is a diversion program for first-time non-violent criminal offenders. Participants are required to perform, among other things, community restitution and make monetary restitution to their victims. South Carolina Code of Laws § 17-22-150 allows offenders, who successfully complete the pretrial intervention program to apply to the court for an order to destroy all official records relating to his arrest. The effect of the order is to restore the person, in the contemplation of the law, to the status he occupied before the arrest. No person, as to whom the order has been entered, may be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his failure to recite or acknowledge the arrest in response to any inquiry made of him for any purpose.
After a first offense conviction of fraudulent intent in drawing check, draft or other written order, the defendant may, after one year from the date of the conviction, apply, or cause someone acting on his behalf to apply, to the court for an order expunging the records of the arrest and conviction. This provision does not apply to any crime classified as a felony (that is, any check valued in excess of Five Thousand Dollars). If the defendant has had no other conviction during the one-year period following the conviction under this section, the court shall issue an order expunging the records. No person has any rights under this section more than one time. See South Carolina Code of Laws § 34-11-90(e).
SIMPLE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA – First Offense
Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws § 44-53-450(b), any person who has been sentenced to a "Conditional Discharge" for their first offense of simple possession of marijuana, may, upon completion of the sentencing requirements, apply to the court for an order to expunge from all official records all information relating to his arrest, indictment, trial, finding of guilty, and dismissal and discharge pursuant to this section. No person as to whom such order has been entered shall be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his failures to recite or acknowledge such arrest, or indictment or information, or trial in response to any inquiry made of him for any purpose.
FIRST OFFENSE CONVICTIONS IN MAGISTRATE’S OR MUNICIPAL COURT
Under South Carolina Code of Laws § 22-5-910, a defendant may apply three years after the date of the conviction for an order expunging the records of the arrest and conviction of a first offense conviction in a magistrate's court or a municipal court. However, this section does not apply to any of the following offenses:
Offenses involving the operation of a motor vehicle,
Violations of Title 50 (Fish, Game and Watercraft) or the regulations
promulgated under it for which points are assessed, suspension provided for, or
enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses authorized,
Offenses contained in Chapter 25 of Title 16 (Criminal Domestic Violence) except first offense criminal domestic violence as contained in Section 16-25-20, which may be expunged five years from the date of the conviction.
If the defendant has had no other conviction during the three-year period following the first offense conviction in a magistrate's court or a municipal court, the circuit court may issue an order expunging the records. No person may have his records expunged under this section more than once.
The office of the South Carolina Court Administration has designed a form Order which must be used for all expungements. The Order must be consented to by the Circuit Solicitor and approved and signed by the Circuit Judge.
The Solicitor will consent to every case in which a properly completed proposed Order is presented to him along with all documentation, certification from the Court, and prior criminal record check necessary to confirm that the defendant is lawfully entitled to the expungement.