Magistrates - Traffic Court

Department Functions

There are six Magistrate Courts in Georgetown County including Central Traffic Court. In addition, the Magistrate conducts Bonding Court twice a day (9 am and 3 pm) at the Georgetown County Detention Center. Magistrates, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, serve four-year terms. South Carolina Court Administration provides administrative support to the Magistrate Courts.

Criminal & Traffic

Magistrate Courts have jurisdiction over all offenses where punishments do not exceed fines of $500 plus assessments and court costs or imprisonment of 30 days, or both. Some common types of criminal cases heard in Magistrate Court include criminal domestic violence, assault and battery, littering, petit larceny, simple possession of marijuana, violation of check law and county ordinance violations. Central Traffic Court handles most traffic cases and judges rotate for Central Traffic Court. Magistrate courts also conduct preliminary hearings and have the authority to issue arrest warrants and search warrants.

Civil Process

Magistrate courts have jurisdiction of civil matters involving claims that are $7,500 or less. Some types of cases handled by magistrates' courts are summons and complaint (small claims), claim and delivery (repossession of personal property), evictions, restraining orders and sales of abandoned property (vehicles, mobile homes, trailers). Magistrates do not settle real property disputes.

Jury Trials/Jury Duty

All defendants have a right to a jury trial when requested. One must direct a jury trial request to the Magistrate Court scheduled to hear the case. The Central Jury Court has a scheduled time to conduct jury trials and will contact all parties involved with the date and time of roll call.

Selected for one-week terms and notified by mail, jurors must appear for roll call on the notified date and time. When selected, the court advises jurors of the dates and times of trials.