Municipal Court

Trial Guidelines

Defendant's Guidelines

You have been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense occurring in the State of South Carolina. The United States Constitution as well as the South Carolina Constitution affords you certain rights. You have the right to plead guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to this charge. You have the right to request a trial by jury in which six people would decide guilt or innocence. If you wish to be represented by an attorney you have the right to retain one. At this level of court, an attorney will not be appointed to you unless you are indigent (unable to afford an attorney) and facing jail time.

If you are a Clemson student, you may be eligible for a 30-minute consultation with a lawyer.
For more information contact the Student Government office at 864-656-2195 or go to their website at http://www.clemson.edu/students/cusg/legal-aid.html

Further explanations of the type of pleas you may enter are as follows:

Guilty - you are in agreement with the officer that you did commit the offense with which you are charged.

Not Guilty - you are not in agreement with the officer that you did commit the offense with which you are charged and you want to have a judge or jury hear both sides of the case and make a decision of guilt or innocence.

Nolo Contendere - (no contest) - you do not wish to contest the nature of the charge against you and are in agreement with the officer. This type of plea cannot be used against you in a civil case that might follow, i.e., an auto accident where personal injuries or property damage may have occurred.

Victim's Rights

As the victim of a crime, you are guaranteed certain rights pursuant to section 16-3-1535 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. These rights include:

  1. The right to be present and participate in all hearings
  2. The right to be represented by counsel.
  3. The right to pursue civil remedies in magistrate court.
  4. The right to submit an oral or written impact statement, or both, for consideration by the judge at the disposition hearing or trial.