Municipal courts have jurisdiction over cases arising under ordinances of the municipality, and over all offenses which are subject to a fine not exceeding $500.00 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both, and which occur within the municipality. In addition, S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-545 provides that municipal courts may hear cases transferred from general sessions, the penalty for which does not exceed one year imprisonment or a fine of $5,000, or both, upon petition by the solicitor and agreement by the defendant. The powers and duties of a municipal judge are the same as those of a magistrate, with regard to criminal matters; however, municipal courts have no civil jurisdiction. The term of a municipal judge is set by the council of the municipality, but cannot exceed four years. Municipal Judges appointed on or after May 24, 2004, must be appointed for a set term of not less than two years but not more than four years. Section 14-25-15(A) states, “Each municipal judge must be appointed by the council to serve for a term set by the council of not less than two years but not more than four years and until his successor is appointed and qualified. His compensation must be fixed by the council.” Approximately 200 municipalities in South Carolina have chosen to create municipal courts.
All municipal judges are required to complete a training program or pass certification or re-certification examinations, or both, within one year of taking office. See S.C. Code Ann. § 14-25-15 and Rule 509, SCACR. The examination will be offered three times each year. Members of the South Carolina Bar are exempt from the examination; however, they are required to attend the orientation program.
Each municipal judge must pass a re-certification examination within eight years after passing the initial certification examination and at least once every eight years thereafter.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may pay your fine in person and if you are paying in person you can pay by cash, money order, debit or credit card.
You can also mail your payment to the address below. All mail in payments must be in the form of a money order or cashiers check, no personal checks will be accepted.
You can not pay your fine over the phone or online.
This court deals with all traffic and criminal cases that occur within the city limits of Seneca.
This court does not have the jurisdiction to accept any filings for any civil matter such as evictions, restraining orders and small claims. Should you need these services, you may contact any of the three Oconee County Magistrate Office’s.
You need to contact the court immediately and we will inform you as to what happened with your case and can advise you to what you will need to do next.
Short answer is NO.
Ex parte communication is prohibited. A judge shall not discuss a case without both parties being present. To the extent reasonably possible, all parties or their lawyers shall be included in communications with a judge.
|Chief Municipal Judge:
|Clerk of Court:
|Assoc. Judge/Office Manager:
Jury Duty Statutes
The general statutes of South Carolina provide:
Any person to be tried in a municipal court may, prior to trial, demand a jury trial, and such jury when demanded, shall be composed of six persons drawn from the qualified electors of the municipality and drivers license and ID card holders in the manner prescribed herein. The right to a jury trial shall be deemed to have been waived unless demand is made prior to trial. (§14-25-125).
The jury list is composed of all names on the official list of qualified voters of the municipality merge with the list of South Carolina drivers license and identification cardholders, which list is furnished to the municipality by the State Election Commission each year.
§14-25-165 provides that if a municipal court has experienced difficulty in drawing a sufficient number of jurors, the court may receive prior approval from South Carolina Court Administration to draw "at least one hundred (100) names, but not more than a number determined sufficient by Court Administration to serve one week only. " (§14-25-165(b)(3).) §14-25-165(b)(4) provides that "immediately after the jurors are drawn, the judge must issue a writ of venire facias for the jurors requiring their attendance on the first day of the week for which they have been drawn. This writ must be delivered to the chief of police or may be served by regular mail by the clerk of court."
§14-25-170 provides for the drawing and summoning of jurors by computer. "In lieu of the manner requested by this chapter, jurors for municipal courts, at the discretion of the governing body of the municipality, may be drawn and summoned by computer in the manner the Supreme Court by order directs."
A juror should not be chosen if he is known to be closely related to either side of the case, or if he is a county official, or if he has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than one year, or if he is incapable by reason of mental or physical infirmity to render efficient jury services, or if he is incapable of reading or writing (or understanding) the English language. (§§14-7-810 and 820).
§14-7-840 provides that no person is exempt from service as a juror in any court of this State except men and women over sixty-five years of age. A person exempt under this section may be excused upon telephone confirmation of date of birth and age to the clerk of court or chief magistrate. Notaries public are not considered state officers and are not exempt under this section.
Please note that this is an "exemption," not a "disqualification," from jury service. Many individuals over the age of 65 wish to serve on a jury and are constitutionally entitled to that duty. These individuals are entitled to serve and must be issued a juror summons if a court draws their name.
A student or school employee selected for jury service during the school term may request a postponement to a date that does not conflict with the school term. (§14-7-845). §14-25-180 provides that "[u]pon furnishing an affidavit to the clerk of court requesting to be excused from jury duty, a person either may be excused or transferred to another term of court by the municipal judge if the person performs services for a business, commercial, or agricultural enterprise, and the person's services are so essential to the operations of the business, commercial, or agricultural enterprise that the enterprise must close or cease to function if the person is required to perform jury duty." §14-7-860 provides that a person who is the primary caretaker of a person 65 years of age or older or a severely disabled person who cannot care for himself or cannot be left unattended may be excused from jury duty by the presiding judge.
If a juror who has been summoned for jury duty in a municipal court should fail to appear at the designated time and place and fail to supply to the municipal judge within forty-eight (48) hours sufficient reason for such failure to appear in obedience to the venire issued, the juror may be punished for contempt. He should be given an opportunity to appear before the municipal court at the time he is sentenced for contempt, however. Such appearance may be obtained through issuance of a Rule to Show Cause. If the Rule to Show Cause is ineffective, you may then issue a bench warrant. (See §14-25-185).