Abbeville County Magistrate Court
The Abbeville County Magistrate Court strives to treat all persons having business in the court equally and fairly, ecentegardless of race, creed, or stature. The court administers justice effectively, equally and mercifully, while following and upholding the laws of the United States of America, the State of South Carolina, and the ordinances of Abbeville County.
Magistrate Office Location and Hours
The Magistrate office is located at the Abbeville County Law Enforcement Center Complex at 21 Old Calhoun Falls Rd., Abbeville SC. Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30am until 5:00pm. Bond Court hours are daily at 8:30am and 4:30pm.
Please be advised the magistrate cannot discuss specific details about your case or give you advice. The court staff will assist you in preparing your court forms.
You are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney in any legal matter. If you move forward without an attorney, it may negatively affect your legal rights. If you have questions about your legal rights or the law that affect your case please talk with an attorney.
Magistrates have criminal trial jurisdiction over all offenses which are subject to the penalty of a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both. In some specific cases punishment can be more (State assessments will be added to fine imposed). You must appear in court at the specified date and time on your ticket or bond paper. If you do not wish to appear in court, you may pay via credit card the amount indicated on the citation. Pay online at http://publicindex.sccourts.org/abbeville/onlinepayments.
Payment of your traffic ticket online does not forfeit your right to request a trial in writing or appear in court on your scheduled appearance date. If you decide to mail in your bond rather than appearing in court, mail a money order, cashier’s check or bank certified check payable to Abbeville Magistrate Court, P.O. Box 1156, Abbeville SC 29620. Do not mail cash or personal check. Be sure to enclose a copy of the summons or the summons number on the money order. The payment must be received in the court on or before the court date. The posting of bond does not affect your right to appear in court and receive a fair trial before the judge or to request a jury trial, provided the jury trial request is made in writing to the court before your court appearance date. If you fail to post bond or personally appear in court on the assigned court date, your home state motor vehicle division will be notified and your driver’s license may be subject to suspension until the matter is cleared with the trial court. Failure to appear in court or post bond in criminal cases will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.
Civil Court (Small Claims)
Magistrates also have civil jurisdiction when the amount in controversy does not exceed $7,500 and may include such matters as summons and complaint, landlord/tenant actions, trespass, sales of abandoned property and claim and delivery. Magistrates may also issue restraining orders on non-family members
You may file a civil lawsuit in Magistrate Court if you believe that you or your property has been injured or damaged; and the value of that injury or damage is $7,500 or less, if it is greater than $7,500, then you should file your lawsuit in Circuit Court. If your claim is against a person, file your lawsuit in the county where the person lives. If your claim is against a company, file your lawsuit in the county where the company has its principal place of business. You may also file your lawsuit in the county where the most substantial part of the cause of action arose.
Juries in Magistrate Court are randomly selected by computer from the voter registration list of the county. All jurors are to report to the magistrate office located at the Abbeville County Law Enforcement Center Complex, 21 Old Calhoun Falls Rd Abbeville SC, unless they have been excused by the presiding judge. If you think you may qualify for exemption, please call the magistrate office for further instructions; some valid exemptions/excuses are: age, child care, physical/mental conditions; some occupations may delay your service to another term. All jurors must complete the information form, return it to magistrate office and call the office to confirm if requesting excuse or delay in service. You will be paid $15.00 for each day you are required to appear. Dress appropriately for the courtroom. Inappropriate dress would include hats, tank tops, shorts, or Tee shirts. Do not bring telephones, pagers, or any noise making devices or electronics into the courtroom. Absolutely no weapons are allowed in the building. You will be searched by electronic scanning device.
Magistrates conduct Preliminary Hearings in matters of the General Sessions Court jurisdiction. A Preliminary Hearing is a hearing to determine if the State can show there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime with which he is charged. A defendant will receive from the Bond Court Judge a form to request the hearing. The defendant or his attorney must return the form to the court listed on the form within ten (10) days to qualify for the hearing. The Preliminary Hearing is an administrative inquiry and not an adversary hearing.
Restraining Orders (Harassment/Stalking)
Magistrates issue restraining orders in matters concerning harassment or stalking. Restraining Orders are civil in nature and require the filing of a complaint listing verified reasons a restraining order is needed. After the complaint is filed, the magistrate will issue a summons, requiring all parties and their witness to be present for a hearing to determine whether to issue the restraining order. There is no filing fee for a restraining order; however, the non-prevailing party must pay the court cost.