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What are the collateral consequences of a conviction in Magistrate or Municipal Court in South Carolina?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2022 | Assault & Battery, College Student Defense, Criminal Defense, Domestic Violence, DUI, Traffic Stops |

The most common cases we handle in magistrate and municipal courts are:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Open Container
  • Public Intoxication
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • Possession of a Fake ID
  • Domestic Violence
  • Assault and Battery
  • Simple Possession of Marijuana
  • Traffic Violations

Most believe that the only concern of a guilty plea in magistrate or municipal court is a fine and/or minimal jail time.  While staying out of jail or avoiding a hefty fine is a real concern, it is important to be aware of the collateral consequences a conviction can have on your life beyond just the imposed sentence. Depending on the type of crime you are facing in magistrate or municipal court, the following consequences can be triggered by a conviction:

  • A college administrative hearing where you are suspended, expelled or placed on probation;
  • Loss of financial aid or scholarships;
  • Loss of security clearance or inability to obtain it;
  • Loss of housing;
  • License suspension or revocation;
  • For DUI cases, ADSAP program and ignition interlock requirements;
  • Losing your job or having trouble finding a new job due to a criminal record that cannot be expunged;
  • If active military, risk of dishonorable discharge;
  • Risk of more severe penalties from a subsequent conviction of the same or similar crime; and
  • If you have a more serious charge in General Sessions court, a plea in magistrate or municipal court could greatly hinder your defense in General Sessions.

As you can see, it is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney for your case.  As former prosecutors and a former judge, our firm has handled thousands of these cases on every side of the courtroom.  We understand the big picture—including the collateral consequences—someone faces when he or she is arrested in South Carolina.  The stakes are too high to leave it up to chance. We are available 24/7 to schedule a free consultation for your case.