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The Ins and Outs of South Carolina Grand Juries

Being charged with a crime can be a frightening experience, and not knowing what happens in the context of court proceedings can make anyone fear for their future. In South Carolina, there are two types of juries that handle crimes, and depending on the severity of the situation, the process for bringing someone to court can differ. Today we’re going to examine grand juries to better understand what they are, how they work, and in what ways they differ from the courtroom scenarios you might see on television.
What Is a Grand Jury?
A lot of people might not be aware that there is a jury decision that takes place before people head to trial. In South Carolina, a grand jury is composed of 18 people, although typically only 12 of them serve at any given time. This group of people is made up of everyday citizens who are selected for jury duty in a similar manner to the jurors for a trial jury. It’s the duty of the grand jury to listen to evidence and determine if a person should be tried for the crimes they are accused of.
How Does It Work?
In South Carolina, it is a requirement that crimes are reviewed by the grand jury if they are severe enough to receive a $500 fine or more than thirty days in jail. As you can imagine, the grand jury is kept quite busy throughout the year.
The grand jury meets in a courtroom and listens to evidence presented by a law enforcement officer. The jury is presented with a wide variety of evidence to accompany the statement and then is given time to deliberate. Ultimately they make a decision, not pertaining to the person’s innocence, but if there is reason enough to bring the person to court for a formal trial.
One of three decisions are made by the grand jury: voting to move forward with a trial is called “true-bill”, while a “no-bill” indictment means they were not able to find enough evidence to move forward. The jury can also choose to make no decision at all.
What’s the Difference Between a Grand Jury and a Trial Jury?
After the grand jury moves for a “true-bill” indictment, the case moves on to a trial jury, which is what most people are familiar with. This is where groups of people sit in a courtroom each day and listen to evidence and testimony. Both the defense and the prosecution will present their side of the events, and then leave the decision of guilty or not guilty to the trial jury.
If you have been charged with a crime and need representation, contact The Greg McCollum Complete Legal Defense Team today. We can let you know what to expect from the court system and help procure the best possible outcome.

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