City of Columbia Municipal Court
ADVISEMENT OF RIGHTS
You have a right and an obligation to be present at the City of Columbia Municipal Court located at 811 Washington Street, Columbia, SC for a bench trial on your court date and at any other time when summoned by the Municipal Court to appear before a judge.
You have a right to a trial by a jury. If you want your trial to take place by jury, you must request a jury trial in writing prior to your bench trial beginning. Entering a plea before a judge in a bench trial constitutes a waiver of your right to a trial by a jury.
You have a right to an attorney at your trial and at any other time when summoned by the Municipal Court to appear for motion hearings, rules to show cause hearings or other court appearances. If you are indigent according to the federal poverty guidelines, the court can appoint a public defender to represent you. The Public Defender’s Office has the right to charge you $40.00 for their services.
If you are not present on your court date, you can be tried without a jury and sentenced by a municipal court judge. Failure to appear in court as required will result in the loss of any posted bond. Failure to appear in court for trial or at other times when summoned by the Municipal Court to appear will result in a waiver of your right to a public defender or a private defense attorney.
If you are indigent according to federal poverty guidelines or have circumstances that would merit special consideration, the presiding judge has the option of considering community service in lieu of a fine or a jail sentence. The judge may also consider a scheduled time payment plan for payment of any fine imposed. You must be present on your court date to be considered for community service or a scheduled time payment plan. Failure to complete community service hours imposed by a Municipal Court judge or comply with a scheduled time payment plan may result in the suspension of your driving privileges by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles as well as the issuance of a bench warrant by this court.
If the charges that have been brought against you are discharged, dismissed, or nolle prossed or if you are found not guilty, you may have your record expunged.
You have been charged with a criminal offense(s). Before you can plead guilty or not guilty to this charge(s) or proceed to trial, you must be informed that you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney (and meet certain income guidelines established by the Court), an attorney will be appointed to represent you, if you so choose. If you do not meet the eligibility guidelines to have an attorney appointed to represent you, you still have the right to an attorney to represent you on the charge(s), however the attorney must be retained at your own expense.
You do have the constitutional right to represent yourself and proceed without an attorney; however, I must inform you of the following:
- Self-representation can be dangerous and you have the right to have the assistance of a lawyer at all stages of the proceedings, and if you cannot afford a lawyer, a lawyer can be appointed to represent you.
- Criminal defense is a highly specialized and technical area of the law.
- There may be certain factual, legal, or other defenses to the charge(s) you are facing and if you choose to proceed without the services of a licensed attorney, you may not be aware of certain defenses.
- There may be issues related to the conduct of trial or a guilty plea that could arise in the future that you may not be aware of and it would be your attorney’s responsibility to be aware of those issues and how to properly address them before the Court, and, if necessary, preserve the issues for appellate review.
- There may be collateral consequences of a conviction or plea that you are not aware of, including, but not limited to, you could face increased penalties for subsequent offenses, suspension of your driver’s license, the restriction of the right to possess firearms and/or ammunition, or your immigration status may be affected.
- If you exercise your right to proceed without the services of an attorney, you are responsible for complying with all applicable rules of court, including rules of evidence, procedural rules, and proper behavior before the Judge and/or Jury.
- You understand that if you waive screening for a court-appointed attorney, that you are responsible for hiring a private attorney if you want one.
I state that I have fully and completely read this document regarding self-representation and I have had any and all of my questions answered to my complete satisfaction.
At this time, I DO/DO NOT (circle one) wish to be screened for a court-appointed attorney and I wish to proceed with my trial at this time.
Signature of Defendant Date: _______ Signature of Judge Date: _______
MC100 SCCA 684 (1/14)