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Can you appeal from Traffic Court?

Can you appeal from Traffic Court?

In South Carolina you have an absolute legal right to appeal from a verdict or plea of guilty made in any Traffic Court.When you appeal you are asking a higher Court to reconsider legal decisions made by the judge in handling your case. This may include considering certain types of evidence, any legal motions made by you or the prosecution or whether or not the evidence substantiated the offense you were charged with. You have ten days from your Traffic Court conviction to initiate the appeals process.

Appeals from Traffic Court are made to the Court of Common Pleas for the appropriate county. It typically takes a few months from the time the appeal is started for the higher Court to schedule a hearing. The judge may or may not rule at the hearing - but you will be provided with a written decision by the Court sometime after your hearing. Either you or the prosecution has a right to appeal that decision to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

Although you have a right to appeal from a guilty or no contest plea - these types of appeals typically are not successful. You would need to show that either the Court failed to properly qualify your plea (that is the Court should have refused to accept it), that the Court wrongful entered your plea (that is the Court made a mistake and marked your ticket as guilty) or that someone your sentence exceeded what the law says (such as a fine over the maximum limit).

Although there is no filing fee charged by the Court to appeal from Traffic Court you should be advised that the process is not designed for non-lawyers. You must specify the grounds for the appeal at the time you start the process and if you make any mistakes in this process you could lose the appeal before a judge even considers your case.


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