South Carolina has a largely centralized juvenile justice system, separate and apart from the adult system. The uniform statewide Family Court system was established by statute in 1976.The Family Courts generally have exclusive jurisdiction over minors under the age of seventeen alleged to have violated any state law or municipal ordinance. However, most traffic, fish, and game law violations are still triable in the magistrate or municipal courts. Serious criminal charges may be transferred to the Circuit Court under certain circumstances. A case or action in the Family Court is initiated with the filing of a summons and complaint. Each juvenile delinquency case involves only one charge or "status offense." A "status offense" is a violation of the law by a minor, which would not be criminal if committed by an adult, e.g. truancy or runaway. In Fiscal Year 2003/2004, nearly 27,000 juvenile cases were referred to the Solicitors' Offices statewide. In Charleston and Berkeley counties, our staff handled 3,962 cases, or nearly forteen percent of the entire state caseload. In addition, this office handled more violent and serious offenses committed by juveniles than any other Solicitor's Office.
|Ninth Circuit||282(11.76%)||2,397 (100%)||3,962 (14.47%)|
|Statewide||158 (6.60%)||2,391 (100%)||27,378 (100%)|