In South Carolina, the right to a Preliminary Hearing is conferred by statute. (S.C. Code Ann. § 22-5-30) At the preliminary hearing a Magistrate determines if there is probable cause to believe that a criminal offense has been committed and, if so, if there is probable cause that the defendant committed that offense. If the Court finds there is probable cause, the case will be bound over to the Court of General Sessions for prosecution. If the Court finds there is no probable cause, the arrest warrant will be dismissed. Dismissal by the Magistrate at a preliminary hearing does not preclude the State from instituting another prosecution for the same offense by presenting and obtaining a direct indictment to the Grand Jury, however, the direct indictment will have to be served upon the defendant and a new bond will have to be set.
All victims have a right to be notified of the preliminary hearing date and time. It is the Preliminary Hearing Court's responsibility to notify the victim of the date and time. The Magistrate's Clerk's office handles victim notification for the Court.
Charleston County has a Centralized Preliminary Hearing Court which is located at 3831 Leeds Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405
In Berkeley County, Preliminary Hearings are held at 223 North Live Oak Drive Moncks Corner, SC 29461