Criminal Defense Attorney
Dorchester County, SC

Charged with a traffic violation? A violent crime? Something else?

We know South Carolina law, the local courts, judges and prosecutors.

And we know how to defend you!

Need a Criminal Defense Attorney in Dorchester County, South Carolina?

If you have been charged with a crime in Dorchester County, South Carolina, or if you believe you are under investigation, get help from a local Dorchester County criminal defense lawyer with more than 26 years of experience fighting for clients in South Carolina courtrooms.

The criminal defense attorneys at the Seaton & Duncan understand that, if you are charged with a crime in South Carolina, you are facing serious consequences that may affect your criminal record, your job, your reputation, your family, your finances, and even your freedom.

We take that seriously, and we have a proven record of acquittals and dismissals we have gotten on behalf of our clients.

We provide an experienced, thorough, and aggressive defense for our clients. Your Dorchester County criminal defense lawyer at the Seaton & Duncan will do everything legally and ethically within our power to get your case dismissed, negotiate a resolution that is acceptable to you, or win your case in a jury trial.

The criminal defense lawyers at the Seaton & Duncan care about you, your future, and your case..


Our Dorchester County criminal defense lawyers have years of experience with:

  • Has over 20 years of experience defending criminal cases in South Carolina, including domestic violence allegations, murder, rape, robbery, drug trafficking, and other serious criminal offenses,
  • Knows the local courts, prosecutors, attorneys, law enforcement agencies, and procedures, and
  • Will get your case dismissed, find an acceptable resolution, or try your case to a jury of your peers.

When you choose our Dorchester County, South Carolina criminal defense firm to handle your case, you will receive personal attention directly from your criminal defense attorney.

We make communication with our clients a priority, will answer your questions, and will keep you up to date on what is happening in your case throughout the process.

When you call our office, we will:

  • Meet with you to answer your questions, learn about your case, and help you to determine whether our law firm is the right fit for you,
  • Investigate the facts of your case,
  • Research all potential legal issues that may arise in your case or trial,
  • File motions to get copies of all evidence the state intends to use against you including incident reports, videos, witness statements, and forensic test results,
  • Locate and interview witnesses that will testify against you and potential defense witnesses,
  • Identify and gather any evidence that may help your case using subpoenas, FOIA requests, discovery motions, supplemental discovery motions, and motions to compel,
  • Advise you as to any expert witnesses you may need for consultation, testing of evidence, or testimony at trial,
  • Negotiate with your prosecutor to get your case dismissed or to accomplish your goals in your case, and
  • Try your case to a jury if the prosecution does not dismiss your case or make an offer that is acceptable to you.

Our attorneys have the experience you need to get your case dismissed, negotiate a favorable outcome,

or try your case to a jury.

Magistrate and Municipal Courts in Dorchester County, South Carolina

If you are charged with a minor traffic violation or any criminal charge that carries 30 days or less as a potential penalty (some exceptions carry greater penalties, like driving under suspension charges), your case will ordinarily be heard in one of Dorchester County’s magistrate or municipal courts, including:

  • Dorchester County magistrate court,
  • City of North Charleston municipal court,
  • Town of Summerville municipal court,
  • Town of Ridgeville municipal court,
  • Town of St. George municipal court,
  • Town of Harleyville municipal court,
  • Town of Reevesville municipal court, or
  • Town of Lincolnville municipal court.

You will need to contact your criminal defense lawyer immediately – you may need to request a jury trial before your initial court date that is listed on your ticket or other paperwork.

Bond Hearings in Dorchester County

In most cases, the bond hearing will be held within 24 hours of an arrest, and bond will be set by a magistrate or municipal court judge.

If you are charged with an offense punishable by up to life in prison, your bond must be set by a circuit court judge. Burglary first-degree is an exception to this, and, in most cases, a magistrate or municipal court judge will set bond on burglary charges within 24 hours of the arrest.

The types of bonds that are available in South Carolina include:

  • Personal recognizance (PR) bond – you pay nothing and are released “on your own recognizance,”
  • Cash-only bond – you pay the full amount of the bond to the clerk of court,
  • 10% bond – you pay 10% of the full amount of the bond to the clerk of court, and
  • Surety bond – you must retain a bondsman before you can be released.

For charges carrying up to life in prison (murder, for example), if bond was denied, or if there is a change in circumstances that justifies a modification in the conditions of the bond, your attorney may need to file a motion to set bond or a motion to reduce the bond in the circuit court.

General Sessions Court in Dorchester County, South Carolina

If you are charged with a crime that carries more than 30 days as a potential penalty (there are exceptions, like third-degree domestic violence charges), your case will be heard in the Dorchester County Court of General Sessions.

This is the First Judicial Circuit, which also includes Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties.

It is not necessary to formally request a jury trial in General Sessions Court, but you will have two “roll calls” at which you must appear unless your attorney confirms you have been excused.

Jury Trials in Dorchester County

Most criminal cases end in either dismissal or a plea agreement. Despite this, thorough investigation and preparation for trial are critical in your defense.

The prosecutor is not going to dismiss your case unless we give them a reason to dismiss your case, and the prosecutor is not going to make a favorable plea offer unless we can show them why it makes sense.

When the prosecutor does not dismiss your case, or when you don’t receive a plea offer that you can agree to, your attorney must be ready and willing to try your case, however.

In the magistrate and municipal courts, we may file a written jury trial request at the beginning of your case, and then you will be notified when your case is placed on the trial roster.

In General Sessions Court, your case is placed on the trial roster at some point after discovery has been completed and negotiations have failed, although plea agreements can be worked out up until the last minute in some cases.

Whether your case ends in dismissal, plea, or trial, you need an experienced trial lawyer on your case to get the best result possible under the facts of your case and South Carolina law.

Worry Free

They are very good at what they do! Go see them today and be worry free!

– Kipp Cavadias

Great Lawyer

Great Lawyer, will definitely use again when needed. Thank You Beau!

– Charles McGee

Wonderful Lawyer

He truly cares about his clients!! A wonderful lawyer!!

– Lamarr Richardson

* The Rules of Professional Conduct require disclosure that this is a “Testimonial” about the attorney. Please be aware that any result achieved on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

Common Questions About


The cost for your defense will reflect our experience as well as the time and resources that will be necessary in each case. In most criminal cases, we will charge a flat fee that will be determined by:

  • Your charges,
  • The facts of your case and the investigation that will be required,
  • The estimated time that will be necessary to prepare your case for trial,
  • The likelihood that your case will be a trial, dismissal, or plea, and
  • Whether you will need to retain experts or investigators to assist in preparing your defense.


No! It is a very common misconception that the alleged victim can just drop the charges against the defendant, but this is not true.

The alleged victim in your case can recommend dismissal to the prosecutor, but only the prosecutor or a judge can dismiss your charges. In some cases, prosecutors may dismiss based on a victim’s recommendation, but, in other cases, a prosecutor can and will take you to trial over an alleged victim’s objections.

In any event, you should not contact the alleged victim in your case – leave this to the prosecutor, the victim’s advocate, and your attorney to resolve.


We get criminal charges dismissed for our clients, and we win acquittals at trial for our clients.

We cannot promise you that we will get your case dismissed, however – every case is different, and whether your case is dismissed or ends in a plea or trial will depend on the facts of your case, the evidence that is available to the prosecutor, and the results of our independent investigation.

We will give you our honest opinion about the possible outcomes in your case once we have reviewed the evidence and completed our investigation of the facts, but no attorney can ethically promise that they will get your case dismissed.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.