There are approximately 300 magistrates in South Carolina, each serving the county for which he or she is appointed. They are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor upon the advice and consent of the Senate. Magistrates must also pass a certification examination within one year of their appointment. Magistrates generally have criminal trial jurisdiction over all offenses subject to the penalty of a fine, as set by statute, but generally, not exceeding $500.00 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both. In addition, they are responsible for setting bail, conducting preliminary hearings, and issuing arrest and search warrants. Magistrates have civil jurisdiction when the amount in controversy does not exceed $7,500.
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