All Circuit Court records are maintained by the Clerk of Court.
The Circuit Court is South Carolina's court of general jurisdiction. It has a civil court; which is the Court of Common Pleas and a criminal court, which is the Court of General Sessions. In addition to its general trial jurisdiction, the Circuit Court has limited appellate jurisdiction over appeals from all lower courts including Probate Court, Magistrate's Court, and Municipal Court.
Dorchester County is in the First Judicial Circuit. Circuit judges serve the sixteen circuits on a rotating basis, with court terms and assignments determined by the Chief Justice based upon recommendations of Court Administration. Circuit court judges are elected by the General Assembly to staggered terms of six years.
In General Sessions, the Clerk of Court is responsible for accepting and maintaining all warrants and posting bonds.
In Common Pleas, the Clerk of Court is responsible for maintaining all paperwork in the civil cases, scheduling jury and non-jury trials as well as scheduling all motions that need to be heard.
The Clerk of Court draws and summons jurors for the Court of Common Pleas, General Sessions and the Grand Jury for Dorchester County.