STATUTORY PROVISIONS FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF REVENUE GENERATED BY THE CIRCUIT COURTS, FAMILY COURTS, MAGISTRATES AND MUNICIPAL COURTS; FEES AND RELATED CHARGES OF THE REGISTER OF DEEDS

 

 

STATUTORY PROVISIONS FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF REVENUE GENERATED BY THE CIRCUIT COURTS, FAMILY COURTS, MAGISTRATES AND MUNICIPAL COURTS; FEES AND RELATED CHARGES OF THE REGISTER OF DEEDS

I. Court of General Sessions
A. General rules
1. Disbursement and division of revenue, Sections 14-1-205, 14-17- 720 and 14-17-750
2. Assessment, Section 14-1-206(A)
3.  Surcharge on all convictions, Section 14-1-211(A)(1)
4. Surcharge on convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), Section 14-1-211(A)(2)
5. DUI assessment, Section 56-5-2995(B)
6.  Payment of the fine and assessment by installments, Section 14-1-209(A) and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725
B. Exceptions to the general rule
1.  Bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260
a. Payment in installments, Section 38-53-70
2. Insurance fraud, Section 38-55-560
3. Cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-160.
4.  Game or fish law violations, Sections 50-1-150 and 50-1-170
5. Axle weight and gross weight violations, Section 56-5-4160
6.  Body Piercing Regulation Violation, Section 44-32-120
C. Miscellaneous payments to clerks
1.  Administrative court costs in fraudulent check cases, Sections 34-11-70(b) and (c), and 34-11-90 (c) and (d)
2. Repayment of Defender Corporation or Defense of Indigents Fund as a condition of probation, Section 17-3-30
3.  Probation supervision fee, Sections 24-21-80 and 90
4. Payment to alcohol and drug abuse programs as required by sentence
5. Restitution and 3% collection cost on installment payments, Sections 14-17-725 and 24-21-490
6.  Escrow of crime reenactment profits, Sections 15-59-40 through 15-59-80
7. Professional bondsman's, Surety bondsman's, and Runner's fees, Section 38-53-100(d); License fees, Section 38-53-100(c); Surety bondsmen's fees, Section 38-53-105
8. Fee for expunging criminal records, Section 8-21-310(21)
9.  Application fee for public defender services, Section 17-3-30(B)
         
II. Court of Common Pleas
A. Filing Fee, Section 14-1-204
B.  Motion Fee, Section 8-21-320
C.  Insurance fraud cases, Section 38-55-550
D. Fee for seeking arbitration of property damage liability claims (automobile accidents), Section 38-77-720
E. Other miscellaneous payments to or by clerks which are remitted to county treasurers
III. Family Court
A. General rule
1.  Disbursement and division of revenue, Section 14-1-205
2. Payment of the fine by installments and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725
B. Exceptions, same as for Circuit Court (See I.B. above)
C. Specific costs in Family Court:
1.  Filing fee, Section 14-1-204
2. Motion fee, 8-21-320
3. Filing a foreign judgment, Section 8-21-310(22)
4.  Filing fee exception, Section 20-7-1440
5. Filing fee exception, Section 20-4-40(f)
6. Support payments made through Clerk of Court, Section 20-7-1440
7. UIFSA, exception and fees, Sections 20-7-1085
8. Fee for initiation of protective services or removal action, Section 20-7-1440
         
IV.  Magistrates Court
A.  General rule for distribution of revenue
1. Magistrates' criminal fines, penalties or forfeitures, Section 22-1-90
2. 

Assessment, Section 14-1-207

3. Surcharge on all convictions, Section 14-1-211
4. Surcharge on convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), Section 14-1-211(A)(2)
5.  DUI assessment, Section 56-5-2995(A)
6. Payment of the fine and assessment by installments, Section 14-1-209(B) and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725
7. Administrative court costs in fraudulent check cases, Sections 34-11-70(b) and (c), and 34-11-90 (c) and (d)
8.  Magistrates' civil fees and costs, Administrative Order of the Chief Justice, July 12, 1984
B.  Exceptions to the general rule
1.  Bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260
a.  Payment in installments, Section 38-53-70
2. Insurance Fraud, Section 38-55-560
3. Cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-160
4. Game or fish law violations, Sections 50-1-150 and 50-1-170
5.  Axle weight and gross weight violations, Section 56-5-4160
6. Carriers of household goods and hazardous waste for disposal, Section 58-23-590(E)
7. Cases transferred from the general sessions court, Section 22-3-545
C.  Magistrates' civil fees and costs
1. Schedules provided in Sections 8-21-1010 and 8-21-1060
2. Exception, Section 8-21-1020
3. Exception, Section 20-4-40(f)
4.  Exception, Section 16-3-1750(D)
5. Other miscellaneous fee
V.  Municipal Courts
A. General Rules for Distribution of Revenue
1. Municipal Judges' criminal fines, penalties, or forfeitures, Section 14-25-85
2. Magistrate serving as a Municipal Judge, Sections 14-25-25 and 22-1-70; Exception
3.  Assessment, Section 14-1-208
4.  Surcharge on all convictions, Section 14-1-211
5.  Surcharge on convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), Section 14-1-211(A)(2)
6. DUI assessment, Section 56-5-2995(A)
7. Administrative court costs in fraudulent check cases, Sections 34-11-70(b) and (c), and 34-11-90 (c) and (d)
8. Payment of the fine and assessment by installments, Section 14-1-209 and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725
B. Exceptions to the general rule
1. Bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260
a. Payment in installments, Section 38-53-70
2. Insurance Fraud, Section 38-55-560
3. Cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-160
4. Game or fish law violations, Section 50-1-150 and 50-1-170
5. Axle weight and gross weight violations, Section 56-5-4160
6.  Carriers of household goods and hazardous waste for disposal, Section 58-23-590(E)
7. Cases transferred from the general sessions court, Section 22-3-545
VI. Register of Deeds Fees and Related Charges
A.  General Provisions, Section 8-21-310
B.  Specific Questions, Sections 8-21-310 and 20-7-1510

 

I. Court of General Sessions
A. General Rule
1.  Disbursement and division of revenue, Sections 14-1-205, 14-17-720, and 14-17-750

Section 14-1-205 sets forth the general rule for distributing the revenue generated in general sessions court from costs, fees, fines, penalties, forfeitures, and other revenues and requires that 56% of all such money (after deducting any payments to informants pursuant to Section 14-17-720 which is discussed below) shall be paid over to the county. The remaining 44% of the revenues generated in general sessions court must be forwarded each month to the county treasurer for remittance to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him.

Section 14-17-720 requires that all fines and penalties collected in criminal cases in the court of general sessions be forthwith turned over by the clerk to the county treasurer. This section also provides that when, by law, any person is entitled to receive any portion of a fine or penalty by reason of being an informer then that person is entitled to immediate payment. Clerks should also turn over any informer monies to the treasurer with a copy of the court order specifying such payment. The treasurer can then disburse to the informer thereby creating a proper audit trail.

Section 14-17-750 requires that the clerk make a full and accurate statement, in writing, to the county auditor and treasurer, of all monies collected on account of licenses, fines, penalties and forfeitures during the past month, on the first Wednesday or within ten days thereafter, in each successive month.

2. Assessment, Section 14-1-206(A)

Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act, which suspends Section 14-1-206 for the fiscal year 2002- 2003, requires any person who is convicted, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeits bond in payment of a fine for an offense tried in general sessions court on or after July 1, 2002 to pay an assessment in an amount equal to 107.5% of the fine actually imposed. If a portion of the fine is suspended, the assessment is calculated on the amount of the fine that is not suspended.

The assessment cannot be waived, reduced, or suspended. The amount collected as assessments must be forwarded each month to the county treasurer, who shall retain 35.35% of the revenue generated by the assessment for the county, and transmit the remaining 64.65% to the state treasurer by the fifteenth of each month on forms and in a manner prescribed by him.

The 35.5% retained by the county must be used exclusively for providing victim services as required by Article 15 of Title 16; specifically, those service requirements that are imposed on local law enforcement, local detention facilities, prosecutors, and the summary courts. First priority must be given to those victims' assistance programs which are required by Article 15 of Title 16 and second priority must be given to programs which expand victims' services beyond those required by Article 15 of Title 16. Any funds retained by the county treasurer which are not used for victim services at the end of the fiscal year must be carried forward to the next year and used exclusively for services for victims of crimes. All unused funds must be separately identified in the counties adopted budget as funds unused and carried forward from previous years.

To ensure that fines and assessments imposed pursuant to this section and section 14-1-209(A) are properly collected and remitted to the State Treasurer, the annual independent external audit required to be performed by each county pursuant to Section 4-9-150 must include a review of the accounting controls over the collection, reporting and distribution of fines and assessments from the point of collection to the point of distribution and a supplementary schedule indicating all fines and assessments collected by the clerk of court for the court of general sessions, the amount of fines and assessments retained by the county treasurer, the amount fines and assessments remitted to the state treasurer, and the total funds, by source, allocated to victim services activities, how those funds were expended, and any balances carried forward. Within thirty days of the issuance of the audited financial statement, the county must submit a copy to the State Treasurer, and a statement of the actual cost associated with the preparation of supplementary schedule required in this subsection, 14-1-206(E). Upon submission to the State Treasurer, the county may retain and pay from the fines and assessments collected pursuant to this section the actual expense charged by the external auditor for the preparation of the supplementary schedule, not to exceed $1,000 each year.

The clerk of court and county treasurer shall keep records of fines and assessments required to be reviewed under this section in the format determined by the county council.

3. Surcharge on all convictions, Section 14-1-211

In addition to all other assessments and surcharges, a one hundred dollar surcharge is imposed on all convictions obtained in general sessions court. The surcharge must not be imposed on convictions for misdemeanor traffic offenses. However, the surcharge applies to all violations of Section 56-5-2930, driving under the influence of liquor, drugs, or like substances, and Section 56-5-2933, driving under the influence per se . No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended.

The revenue collected pursuant to Section 14-1-211 must be retained by the jurisdiction which heard or processed the case and paid to the county treasurer, for the purpose of providing services for victims of crimes, including those required by law. Any funds retained by the county treasurer pursuant to this Section must be deposited into a separate account for the exclusive use for all activities related to victims services. For the purpose of funds allocation and expenditure, these funds are a part of the general funds of the county. These funds must be appropriated for the exclusive purpose of providing victim as required by Article 15 of Title 16; specifically, those service requirements that are imposed on local law enforcement, local detention facilities, prosecutors, and summary courts. First priority must be given to those victims' assistance programs which are required by Article 15 of Title 16 and second priority must be given to programs which expand victims' services beyond those required by Article 15 of Title 16. These funds may be used for, but are not limited to, salaries, equipment that includes computer equipment and Internet access, or other expenditures necessary for providing services to crime victims. All unused funds must be carried forward from year to year and used exclusively for victim services . All unused funds must be separately identified in the county's adopted budget as funds unused and carried forward from previous years.

The surcharge revenue retained by the county must be reported to the State Treasurer monthly in a form and manner required by that office. To insure that surcharges imposed pursuant to Section 14-1-211(A) are properly collected and remitted to the county treasurer, the annual independent external audit required to be performed by each county pursuant to Section 4-9-150 must include a review of the accounting controls over the collection, reporting and distribution of surcharges from the point of collection to the point of distribution and a supplementary schedule detailing the amount of surcharges collected at the court level, the amount retained by the county, the amount of funds allocated to victims' services, how those funds were expended, and any carry forward balances.

4.  Surcharge on convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), Section 14-1-211(A)(2)

Section 14-1-211(A)(2) requires that a one hundred dollar surcharge be imposed on all convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se). No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended. These funds should be clearly designated when transmitted to your county treasurer and then forwarded to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall put these funds in a separate account to be used for spinal chord research at MUSC. Section 56-5-2945 (Felony DUI) was not included in Section 14-1-211(A)(2), so the surcharge is not imposed on those convictions.

All one-time operating and administrative costs for county government related to computer upgrades or programming related to these surcharges shall be deducted from the revenue collected pursuant to (A)(2) before remission to the State Treasurer.

5. DUI assessment, Section 56-5-2995(B)

In addition to the assessments and surcharges discussed in 1.A.2., 1.A.3., and I.A.4. above, an additional assessment of twelve dollars must be added to all second and subsequent violations of Section 56-5-2930, DUI, Section 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), and for all violations of Section 56-5-2945, Felony DUI (I.A.4. above does not apply to Felony DUI). These funds should be clearly designated and forwarded to your county treasurer for transmittal to the state treasurer for disbursal pursuant to Section 14-1-201.

6.  Payment of the fine and assessment by installments, Section 14-1-209(A) and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725

When the fine and assessment are paid in installments, Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act suspends Section 14-1-209(B) for the fiscal year 2002/2003 and requires that 51.80722% of each installment be treated as a payment towards the assessment. The remaining 48.192771% is treated as a payment towards the fine. The fine amount must be further divided, with 56% of the amount being retained by the county, and 44% being remitted to the state. The assessment amount must further be divided, with 64.65 being transmitted to the state, and 35.35 being retained by the county for victims' services. Prior to making these computations, you must determine what other assessments may apply (conviction surcharge, DUI assessments, etc.). Those charges must be collected separately and not included in the percentage splits explained above. Funds collected as installments should not be held until full payment is received but must be remitted each month to the county treasurer. To compensate for any slight shift in funds, the division of the final installment payment should be adjusted so that the portion collected as the assessment does not exceed the amount originally imposed.

When an individual pays the fine and/or assessment through installments, Section 14-17-725 provides that the clerk must collect an additional 3% of the installment payment as a collection cost charge. The collection cost is transmitted to the county treasurer for deposit to the county general fund.

B. Exceptions to the general rule

We have identified six exceptions to the general rule for the distribution of revenue generated in general sessions court. Other than bond estreatments and insurance fraud, it is not anticipated that you will frequently see these exceptions. However, they may occasionally be disposed of in general sessions court and the assessment should be collected and handled as specified in I.A.2. and I.A.3. above.

1.  Bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260

Section 17-15-260 provides that the funds resulting from a bond estreatment are divided as follows: 25% to the state general fund, 25% to the solicitor's office, and 50% to the county general fund. If the case was originated by a municipality, the estreated funds are divided as follows: 25% to the state general fund, 25% to the solicitor's office, 25% to the county general fund, and 25% to the municipality. The state's portion should be turned over to the county treasurer on a monthly basis for transmittal to the state treasurer.
a. Payment of estreatment in installments, Section 38-53-70

Section 38-53-70 provides that the court may allow the surety to pay an estreatmeant in installments for a period of up to six months. However, the surety must pay a handling fee to the court in an amount equal to 4% of the value of the bond. That fee is retained by county in which the bond was estreated.

2.  Insurance fraud, Section 38-55-560

Section 38-55-560 requires that 100% of all criminal fines generated from violations of Section 38-55-170 or 540 must be transmitted to the Insurance Fraud Division of the Office of the Attorney General. The statute provides that SLED and the Attorney General divide these funds equally, and those two agencies have entered into a written agreement whereby the Attorney General receives the funds and then makes the proper distribution to SLED. These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the county so that the proper amount of funds can be transmitted to Byron R. Roberts, Director, Insurance Fraud Division, Office of the Attorney General, P. O. Box 11549, Columbia, South Carolina 29211. See "Attachment I" for use in transmitting these funds to the county treasurer. The assessments discussed in I.A.2. and I.A.3. above should also be collected on these violations.

3. Cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-160

Section 47-1-160 requires that, if the court determines that there was a nonprofit humane organization in the municipality or county materially involved in or aiding in the prosecution of a violation of any cruelty to animal offense found in Chapter 1 of Title 47 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, one half of the fine must be distributed to that organization. The remainder of the fine shall be split pursuant to I.A.I. above, with 56% being retained by the county and 44% remitted to the state. These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the county treasurer so that the proper amount of the fine is distributed to the appropriate agency. See "Attachment J" for use in transmitting these funds to the county treasurer. The assessments discussed in I.A.2. and I.A.3. above should be collected on these violations.

4. Game or fish law violations, Sections 50-1-150 and 50-1-170

All fines and forfeitures from violations of any game, nongame or fish law shall be transmitted to the county treasurer according to Section 50-1-150. The treasurer then transmits the funds, less the assessment discussed in I.A.2. and I.A.3. above, to the Department of Natural Resources, Accounting Department. The remittances shall be accompanied by a statement showing the name of all persons fined, the amount of each fine, the summons number and the court in which each fine was collected. Beaufort County is permitted by Section 50-1-170 to retain all commercial fish and game law fines collected in that county when the violators are prosecuted by the sheriff. Fines, etc. from violations of the Coastal Fisheries Law (Chapter 17 of Title 50) are similarly remitted to the state. Game or fish law violations are subject to the assessments set forth in I.A.2. and I.A.3. above.

The Department of Natural Resources monitors the disposition of all wildlife cases. Should a game or fish law violation be disposed of in your court, you may expect to receive an invoice similar to the one marked "Attachment G".

5.  Axle weight and gross weight violations, Section 56-5-4160

Section 56-5-4160 provides that all fines collected for violating the weight limits set by Section 56-5-4130 or Section 56-5-4140 must be deposited within 45 days in the account designated the "Size and Weight Revitalization Program Fund for Permanent Improvements". These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the county treasurer so that the proper amount of fines can be transmitted to the State Transport Police at 220 Executive Center Drive, Winthrop Building, Suite 200, Columbia, South Carolina 29210. The assessment discussed in I.A.2., but not I.A.3., above should be collected on weight violations.

6. Body Piercing Regulation Violation, Section 44-32-120

Section 44-32-120 requires that 100% of all fines collected from a violation of Chapter 32 of Title 44 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, relating to the regulations over body piercing, must be remitted to the State Treasurer to be credited to the Department of Health and Environmental Control to be used solely to carry out and enforce the provisions of the Chapter referenced above. These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the county treasurer so that the proper amount of fines can be transmitted to the State Treasurer for disbursement to DHEC. The assessment discussed in I.A.2. and I.A.3., above should be collected on these violations.

See "Attachment A" for examples of the above mentioned collections and disbursements. A transmittal form which may be used to remit the state's portion of the funds described above to the county treasurer can be found at "Attachment D".

C. Miscellaneous payments to clerks

This office has identified certain criminal proceedings that often result in a clerk receiving funds pursuant to circuit court action: administrative court costs in fraudulent check cases, repayments to the defender corporation or the Defense of Indigents Fund, probation supervision fees, alcohol and drug abuse program fees, victim restitution payments, and crime reenactment profits. The assessments discussed in I.A.2. and I.A.3. above would not be levied based on these collections alone. Additionally, clerks receive annual fees from bondsmen and runners, a fee for expunging criminal records, a collection cost for restitution payments made in installments, and an application fee for public defender services.

1. Administrative court costs in fraudulent check cases, Sections 34-11-70(b) and (c), and 34-11-90(c) and (d)

 In most fraudulent check cases, the court is entitled to collect reasonable administrative court costs not to exceed forty-one dollars. This amount is collected from the prosecuting witness if the court dismisses the case for want of prosecution, Section 34-11-70 (b), or from the defendant if the court dismisses the case upon satisfactory proof of restitution, Section 34-11-70 (c). If the case goes to trial and the defendant is convicted, the cost shall be collected, Section 34-11-90 (d), even if the sentence is required to be suspended as provided in Section 34-11-90 (c).

Whenever there is a conviction, the assessment discussed in I.A.2. and I.A.3. above must be collected along with the fine and administrative court cost. If the fine was ultimately suspended, the assessment discussed in I.A.2. is computed and collected based on the amount of the fine that is not suspended. The assessment discussed in I.A.3. must be collected in full.

2. Repayment of Defender Corporation or Defense of Indigents Fund as a condition of probation, Section 17-3-30

A circuit judge may require an indigent criminal defendant represented by appointed counsel to pay a specified amount for the representation, usually as a condition of probation. If a public defender corporation exists in the county, the payment should be transmitted either through the county treasurer or directly to the public defender corporation. If a public defender corporation does not exist in the county, payment should be transmitted either through the county treasurer or directly to the Commission on Indigent Defense, 1122 Lady Street, Suite 1110, Columbia, South Carolina 29202.
3. Probation supervision fee, Sections 24-21-80 and 90

Adults placed on probation are required to pay a fee toward offsetting the cost of their supervision according to Section 24-21-80. The supervision fee will be based on the individual's ability to pay and must be not less than $20 nor more than $100 per month. Section 24-21-90 indicates that the probation officer will collect this probation supervision fee and forward it to the Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services Board. However, since a condition of probation is payment of the fee on the date of sentencing, occasions may arise when the probationer pays the clerk rather than the probation officer. Clerks receiving such fees should turn them over to the probation officer, if known; or to the county treasurer, who would forward the money to the Board; or directly to the Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services Board.

4.  Payment to alcohol and drug abuse programs as required by sentence

Clerks also may receive funds from defendants who, as a part of their sentence, will be attending an alcohol or drug abuse program and who have been required by the sentencing judge to pay a fee in addition to any fine to cover the costs of the defendant's participation in the program. Clerks can transmit the funds to the program (usually the Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse) directly or indirectly through the county treasurer.

5. Restitution and 3% collection cost on installment payments, Sections 14-17-725 and 24-21-490

Pursuant to Section 24-21-490, the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon is required to collect and distribute court ordered restitution on all probationary cases. The Department began collection and distribution of all probationary cases sentenced on or after September 1, 1998. For all probationary cases sentenced prior to that date, and on all cases were the defendant did not receive probation, clerks are required to collect court ordered restitution in accordance with the following paragraph.

Clerks must collect 3% of the payment as a collection cost charge when an individual makes restitution payments in installments. The collection cost is transmitted to the county treasurer for deposit to the county general fund. All other major issues concerning victims restitution and the clerks of court have been addressed by a separate memorandum from Court Administration.

6.  Escrow of crime reenactment profits, Sections 15-59-40 through 15-59-80

South Carolina's "Son of Sam" statutes prohibit any person or legal entity from profiting by contracting with an accused in order to reenact a particular crime by any visual, audio or print medium. Any monies owing under such a contract shall be paid over to the clerk in the county in which the crime is alleged to have been committed. The clerk is required to deposit these sums in an interest bearing escrow account for the benefit of any victims of the crime. Any victim may have a right to such money provided the accused is convicted of the crime and provided, within five years of the date of the crime, the victim recovers a money judgment against the defendant. If the accused is acquitted of the crime charged or upon a showing that five years have elapsed from the establishment of the account and that no actions are pending against the defendant, the clerk shall pay over the escrow monies to the defendant. The assessment discussed above does not attach by mere reason of these payments.

7. Professional Bondsman's, Surety Bondsman's and Runner's fees , Section 38-53-100(d); License fees, Section 38-53-100(c); Surety bondsmen's fees, Section 38-53-105

A professional or surety bondsman shall pay to the clerk of his home county the sum of $150 annually for each licensee. This money should be paid directly to and retained by the clerk. A professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner doing business in a county other than the bondsman's principal place of business, is required to pay to the clerk in the county in which such foreign business is conducted, the sum of $100 annually. The statute states that the monies paid by professional bondsmen are to be retained by the clerk. Court Administration is of the opinion that these funds may be used by the clerk to help defray the ordinary expenses of operating the clerk's office. Section 38-53-105 provides that the monies paid to the clerks by surety bondsmen shall be deposited "in an account maintained by (the clerk) for the collection of fees." In addition, the Insurance Commissioner will forward 40% of the licensing fees he receives from bondsmen to the clerk pursuant to Section 38-53-100(c). These monies should then be deposited with the county treasurer who is to maintain the funds for the benefit of the clerk's office. Opinion of the Attorney General dated November 1, 1988.

8.  Fee for expunging criminal records, Section 8-21-310(21)

There is a $35 fee for filing and processing each order for the destruction of arrest records regardless of the number of cases listed in the order. The fee should be collected whenever the clerk's records are expunged pursuant to the provisions of Sections 17-22-150, 22-5-910, 34-11-90(e), and 44-53-450(b). There is no fee for expunging records pursuant to Section 17-1-40 when the defendant is found not guilty or the underlying charge is dismissed or nol prossed unless the dismissal or nol prosse is the result of the successful completion of a pretrial intervention program.

9. Application fee for public defender services, Section 17-3-30(B)

Section 35.10 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act, which suspends Section 17-3-30(B) for the fiscal year 2002/2003, provides that any person applying for the services of a public defender for an offense committed on or after July 1, 2002 must pay a $40 application fee upon executing the affidavit that he is unable to afford an attorney. The clerk or other appropriate official may reduce or waive the application fee upon determining that the person is unable to pay all or part of the fee, provided, that if the fee is waived or reduced, the clerk or other appropriate official shall report the amount waived or reduced to the trial judge upon sentencing and the trial judge shall order the remainder of the fee be paid during probation if the person is granted probation.

The revenues collected pursuant to this provision should be turned over to the county treasurer for transmittal to the state treasurer. The funds collected must be remitted on a monthly basis to the state and are to be administered by the Office of Indigent Defense. The clerk or other appropriate official shall maintain a record of all persons applying for representation and the disposition of the application and shall provide this information to the Office of Indigent Defense on a monthly basis as well as reporting the amount of the funds collected or waived.

II. Court of Common Pleas
A. Filing Fee, Section 14-1-204

Section 14-1-204 sets forth the rule for distributing the revenue generated from the civil case filing fee, which is $100, set forth in Section 8-21-310(11)(a), and requires that 56% of all such money shall be forwarded to the county treasurer for remittance by the fifteenth day of each month to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him. The remaining 44% of the revenues generated from civil case filings shall be paid over to the county. Please note that this percentage split is exactly opposite from Section 14-1-205 discussed above in the general sessions section, I.A.1. All other fees and costs listed in Section 8-21-310, such as those normally collected by Registers of Deeds (or by clerks performing that function), are exempt from the percentage division because Section 14-1-204 is intended to apply only to revenue generated by the court.

All of the fees and costs enumerated in Section 8-21-310 are to be remitted to the county treasurer who will transmit to the state treasurer $56.00 of each fee collected for filing a civil case. These fees must be clearly designated when transmitted to the state treasurer so they can be distributed pursuant to Section 14-1-204.

B. Motion Fee, Section 8-21-320

Section 8-21-320 requires an assessment of $25 for every motion made in the court of common pleas. The fee must accompany each motion filed. The court may waive the filing fee upon a proper showing of indigency. The motion fee must be separately accounted for when transferred to the county treasurer and state treasurer on a monthly basis. The revenues generated by this fee will be deposited by the state treasurer in an account to be used by the Judicial Department. Upon receipt of the fee from a litigant, the clerk should indicate on the face of the document that the fee has been paid or the motion is exempt per administrative rule of the Supreme Court. Except for the exemptions, the fee applies to all motions, including motions filed with the original complaint.

C. Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Section 15-35-900, et seq.

The rule set forth in Section 14-1-205 for the division of revenues (see General Sessions section above) applies to the $100 fee, found in Section 8-21-310(22), for filing, indexing, enrolling, and entering a foreign judgment pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act set forth at Section 15-35-900, et seq. Therefore, 56%of those revenues should be remitted to the county and 44% must be delivered monthly to the county treasurer to be remitted by the fifteenth day of each month to the state treasurer. All other fees and costs listed in Section 8-21-310, such as those normally collected by Registers of Deeds (or by clerks performing that function), are exempt from the percentage division because Section 14-1-205 is intended to apply only to revenue generated by the court.

All of the fees and costs enumerated in Section 8-21-310 are to be remitted to the county treasurer who will transmit to the state treasurer $44.00 of each fee collected for filing a foreign judgment.

D. Insurance fraud cases, Section 38-55-550

Section 38-55-550 provides that an individual who violates Sections 38-55-170 or 540, pertaining to insurance fraud, is subject to specific civil penalties pursuant to Section 38-55-550(A). The Insurance Fraud Division of the Attorney General's office is designated to initiate proceedings pursuant to Section 38-55-550 by filing a summons and complaint in the court of common pleas. A $70 filing fee is required and the division of revenues for filing fees discussed in II.A. above applies. If a civil fine is imposed against a defendant in these cases, the defendant is required to remit 100% of the civil fine, plus court costs and attorney fees if awarded by the court, directly to Byron R. Roberts, Director, Insurance Fraud Division, Office of Attorney General, P. O. Box 11549, Columbia, South Carolina 29211.

E. Fee for seeking arbitration of property damage liability claims (automobile accidents), Section 38-77-720 (c)

Claimants seeking arbitration of property damage liability claims arising out of motor vehicle collisions or accidents shall pay a fee of $10 to the clerk according to Section 38-77-720(c). This section specifies that five dollars shall be retained by the clerk to be paid over to the county as the cost of filing the claim and $5 shall be used to pay the cost of service.

F. Other miscellaneous payments to or by clerks which are remitted to county treasurers
1. Fee for cancellation of notice of lis pendens, see Section 15-11-40. ($1.00).
2. Fees for hearing applications of debtors for release from civil arrest, see 15-17-530. ($2.00/$4.00).
3. Failure to maintain calendar of civil actions and file book may subject the clerk of court to penalties as for contempt of court, S.C.R.C.P. Rule 79(g).
4.  Fee for enrolling appointments and revocations of agents for service of process on judgment creditors, see Section 15-35-860. (.25).
5.  Compensation for services in setting off a homestead, see 15-41-450 ($5.00 plus fees and costs).
6. Clerk's costs for taking a prosecutor's or witness' own recognizance, see 17-15-140. (not over $1.00).
7. Taxes for plays and shows, see 14-17-720.
8. Certified copy of veteran's discharge, see 30-15-60. (.50).

III. Family Court
A. General rule
1.  Disbursement and division of revenue, Section 14-1-205

The general rule for distribution of all costs, fees, fines, penalties, forfeitures and other revenues generated in family court is stated in Section 14-1-205. The essence of the rule is that 56% of all such monies remain with the county treasury and 44% is remitted to the state treasurer. Assessments are no longer added to criminal fines levied in family court.

2. Payment of the fine by installments and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725

When an individual pays a fine through installments, Section 14-17-725 provides that the clerk must collect an additional 3% of the installment payment as a collection cost charge. The collection cost is transmitted to the county treasurer for deposit to the county general fund. The amount treated as the fine must be divided with 56% of the amount going to the county treasury and the remaining 44% being transmitted to the state treasurer. Funds collected as installments should not be held until full payment is received but must be remitted each month to the county treasurer and state treasurer.

A transmittal form which may be used to remit the state's portion of the funds described above to the county treasurer can be found at "Attachment D".

B. Exceptions, same as for Circuit Court

Exceptions to this general rule are the same as the exceptions for general sessions discussed earlier. They include bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260 (see I.B.1.), insurance fraud, Section 38-55-560 (see I.B.2), cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-160 (see I.B.3), game or fish law violations, Sections 50-1-150 and 50-1-170, (see I.B.4.), axle or gross weight violations, Section 56-5-4160 (see I.B.5.), and Body Piercing Regulation Violations, Section 44-32-120 (See I.B.6).

C. Specific costs in Family Court:
1. Filing fee, Section 14-1-204

The fee for filing civil actions in the family court is $100 which is the same fee charged for filing civil actions in circuit court as both filing fees are controlled by Section 8-21-310(11)(a). Section 14-1-204 sets forth the rule for distributing the revenue generated from the filing fee and requires that 56% of all such money shall be forwarded each month to the county treasurer for remittance by the fifteenth day of each month to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him. The state's portion of the filing fee must be separately accounted for when transmitted to the county and state treasurer so the distribution pursuant to Section 14-1-204 can be accomplished. The remaining 44% of the revenues generated from case filings shall be paid over to the county. Please note that this percentage split is exactly opposite from Section 14-1-205 discussed immediately above and in the general sessions section.

2. Motion Fee, Section 8-21-320

Section 8-21-320 requires a $25 fee for every motion made in the court of common pleas. The fee must accompany each motion filed. The motion fee does not apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings, nor to matters involving rules to show cause in child and spousal support matters. The court may waive the filing fee upon a proper showing of indigency. The motion fee must be separately accounted for when transferred to the county treasurer and state treasurer on a monthly basis. The revenues generated by this fee will be deposited by the state treasurer in an account to be used by the Judicial Department. Upon receipt of the fee from a litigant, the clerk should indicate on the face of the document that the fee has been paid or the motion is exempt per administrative rule of the Supreme Court. Except for the exemptions, the fee applies to all motions, including motions filed with the original complaint.

3. Filing a foreign judgment, Section 8-21-310(22)

Section 8-21-310(22) provides a $100 fee for filing a foreign judgment with the family court. These fees are split pursuant to Section 14-1-205, with 56% of the fees being remitted to the county treasurer and 44% of the fees being transmitted to the state treasurer. D.S.S. has indicated that they may be billed for the filing fee in foreign orders of support actions as defined in Section 20-7-965 since this fee applies in those cases. This fee does not apply to custody decrees as defined in Section 20-7-786.

4. Filing fee exception, Section 20 -7-1440

The $100 filing fee may be waived by the family court judge, which will most often occur when the petitioner is an indigent. Clerks should accept papers for filing if an affidavit of indigency accompanies the filing. The family court judge can later make a determination as to whether indigency exists. An indigency and motion to sue in forma pauperis form which may be used for any such filing is included as "Attachment H."

Section 20-7-1440 prohibits the charging of court fees in delinquency and neglect actions. Child support actions brought by the Department of Social Services are dependency proceedings and therefore fees should be charged to D.S.S. for these filings.

5. Filing fee exception, Section 20-4-40(f)

Section 20-4-40(f) prohibits the charging of court fees for the filing of a petition for an order for protection from domestic abuse.

6. Support payments made through the Clerk of Court, Section 20-7-1440

If support for a spouse or dependent child is ordered or otherwise paid to the recipient through the clerk's office, Section 20-7-1440 requires that 5% of the amount paid shall be collected by the clerk over and above the amount of each support payment and such 5% shall be kept by the clerk as costs and turned over to the county treasurer to be distributed pursuant to the 56% county/44% state split discussed in III.A.1. above. These funds must be reported separately on a monthly basis so the state treasurer may distribute the fees pursuant to Section 14-1-203.

7. Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, exception and fees, Section 20-7-1085

Section 20-7-1085 states in regards to UIFSA actions that an initiating court may not require payment of either a filing fee or other costs from an obligee but may request the responding court to collect fees and costs from the obligor. D.S.S. has indicated that they may be billed for both incoming and outgoing Title IV-D UIFSA cases. With regard to Non-title IV-D cases the clerks of court will not collect the $100 filing fee or any other costs at the time the petition is filed in an outgoing UIFSA action. Clerks may, however, request by way of cover letter that the responding court collect the filing fee and any other costs from the obligor. The minimum amount of $100 should be requested to cover the fee for filing. When support is received from a responding state, clerks should not collect a 5% fee on money disbursed.

When South Carolina is the responding state, the respondent may be ordered to pay any fees and costs requested by the initiating state. The office of the clerk of court will be required to forward any such fees and costs collected to the initiating state and to delineate what portion of the amount forwarded to the initiating court is support and what portion is the fee or costs requested by that court. The clerks of court should not assess the in5% fee on any filing fees or costs requested by the initiating state but shall collect 5% of any support collected in South Carolina. Fees and costs are not considered "support" against which the 5% should be assessed as required under 20-7-1440.

8. Fee for initiation of protective services or removal action, Section 20-7- 1440

When the Department of Social Services initiates an action for protective services or removal of custody, the family court must impose a $100 fee against the defendant pursuant to Section 20-7-1440. The fee may be waived if the court does not order the removal of custody or intervention and protective services with the child remaining at home. The fee is collected by the clerk and remitted to DSS for use in offsetting expenses associated with its legal representation in child abuse and neglect cases.

IV. Magistrates Court
A.  General Rule for Distribution of Revenue
1.  Magistrates' criminal fines, penalties or forfeitures, Section 22-1-90

Generally, the revenue generated from criminal fines, penalties, and forfeitures in magistrates court is retained by the county. However, you may routinely encounter seven exceptions to this rule. These exceptions, which are discussed below, are bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260; insurance fraud, Section 38-55-560; cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-160; game or fish law violations, Sections 50-1-150 and 170; size and weight violations, Section 56-5-4160; carriers of household goods and hazardous waste for disposal, Section 58-23-590; and cases transferred from general sessions court, Section 22-3-545.

Magistrates and are required to turn over to the county treasurer all criminal fines, penalties or forfeitures, collected during the preceding month, on the first Wednesday or within ten days thereafter, during each successive month. Likewise, a full and accurate statement of all criminal monies collected must also be furnished to the county auditor.

2.  Assessment, Section 14-1-207

Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act, which suspends Section 14-1-207 for the fiscal year 2002-2003, requires any person who is convicted, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeits bond for an offense tried in magistrates court on or after July 1, 2000 to pay an assessment in an amount equal to 107.5% of the fine actually imposed. If a portion of the fine is suspended, the assessment is calculated on the amount of the fine that is not suspended.

The assessment cannot be waived, reduced, or suspended. The amount collected as assessments must be forwarded each month to the county treasurer, who shall retain 11.16% of the revenue generated by the assessment for the county, and transmit the remaining 88.84% by the fifteenth of each month to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him.

The 11.16% retained by the county must be used exclusively for providing victim services as required by Article 15 of Title 16; specifically, those service requirements that are imposed on local law enforcement, local detention facilities, prosecutors, and the summary courts. First priority must be given to those victims' assistance programs which are required by Article 15 of Title 16 and second priority must be given to programs which expand victims' services beyond those required by Article 15 of Title 16. Any funds retained by the county treasurer which are not used for victim services at the end of the fiscal year must be carried forward to the next year and used exclusively for services for victims of crimes. All unused funds must be separately identified in the counties adopted budget as funds unused and carried forward from previous years.

To ensure that fines and assessments imposed pursuant to this section and section 14-1-209(B) are properly collected and remitted to the State Treasurer, the annual independent external audit required to be performed by each county pursuant to Section 4-9-150 must include a review of the accounting controls over the collection, reporting and distribution of fines and assessments from the point of collection to the point of distribution and a supplementary schedule indicating all fines and assessments collected by the clerk of the magistrate court, the amount of fines and assessments retained by the county treasurer, and the amount fines and assessments remitted to the state treasurer, the total funds, by source, allocated to victim services activities, how those funds were expended, and any balances carried forward. Within thirty days of the issuance of the audited financial statement, the county must submit a copy to the State Treasurer, and a statement of the actual cost associated with the preparation of supplementary schedule required in this subsection, 14-1-207(E). Upon submission to the State Treasurer, the county may retain and pay from the fines and assessments collected pursuant to this section the actual expense charged by the external auditor for the preparation of the supplementary schedule, not to exceed $1,000 each year.

The clerk of court and county treasurer shall keep records of fines and assessments required to be reviewed under this section in the format determined by the county council.

3. Surcharge on all convictions, Section 14-1-211

In addition to all other assessments and surcharges, a twenty-five dollar surcharge is imposed on all convictions obtained in magistrates court. The surcharge must not be imposed on convictions for misdemeanor traffic offenses. However, the surcharge applies to all violations of Section 56-5-2930, driving under the influence of liquor, drugs, or like substances, and Section 56-5-2933, DUI Per Se. No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended.

The revenue collected pursuant to Section 14-1-211 must be retained by the jurisdiction which heard or processed the case and paid to the county treasurer, for the purpose of providing services for victims of crimes, including those required by law. Any funds retained by the county treasurer pursuant to this Section must be deposited into a separate account for the exclusive use for all activities related to victims services. For the purpose of funds allocation and expenditure, these funds are a part of the general fund of the county. These funds must be appropriated for the exclusive purpose of providing victim as required by Article 15 of Title 16; specifically, those service requirements that are imposed on local law enforcement, local detention facilities, prosecutors, and summary courts. First priority must be given to those victims' assistance programs which are required by Article 15 of Title 16 and second priority must be given to programs which expand victims' services beyond those required by Article 15 of Title 16. These funds may be used for, but are not limited to, salaries, equipment that includes computer equipment and Internet access, or other expenditures necessary for providing services to crime victims. All unused funds must be carried forward from year to year and used exclusively for victim services . All unused funds must be separately identified in the county's adopted budget as funds unused and carried forward from previous years.

The surcharge revenue retained by the county must be reported to the State Treasurer monthly in a form and manner required by that office. To insure that surcharges imposed pursuant to Section 14-1-211(A) are properly collected and remitted to the county treasurer, the annual independent external audit required to be performed by each county pursuant to Section 4-9-150 must include a review of the accounting controls over the collection, reporting and distribution of surcharges from the point of collection to the point of distribution and a supplementary schedule detailing the amount of surcharges collected at the court level, the amount retained by the county, the amount of funds allocated to victims' services by fund source, how those funds were expended, and any carry forward balances.

4. Surcharge on convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), Section 14-1-211(A)(2)

Section 14-1-211(A)(2) requires that a one hundred dollar surcharge be imposed on all convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se). No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended. These funds should be clearly designated when transmitted to your county treasurer and then forwarded to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall put these funds in a separate account to be used for spinal chord research at MUSC.

All one-time operating and administrative costs for county and municipal government related to computer upgrades or programming related to these surcharges shall be deducted from the revenue collected pursuant to (A)(2) before remission to the State Treasurer.

5. DUI assessment, Section 56-5-2995(A)

In addition to the assessment discussed in IV.A.2. and the surcharge discussed in IV.A.3. above, a twelve dollar assessment must be imposed for all convictions of Section 56-5-2930, DUI, or Section 56-5-2933, DUI PerSe, obtained in magistrates court. These funds should be clearly designated and transferred to your county treasurer for remittance to the state treasurer for disbursal pursuant to Section 14-1-201.

6. Payment of the fine and assessment by installments, Section 14-1-209(B) and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725

When the fine and assessment are paid in installments, Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act suspends Section 14-1-209(B) for the fiscal year 2002/2003 and requires that 51.80722% of each installment be treated as a payment towards the assessment. The remaining 48.192771% is treated as a payment towards the fine. The assessment amount must further be divided, with 88.84 being transmitted to the state, and 11.16 being retained by the county for victims' services. Prior to making these computations, you must determine what other assessments may apply (conviction surcharge, DUI assessments, etc.). Those charges must be collected separately and not included in the percentage splits explained above. Funds collected as installments should not be held until full payment is received but must be remitted each month to the county treasurer. To compensate for this slight shift in funds, the division of the final installment payment should be adjusted so that the portion collected as the assessment does not exceed the amount originally imposed.

When an individual pays the fine, assessment, or restitution through installments, Section 14-17-725 provides that the magistrate must collect an additional 3% of the installment payment as a collection cost charge. The collection cost is transmitted to the county treasurer for deposit to the county general fund.

7.  Administrative court costs in fraudulent check cases, Sections 34-11- 70(b) and (c), and 34-11-90(c) and (d)

In most fraudulent check cases, the court is entitled to collect reasonable administrative court costs not to exceed forty-one dollars. This amount is collected from the prosecuting witness if the court dismisses the case for want of prosecution, Section 34-11-70(b), or from the defendant if the court dismisses the case upon satisfactory proof of restitution, Section 34-11-70(c). If the case goes to trial and the defendant is convicted, the cost shall be collected, Section 34-11-90(d), even if the sentence is required to be suspended as provided in Section 34-11-90(c).

Whenever there is a conviction, the assessment discussed in IV.A.2. and IV.A.3. above must be collected along with the fine and administrative court cost. If the fine was ultimately suspended, the assessment is computed and collected based on the amount of the fine that is not suspended.

8.  Magistrates' civil fees and costs, Administrative Order of the Chief Justice, July 12, 1984

All fees and costs collected by magistrates in civil cases must be turned over to the county treasurer on the same time schedule as is required for criminal collections. A statement of civil revenues must also be submitted on a monthly basis to the county auditor.

B. Exceptions to the general rule

We have identified seven exceptions that may frequently be encountered to the general rule that the county receives all of the revenue from criminal fines, penalties, and forfeitures in magistrates court.

1.  Bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260

Section 17-15-260 provides that the funds resulting from a bond estreatment are divided as follows: 25% to the state general fund, 25% to the solicitor's office, and 50% to the county general fund. If the case was originated by a municipality, the estreated funds are divided as follows: 25% to the state general fund, 25% to the solicitor's office, 25% to the county general fund, and 25% to the municipality. The state's portion should be turned over to the county treasurer on a monthly basis for transmittal to the state treasurer.

a. Payment of estreatment in installments, Section 38-53-70

Section 38-53-70 provides that the court may allow the surety to pay an estreatmeant in installments for a period of up to six months. However, the surety must pay a handling fee to the court in an amount equal to 4% of the value of the bond. That fee is retained by county in which the bond was estreated.

2. Insurance fraud, Section 38-55-560

Section 38-55-560 requires that 100% of all criminal fines generated from violations of Section 38-55-170 or 540 must be transmitted to the Insurance Fraud Division of the Office of the Attorney General. The statute provides that SLED and the Attorney General divide these funds equally, and those two agencies have entered into a written whereby the Attorney General receives the funds and then makes the proper distribution to SLED. These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the county so that the proper amount of funds can be transmitted to Byron R. Roberts, Director, Insurance Fraud Division, Office of the Attorney General, P. O. Box 11549, Columbia, South Carolina 29211. The assessment discussed in IV.A.2 and IV.A.3. should be collected on all criminal insurance fraud violations. See "Attachment I" for use in identifying these funds to the county treasurer.

3. Cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-60

Section 47-1-160 requires that, if the court determines that there was a nonprofit humane organization in the municipality or county materially involved in or aiding in the prosecution of a violation of any cruelty to animal offense found in Chapter 1 of Title 47 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, one half of the fine must be distributed to that organization. The remainder of the fine shall be retained by the county. These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the county treasurer so that the proper amount of the fine is distributed to the appropriate agency. The assessment discussed in IV.A.2. and IV.A.3. should be collected on all cruelty to animal violations. See "Attachment J" for use in identifying these funds to your county treasurer.

4. Game or fish law violations, Sections 50-1-150 and 50-1-170

All fines and forfeitures from violations of any game, nongame or fish law shall be transmitted to the county treasurer according to Section 50-1-150. The treasurer then transmits the funds, less the assessment discussed in IV.A.2. and IV.A.3. above, to the Department of Natural Resources, Accounting Department. The remittances shall be accompanied by a statement showing the name of all persons fined, the amount of each fine, the summons number and the court in which each fine was collected. Beaufort County is permitted by Section 50-1-170 to retain all commercial fish and game law fines collected in that county when the violators are prosecuted by the sheriff. Fines, etc. from violations of the Coastal Fisheries Law (Chapter 17 of Title 50) are similarly remitted to the state. Game or fish law violations are subject to the assessment set forth in IV.A.2. and IV.A.3. above.

The Department of Natural Resources monitors the disposition of all wildlife cases. When game or fish law violations are disposed of in your court, you may expect to receive an invoice similar to the one marked "Attachment G".

5. Axle weight and gross weight violations, Section 56-5-4160

Section 56-5-4160 provides that all fines collected for violating the weight limits set by Section 56-5-4130 or Section 56-5-4140 must be deposited within 45 days in the account designated the "Size and Weight Revitalization Program Fund for Permanent Improvements". These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the county treasurer so that the proper amount of fines can be transmitted to the State Transport Police at 220 Executive Center Drive, Winthrop Building, Suite 200, Columbia, South Carolina 29210. The assessment discussed in IV.A.2., but not IV.A.3., above should be collected on weight violations.

6. Carriers of household goods and hazardous waste for disposal, Section 58-23-590(E)

Section 58-23-590(E) requires that 75% of each fine generated from a violation of Section 58-23-40 be deposited with the Office of Compliance with the Public Service Commission. The county retains the remaining 25% of the fine. These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the county treasurer so that the proper amount of fines can be transmitted to the Public Service Commission, Comptroller, Post Office Drawer 11649, Columbia, South Carolina 29211. The assessment discussed in IV.A.2. and IV.A.3. above should be collected on these violations.

See "Attachment B" for examples of the above mentioned collections and disbursements. Except for the revenue from bond estreatments which should be identified in a separate transmittal, the docket sheets may be used to transmit the funds described above to the county treasurer. "Attachment E" may also be used to transmit these funds to your county treasurer.

7. Cases transferred from the general sessions court, Section 22-3-545
a.  General Rule
i. Disbursement and division of revenue, Sections 14-1-205 and 14-17-720

Section 22-3-545 establishes a procedure for transferring certain cases from the general sessions court to the magistrates court for disposition and provides that the revenue generated by these cases shall be distributed as if the fines had been imposed in the circuit court. The general rule for distribution of revenue generated from fines in general sessions court is that, pursuant to Section 14-1-205, 56% of all such money (after any payments to informants pursuant to Section 14-17-720) shall be paid over to the county. The remaining 44% of the revenues generated from fines must be forwarded each month to the county treasurer for remittance to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him.

The procedure for transferring cases pursuant to Section 22-3-545 does not affect the cases that are remanded to the magistrate court for disposition on a lesser included offense within the court's jurisdiction.

ii. Assessment, Section 14-1-206(A)

Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act, which suspends Section 14-1-206 for the fiscal year 2002- 2003, requires any person who is convicted, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeits bond for an offense tried in general sessions court on or after July 1, 2001 to pay an assessment in an amount equal to 107.5% of the fine actually imposed. If a portion of the fine is suspended, the assessment is calculated on the amount of the fine required to be paid.

The assessment cannot be waived, reduced, or suspended. The amount collected as assessments must be forwarded each month to the county treasurer, who shall retain 35.35% of the revenue generated by the assessment for the county, and transmit the remaining 64.65% by the fifteenth of each month to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him. The 35.35% retained by he county must be used for the provision of services for victims including those required by law. A thorough explanation of the handling of the retained funds is provided in Section I.A.2. above.

iii. Conviction Surcharge, Section 14-1-211

In addition to all other assessments and surcharges, a one hundred dollar surcharge is imposed on all convictions obtained in general sessions court. The surcharge must not be imposed on convictions for misdemeanor traffic offenses. However, the surcharge applies to all violations of Section 56-5-2930, driving under the influence of liquor, drugs, or like substances, andSection 56-5-2933, DUI Per Se. No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended.

The revenue collected pursuant to Section 14-1-211 must be retained by the jurisdiction which heard or processed the case and paid to the county treasurer, for the purpose of providing services for victims of crimes. A thorough explanation of the handling of these funds can be found at I.A.3. above.

iv. Surcharge on convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), Section 14-1-211(A)(2)

Section 14-1-211(A)(2) requires that a one hundred dollar surcharge be imposed on all convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se). No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended. These funds should be clearly designated when transmitted to your county treasurer and then forwarded to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall put these funds in a separate account to be used for spinal chord research at MUSC.

v. DUI assessment, Section 56-5-2995(B)

In addition to the assessments and surcharges discussed in IV.B.7.a.ii. and IV.B.7.a.iii.. above, an additional assessment of twelve dollars must be added to all convictions for Section 56-5-2930, DUI, Section 56-5-2933, DUI Per Se, and for Section 56-5-2945, Felony DUI. These funds should be transferred to your county treasurer for transmittal to the state treasurer for disbursal pursuant to Section 14-1-201.

vi. Payment of the fine and assessment by installments, Section 14-1-209(A) and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725

When the fine and assessment are paid in installments, Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act suspends Section 14-1-209(B) for the fiscal year 2002/2003 and requires that 51.80722% of each installment be treated as a payment towards the assessment. The remaining 48.192771% is treated as a payment towards the fine. The fine amount must be further divided, with 56% of the amount being retained by the county, and 44% being remitted to the state. The assessment amount must further be divided, with 64.65 being transmitted to the state, and 35.35 being retained by the county for victims' services. Prior to making these computations, you must determine what other assessments may apply (conviction surcharge, DUI assessments, etc.). Those charges must be collected separately and not included in the percentage splits explained above. Funds collected as installments should not be held until full payment is received but must be remitted each month to the county treasurer. To compensate for any slight shift in funds, the division of the final installment payment should be adjusted so that the portion collected as the assessment does not exceed the amount originally imposed.

When an individual pays the fine and/or assessment through installments, Section 14-17-725 provides that an additional 3% of the installment payment must be collected as a collection cost charge. The collection cost is transmitted to the county treasurer for deposit to the county general fund.

See "Attachment A" for examples of the above mentioned collections and disbursements when cases are transferred from the general sessions court. The docket sheets may be used to transmit the funds described above to the county treasurer but the cases transferred from general sessions court should be recorded on docket sheets reserved for those cases only and clearly marked as such so that the county treasurer can make the correct distribution to the state treasurer. "Attachment E" may also be used to transmit these funds to the county treasurer.

C.  Magistrates' civil fees and costs
1. Schedules provided in Sections 8-21-1010 and 8-21-1060

The schedules of civil fees and costs which are to be collected by magistrates and deposited in the general fund of the county, as set forth above in IV.A.5., are found in Sections 8-21-1020 and 8-21-1060 of the Code. These statutes also specify fees for proceedings on a coroners inquest, for summoning a coroner's jury and witnesses, and mileage for serving criminal process. The fee for filing a civil action in magistrate's court by summons and complaint is $25 with an additional $5 plus mileage for service by the magistrate's constable.

2. Exception, Section 8-21-1020

Although it is not absolutely clear due to a misreference in Section 8-21-1020, it is the general practice that any person may be relieved from payment of magistrates court costs provided by Section 8-21-1010 and 8-21-1060, including costs of constables, upon a finding of indigency by the magistrate.

3. Exception, Section 20-4-4(f)

Section 20-4-40(f) prohibits charging a filing fee for the filing of an order of protection from domestic abuse.

4. Section 16-3-1750(D) prohibits charging a filing fee for filing a complaint and motion for a restraining order against harassment or stalking.
5. Other miscellaneous fee

Fee for issuing warrant for ejection of trespasser, see Section 15-67-630
V. Municipal Courts
A. General Rule for Distribution of Revenue
1.  Municipal Judges' criminal fines, penalties, or forfeitures, Section 14-25-85

Generally, the revenue generated from criminal fines, penalties, and forfeitures in municipal court is retained by the municipality. However, you may encounter seven exceptions to this rule. These exceptions, which are discussed below, are bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260; insurance fraud, Section 38-55-560; cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-160; game or fish law violations, Sections 50-1-150 and 170; size and weight violations, Section 56-5-4160; carriers of household goods and hazardous waste for disposal, Section 58-23-590(E); and cases transferred from general sessions court, Section 22-3-545.

Every criminal fine and penalty collected by the municipal court is to be forthwith turned over by the municipal court clerk to the municipal treasurer for which such court is held. It is recommended that copies of the docket be transmitted with the monies to facilitate accounting of deposits with the treasurer.

2. Magistrates serving as Municipal Judges, Sections 14-25-25 and 22-1-70; Exception

A county magistrate may also serve as a municipal judge pursuant to a contract between the county and the city and an order of authorization executed by the Chief Justice. When a magistrate so presides over a municipal court, the fines and penalties imposed and collected shall be turned over to the city treasurer rather than being remitted to the county treasurer as normally required by Section 22-1-90.

An exception is provided by Section 22-1-70 in that when, by law any person is entitled, as an informer, to any portion of such fine or penalty, such portion shall immediately be paid over to the informer. In such event, the magistrate should execute an order requiring this payment and immediately turn over the informer's portion to the city treasurer with a copy of the order for disbursement by the treasurer. This procedure will ensure a proper audit trail.

3. Assessment, Section 14-1-208

Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act, which suspends Section 14-1-208 for the fiscal year 2002- 2003, requires any person who is convicted of, pleading guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeiting bond for an offense tried in municipal court on or after July 1, 2002 to pay an assessment in an amount equal to 107.5% of the fine actually imposed. If a portion of the fine is suspended, the assessment is calculated on the amount of the fine that is not suspended.

The assessment cannot be waived, reduced, or suspended. The amount collected as assessments must be forwarded each month to the municipal treasurer, who shall retain 11.16% of the revenue generated by the assessment for the municipality and transmit the remaining 88.84% by the fifteenth of each month to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him.

The 11.16% retained by the municipality must be used exclusively for providing victim services as required by Article 15 of Title 16; specifically, those service requirements that are imposed on local law enforcement, local detention facilities, prosecutors, and the summary courts. First priority must be given to those victims' assistance programs which are required by Article 15 of Title 16 and second priority must be given to programs which expand victims' services beyond those required by Article 15 of Title 16. Any funds retained by the municipal treasurer which are not used for victim services at the end of the fiscal year must be carried forward to the next year and used exclusively for services for victims of crimes. All unused funds must be separately identified in the municipality's adopted budget as funds unused and carried forward from previous years.

To ensure that fines and assessments imposed pursuant to this section and section 14-1-209(C) are properly collected and remitted to the State Treasurer, the annual independent external audit required to be performed by each municipality pursuant to Section 5-7-240 must include a review of the accounting controls over the collection, reporting and distribution of fines and assessments from the point of collection to the point of distribution and a supplementary schedule indicating all fines and assessments collected by the clerk of the municipal court, the amount of fines and assessments retained by the city treasurer, and the amount fines and assessments remitted to the state treasurer, and the total funds, by source, allocated to victim services activities, how those funds were expended, and any balances carried forward. Within thirty days of the issuance of the audited financial statement, the municipality must submit a copy to the State Treasurer, and a statement of the actual cost associated with the preparation of supplementary schedule required in this subsection, 14-1-208(E). Upon submission to the State Treasurer, the city may retain and pay from the fines and assessments collected pursuant to this section the actual expense charged by the external auditor for the preparation of the supplementary schedule, not to exceed $1,000 each year.

The clerk of court and municipal treasurer shall keep records of fines and assessments required to be reviewed under this section in the format determined by the county council.

4.  Surcharge on all convictions, Section 14-1-211

In addition to all other assessments and surcharges, a twenty-five dollar surcharge is imposed on all convictions obtained in municipal court. The surcharge must not be imposed on convictions for misdemeanor traffic offenses. However, the surcharge applies to all violations of Section 56-5-2930, driving under the influence of liquor, drugs, or like substances, and Section 56-5-2933, DUI Per Se. No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended. Any funds retained by the municipal treasurer pursuant to this Section must be deposited into a separate account for the exclusive use for all activities related to victims services. For the purpose of funds allocation and expenditure, these funds are a part of the general funds of the municipality. These funds must be appropriated for the exclusive purpose of providing victim as required by Article 15 of Title 16; specifically, those service requirements that are imposed on local law enforcement, local detention facilities, prosecutors, and summary courts. First priority must be given to those victims' assistance programs which are required by Article 15 of Title 16 and second priority must be given to programs which expand victims' services beyond those required by Article 15 of Title 16. These funds may be used for, but are not limited to, salaries, equipment that includes computer equipment and Internet access, or other expenditures necessary for providing services to crime victims. All unused funds must be carried forward from year to year and used exclusively for victim services . All unused funds must be separately identified in the county's adopted budget as funds unused and carried forward from previous years.

The surcharge revenue retained by the city must be reported to the State Treasurer monthly in a form and manner required by that office. To insure that surcharges imposed pursuant to Section 14-1-211(A) are properly collected and remitted to the city treasurer, the annual independent external audit required to be performed by each city pursuant to Section 5-7-240 must include a review of the accounting controls over the collection, reporting and distribution of surcharges from the point of collection to the point of distribution and a supplementary schedule detailing the amount of surcharges collected at the court level, the amount retained by the city treasurer, the amount of funds allocated to victim services by fund source, how those funds were expended, and any carry forward balances.

5. Surcharge on convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), Section 14-1-211(A)(2)

Section 14-1-211(A)(2) requires that a one hundred dollar surcharge be imposed on all convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se). No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended. These funds should be clearly designated when transmitted to your city treasurer and then forwarded to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall put these funds in a separate account to be used for spinal chord research at MUSC.

All one-time operating and administrative costs for county and municipal government related to computer upgrades or programming related to these surcharges shall be deducted from the revenue collected pursuant to (A)(2) before remission to the State Treasurer.

6. DUI assessment, Section 56-5-2995(A)

In addition to the assessment discussed in V.A.3., the surcharge discussed in V.A.4., and the assessment discussed in V.A.5 above, a twelve dollar assessment must be imposed for all convictions of Section 56-5-2930, DUI, and Section 56-5-2933, DUI Per Se, obtained in municipal court. These funds should be clearly designated and transferred to your city treasurer for remittance to the state treasurer for disbursal pursuant to Section 14-1-201.

7. Administrative court costs in fraudulent check cases, Sections 34-11- 70(b) and (c), and 34-11-90(c) and (d)

In most fraudulent check cases, the court is entitled to collect reasonable administrative court costs not to exceed forty-one dollars. This amount is collected from the prosecuting witness if the court dismisses the case for want of prosecution, Section 34-11-70(b), or from the defendant if the court dismisses the case upon satisfactory proof of restitution, Section 34-11-70(c). If the case goes to trial and the defendant is convicted, the cost shall be collected, Section 34-11-90(d), even if the sentence is required to be suspended as provided in Section 34-11-90(c).

Whenever there is a conviction, the assessment discussed in V.A.3. and V.A.4. above must be collected along with the fine and administrative court cost. If the fine was ultimately suspended, the assessment is computed and collected based on the amount of the fine that is not suspended.

8. Payment of the fine and assessment by installments, Section 14-1-209(c) and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725

When the fine and assessment are paid in installments, Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act suspends Section 14-1-209(B) for the fiscal year 2002/2003 and requires that 51.80722% of each installment be treated as a payment towards the assessment. The remaining 48.192771% is treated as a payment towards the fine. The assessment amount must further be divided, with 88.84 being transmitted to the state, and 11.16 being retained by the municipality for victims' services. Prior to making these computations, you must determine what other assessments may apply (conviction surcharge, DUI assessments, etc.). Those charges must be collected separately and not included in the percentage splits explained above. Funds collected as installments should not be held until full payment is received but must be remitted each month to the city treasurer. To compensate for this slight shift in funds, the division of the final installment payment should be adjusted so that the portion collected as the assessment does not exceed the amount originally imposed..

When an individual pays the fine, assessment, or restitution through installments, Section 14-17-725 provides that the municipal court must collect an additional 3% of the installment payment as a collection cost charge. The collection cost is transmitted to the municipal treasurer for deposit to the municipal general fund.

B. Exceptions to the general rule

We have identified seven exceptions, that may be encountered, to the general rule that the municipality receives all of the revenue from criminal fines, penalties, and forfeitures in municipal court.

1. Bond estreatments, Section 17-15-260

If a case was originated by a municipality and the bond is estreated, Section 17-15-260 provides that the funds are divided as follows: 25% to the state general fund, 25% to the solicitor's office, 25% to the county general fund, and 25% to the municipality. The funds should be turned over to the municipal treasurer on a monthly basis and the state and county's share should be transmitted to the state treasurer and county treasurer.

a.  Payment of estreatment in installments, Section 38-53-70

Section 38-53-70 provides that the court may allow the surety to pay an estreatmeant in installments for a period of up to six months. However, the surety must pay a handling fee to the court in an amount equal to 4% of the value of the bond. That fee is retained by municipality in which the bond was estreated.

2.  Insurance fraud, Section 38-55-560

Section 38-55-560 requires that 100% of all criminal fines generated from violations of Section 38-55-170 or 540 must be transmitted to the Insurance Fraud Division of the Office of the Attorney General. The statute provides that SLED and the Attorney General divide these funds equally, and those two agencies have entered into a written whereby the Attorney General receives the funds and then makes the proper distribution to SLED. These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the municipal treasurer so that the proper amount of funds can be transmitted to Byron R. Roberts, Director, Insurance Fraud Division, Office of the Attorney General, P. O. Box 11549, Columbia, South Carolina 29211. The assessment discussed above in V.A.3. and V.A.4. above should be collected on criminal insurance fraud violations. See "Attachment I" for use in transmitting these funds to the municipal treasurer.

3.  Cruelty to animals, Section 47-1-60

Section 47-1-160 requires that, if the court determines that there was a nonprofit humane organization in the municipality or county materially involved in or aiding in the prosecution of a violation of any cruelty to animal offense found in Chapter 1 of Title 47 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, one half of the fine must be distributed to that organization. The remainder of the fine shall be retained by the municipality. These funds should be clearly designated on your report to your municipal treasurer so the proper amount of the fines is transmitted to the appropriate agency. The assessment discussed in V.A.3. and V.A.4. above should be collected on all cruelty to animal violations. See "Attachment J" for use in transmitting these funds to your municipal treasurer.

4. Game or fish law violations, Sections 50-1-150 and 50-1-170

All fines and forfeitures from violations of any game, nongame or fish law shall be transmitted to the municipal treasurer according to Section 50-1-150. The treasurer then transmits the funds, less the assessment discussed in V.A.3. above, to the Department of Natural Resources, Accounting Department. The remittances shall be accompanied by a statement showing the name of all persons fined, the amount of each fine, the summons number and the court in which each fine was collected. Beaufort County is permitted by Section 50-1-170 to retain all commercial fish and game law fines collected in that county when the violators are prosecuted by the sheriff. Fines, etc. from violations of the Coastal Fisheries Law (Chapter 17 of Title 50) are similarly remitted to the state. Game or fish law violations are subject to the assessment set forth in V.A.3. and V.A.4. above.

The Department of Natural Resources monitors the disposition of all wildlife cases. When game or fish law violations are disposed of in your court, you may expect to receive an invoice similar to the one marked "Attachment G".

5. Axle weight and gross weight violations, Section 56-5-4160

Section 56-5-4160 provides that all fines collected for violating the weight limits set by Section 56-5-4130 or Section 56-5-4140 must be deposited within 45 days in the account designated the "Size and Weight Revitalization Program Fund for Permanent Improvements". These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the municipal treasurer so that the proper amount of fines can be transmitted to the State Transport Police at 220 Executive Center Drive, Winthrop Building, Suite 200, Columbia, South Carolina 29210. The assessment discussed in V.A.3., but not V.A.4., above should be collected on weight violations.

6.  Carriers of household goods and hazardous waste for disposal, Section 58-23-590(E)

Section 58-23-590(E) requires that 75% of each fine generated from a violation of Section 58-23-40 be deposited with the Office of Compliance with the Public Service Commission. The county retains the remaining 25% of the fine. These funds should be clearly noted on your report to the municipal treasurer so that the proper amount of fines can be transmitted to the Public Service Commission, Comptroller, Post Office Drawer 11649, Columbia, South Carolina 29211. The assessment discussed in V.A.3. and V.A.4. above should be collected on these violations.

See "Attachment C" for examples of the above mentioned collections and disbursements. A transmittal form which may be used to remit the state's portion of the funds described above to the municipal treasurer can be found at "Attachment F".

7. Cases transferred from the general sessions court, Section 22-3-545
a. General Rule
i. Disbursement and division of revenue, Sections 14-1-205 and 14-17-720

Section 22-3-545 establishes a procedure for transferring certain cases from the general sessions court to the municipal court for disposition and provides that the revenue generated by these cases shall be distributed as if the fines had been imposed in the circuit court. The general rule for distribution of revenue generated from fines in general sessions court is that, pursuant to Section 14-1-205, 56% of all such money (after any payments to informants pursuant to Section 14-17-720) shall be paid over to the county. The remaining 44% of the revenues generated from fines must be forwarded each month to the county treasurer for remittance to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him.

The procedure for transferring cases pursuant to Section 22-3-545 does not affect the cases that are remanded to the municipal court for disposition on a lesser included offense within the court's jurisdiction.

ii. Assessment, Section 14-1-206(A)

Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act, which suspends Section 14-1-206 for the fiscal year 2002- 2003, requires any person who is convicted, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeits bond for an offense tried in general sessions court on or after July 1, 2002 to pay an assessment in an amount equal to 107.5% of the fine actually imposed. If a portion of the fine is suspended, the assessment is calculated on the amount of the fine required to be paid.

The assessment cannot be waived, reduced, or suspended. The amount collected as assessments must be forwarded each month to the county treasurer, who shall forward 35.35% to the county treasurer and 64.65% to the state treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him. The 35.35% retained by he county must be used for the provision of services for victims including those required by law. A thorough explanation of the handling of these retained funds can be found at I.A.2. above.

iii. Conviction surcharge, Section 14-1-211

In addition to all other assessments and surcharges, a one hundred dollar surcharge is imposed on all convictions obtained in general sessions court. The surcharge must not be imposed on convictions for misdemeanor traffic offenses. However, the surcharge applies to all violations of Section 56-5-2930, driving under the influence of liquor, drugs, or like substances, and Section 56-5-2933, DUI Per Se. No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended.

The revenue collected pursuant to Section 14-1-211 must be retained by the jurisdiction which heard or processed the case and paid to the county treasurer for the purpose of providing services for victims of crimes, including those required by law. Any funds retained by the county treasurer pursuant to this Section must be deposited into a separate account for the exclusive use for all activities related to victims' services. A thorough explanation of the handling of these funds can be found at I.A.3. above.

iv. Surcharge on convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se), Section 14-1-211(A)(2)

Section 14-1-211(A)(2) requires that a one hundred dollar surcharge be imposed on all convictions of Sections 56-5-2930(DUI) and 56-5-2933(DUI Per Se). No portion of the surcharge may be waived, reduced, or suspended. These funds should be clearly designated when transmitted to your city treasurer and then forwarded to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall put these funds in a separate account to be used for spinal chord research at MUSC.

v. DUI assessment, Section 56-5-2995(B)

In addition to the assessments and surcharges discussed in V.B.7.a.ii., V.B.7.a.iii. and V.B.7.a.iv. above, an additional assessment of twelve dollars must be added to all convictions for Section 56-5-2930, DUI, Section 56-5-2933, DUI Per Se, and for all convictions for Section 56-5-2945, Felony DUI. These funds should be transferred to your city treasurer for transmittal to the state treasurer for disbursal pursuant to Section 14-1-201.

vi. Payment of the fine and assessment by installments, Section 14-1-209(A) and 3% collection cost charge, Section 14-17-725

When the fine and assessment are paid in installments, Section 35.11 of the Temporary Provisions of the General Appropriations Act suspends Section 14-1-209(B) for the fiscal year 2002/2003 and requires that 51.80722% of each installment be treated as a payment towards the assessment. The remaining 48.192771% is treated as a payment towards the fine. The fine amount must be further divided, with 56% of the amount being retained by the county, and 44% being remitted to the state. The assessment amount must further be divided, with 64.65 being transmitted to the state, and 35.35 being retained by the county for victims' services. Prior to making these computations, you must determine what other assessments may apply (conviction surcharge, DUI assessments, etc.). Those charges must be collected separately and not included in the percentage splits explained above. Funds collected as installments should not be held until full payment is received but must be remitted each month to the county treasurer. To compensate for any slight shift in funds, the division of the final installment payment should be adjusted so that the portion collected as the assessment does not exceed the amount originally imposed.

When an individual pays the fine and/or assessment through installments, Section 14-17-725 provides that an additional 3% of the installment payment must be collected as a collection cost charge. The collection cost is transmitted to the municipal treasurer for deposit to the municipal general fund.

See "Attachment A" for examples of the above mentioned collections and disbursements when cases are transferred from the general sessions court. A transmittal form which may be used to remit the funds described above to the municipal treasurer can be found at "Attachment E".

VI. Register of Deeds Fees and Related Charges
A. General Provisions, Section 8-21-310

On June 19, 1980 the Attorney General issued an Opinion responding to various questions raised by Court Administration as to the proper fees to be charged relative to the office of the Register of Deeds. Please consider this section as an update of that Opinion which was distributed by this office on July 7, 1980.

The following subsections refer to the appropriate paragraphs in Section 8-21-310. As to the proper fee for:

1. filing a mechanics lien - subsection (9), $10 and an additional $1 per page for any document more than four pages;

2. filing a partial release of a mortgage - subsection (3), $6 unless part of the original instrument when initially filed; if the instrument affects more than one mortgage or lien, $6 for each mortgage or lien affected and $1 per page for any instrument exceeding one page;

3. filing a transcript of judgment from another county - no charge (There is no specific provision for such in the section. However, subsection (11)(c) does provide the fee for transcripts of judgment from magistrates' courts and federal district courts which is $5;

4. filing a lis pendens which is accompanied by a summons and complaint - $100 as provided by subsection (11)(a) ($100 is not collected twice in this instance);

5. filing a confession of judgment - subsection (11)(d); $10

6. filing a change of name petition - Section 15-49-30, Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended, provides that the fee is the same as provided in Section 8-21-310(11)(a).

7. transfer of property to probate court or vice versa - subsection (9), $10 and an additional $1 per page for any document more than four pages;

8. filing appeals in civil matters from agencies, probate courts, arbitration panels, magistrates, etc. - $100 as provided by subsection (11)(a);

9. assuring an exemplification of records - subsection (17), $1;

10. filing of arbitration cases - $100 as provided by subsection (11)(a); except as provided in Section 38-77-720 (arbitration of automobile accidents).

11. filing of mental health liens - no charge (Section 44-23-1140);

12. filing of partnership agreements - subsection (15), $5;

13. filing of articles of association - subsection (15), $5;

14. filing of a satisfaction of judgment - subsection (11)(a) provides for no charge.

B. Specific Questions, Sections 8-21-310 and 14-1-205

On June 19, 1990 the Attorney General answered specific questions asked by Court Administration. The following paragraphs are taken from that opinion and updated by this office to reflect the most recent changes to fee schedules and statutes.

As to the question of what Section 8-21-310(17) covers, it appears that the fee of $1 permitted by such subsection should be charged for any document true copied and certified.

As to the question of whether an additional fee is permitted pursuant to Section 8-21-310(6) for filing an Affidavit for Title to Real Estate which accompanies a deed to be recorded, please be advised that if such Affidavit is simultaneously presented along with the deed, no fee should be charged in addition to the fee permitted by Section 8-21-310(1) for recording a deed. However, if such Affidavit is presented separately, Section 8-21-310(6) which permits a $10 fee should control.

As to the question concerning whether there is a fee for recording an assignment when the assignment is recorded at the same time as a mortgage dealing with the same transaction, Section 8-21-310(3) provides no fee shall be charged for such simultaneous recording.

Concerning the question as to whether Section 8-21-310(5) covers recording fees for releases of mortgages and subordination of mortgages, in the opinion of this Office, Section 8-21-310(3) which provides a fee for recording a written instrument affecting title to property "or lien for the payment of money" should be considered as providing the appropriate fee. As to the question concerning the fee for recording satisfactions not on the original mortgage, Section 8-21-310(5) providing a five $5 fee should be construed as controlling.

As to the question concerning whether the fee provided by Section 8-21-310(10) includes the documentary stamp fee, in the opinion of this Office, any fees for documentary stamps are totally separate and should not be considered as being included in the fee permitted by Section 8-21-310(10).

In a separate question it was asked whether Section 8-21-310(17) requires a fee to be paid for attesting copies and signing subpoenas. In the opinion of this Office, the phraseology "issuing an official certificate under seal of court" requires payment of a fee for attesting copies but not for signing subpoenas.

It has also been asked whether Section 8-21-310(13) and (14) apply to both civil and criminal cases. In the opinion of this Office, Section 8-21-310(13) applies to bail for both civil and criminal defendants. However, Section 8-21-310(14) is applicable only to civil proceedings.

As to the question whether Section 8-21-310(14), which states in part, "for taking and filing bond or security costs, one dollar...." should be read as "for taking and filing bond or security for costs", in the opinion of this Office, the inclusion of the word "for" would appear to be appropriate. I am unaware of any requirement for "security costs" and therefore it appears that the omission of the word "for" was an oversight.

Concerning Section 8-21-310(13), it was asked where the $1 fee permitted is paid for filing a bond and later the surety is justified, should the dollar paid be subtracted from the $10 fee. Such subsection simply states:

"(f)or taking and filing an order for bail with or without bond, one dollar; with bond when surety must be justified, ten dollars;"

As can be seen there is no provision indicating that the one dollar fee should be deducted. Therefore, it appears that $10 would be the proper filing fee when the surety is later justified.

Section 8-21-310(15) states that a $5 fee is required to be paid "for filing or recording any commission of notary public or other public office...."You have asked whether the phrase "other public office" includes county councils and boards they commission, all elected officials, appointments by the Governor, Deputy Sheriffs, and Constables. In the opinion of this Office, the five dollar fee provided must be paid for filing and recording the commission of any office holder who comes within the general definition of "public officer." Section 8-1-10, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, defines "public officers" as

"... all officers of the State that have heretofore been commissioned and trustees of the various colleges of the State, members of various State boards and other persons whose duties are defined by law."

Such term has been further defined to include those individuals

"... charged by law with duties involving an exercise of some part of the sovereign power, either small or great, in the performance of which are continuing and not occasional or intermittent...." State v. Belue, 78 S.C. 171 at 174, 58 S.E. 762 (1907).

As to those individuals referenced by that question, it appears that they would be included in the term "public officer" and thus would have to pay the five dollar fee when filing their commissions with the clerk of court's office.

It was also asked whether the fee provided by Section 8-21-310(1) for recording a deed or mortgage includes the auditor's fee charged in some counties. You further asked whether it is proper for a county to charge an additional fee for the auditor? In the opinion of this Office the fee provided by Section 8-21-310(1) for recording a deed or mortgage is simply the fee for recording and should not be considered as encompassing any other fee, such as a fee for an auditor's office. It is specifically provided by Section 8-21-130, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976 that:

"For every entry and endorsement on any deed of conveyance of real property recorded in his office, each county auditor shall receive a fee of twenty-five cents."

This is a totally separate fee from that received for recording an instrument.

As to whether it is proper for a county to charge an additional fee for the auditor, I am unaware of any statutory authority which would permit a county to require certain fees be collected by an auditor and therefore, only those fees provided by state statute may be charged. Generally, neither the county council nor the auditor himself has the authority to alter, expand, or diminish the powers of the office of county auditor except as specifically authorized by statute. Furthermore, a review of Act. No. 283 of 1975, the "home rule" legislation, does not appear to provide authority for either an auditor or a county council to require that additional fees be collected by a county auditor.

In another question it was asked whether Section 8-21-310(8) requires recording foreclosure or partition decrees in mortgage or deed books or can these decrees merely be filed in the judgment roll and a fee charged pursuant to Section 8-21-310(9). Generally, foreclosure or partition decrees are filed in the judgment roll. Pursuant to Section 8-21-310(11)(a) no fee should be charged for such filing. Therefore, as to whether a fee would be charged pursuant to Section 8-21-310(9), it appears such section is inapplicable to filing foreclosure of partition decrees in a judgment roll. As to whether Section 8-21-310(8) requires recording such decrees in mortgage or deed books, there is no requirement that such decrees be recorded in deed books or mortgage books. However, if it is desired that such decrees be recorded in deed books or mortgage books, the fee permitted by Section 8-21-310(8) should be collected.

A separate question asked whether every fee covered by Section 8-21-310 is to be distributed 44% to the State and 56% to the county. Section 14-1-205, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, as amended, provides:

"Except as provided in Sections 17-15-260, 34-11-90, 50-1-150, 50-1-170, and 56-5-4160, on January 1, 1995, 56 percent of all costs, fees, fines, penalties, forfeitures, and other revenues generated by the circuit courts and the family courts must be remitted to the county in which the proceeding is instituted and 44% of the revenues must be delivered to the county treasurer to be remitted monthly by the fifteenth day of each month to the State Treasurer on forms and in a manner prescribed by him..."

In the opinion of this Office, the above provision which mandates the proportioning of certain monies is applicable to all costs, fees, fines, penalties, forfeitures or other revenues generated pursuant to Sections 8-21-310(11)(a) and (22) but does not include those recording and filing fees otherwise provided by Section 8-21-310.

It was also asked whether county governing bodies may impose fees to be collected by the clerks of court and registers of deeds above those fees provided by Section 8-21-310 or for items not covered by such section. As to fees to be collected by clerks of court and registers of deeds, any fees additional to those permitted by Section 8-21-310 and any fees for items not covered by such provision are improper and may not be collected. Of course, counties could require that fees be collected for such services as copying which require the use of equipment maintained by a county for use by the clerk of court or register of deeds.