The Municipal Court for the Town of Seabrook Island has jurisdiction to try all cases arising under the ordinances of the town, as well as criminal cases made under state law within the corporate limits of the town.
The Municipal Judge and Clerk of Court are tasked with ensuring that all cases are handled fairly, impartially and expeditiously. They are also responsible for protecting each citizen's right to due process under the law. The Municipal Judge and the Clerk of Court are appointed by the Mayor and Town Council.
The Municipal Judge hears and determines all cases within the court's jurisdiction. The powers and duties of a Municipal Judge are the same as those of a magistrate with regard to criminal matters; however, municipal courts do not have jurisdiction over civil matters.
Whenever the Municipal Judge finds a party guilty of violating a municipal ordinance or a state law within the court's jurisdiction, he or she may impose a fine not to exceed $500.00, imprisonment of up to 30 days, or both. The municipal judge may suspend sentences upon such terms and conditions as he or she deems proper including, without limitation, restitution and community service. The Municipal Judge also has the power to punish for contempt of court by imposition of sentences.
The Clerk of Court is responsible for maintaining all municipal court records and for making such reports as may be required by the Municipal Judge or the state court administrator.
The Municipal Court meets on an as-needed basis. Court is held at Town Hall, 2001 Seabrook Island Road, Seabrook Island, SC 29455.
Judge Dennis O'Neill
Judge Dennis O'Neill was sworn in as the Municipal Judge for the Town of Seabrook Island in April of 2000, and has served in that capacity for nearly two decades. Judge O'Neill has also served as a Municipal Judge with the Towns of Mount Pleasant, Sullivans Island and Island of Palms, and as a special Circuit Court Judge for the Court of Common Pleas for the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
For 40 years, Judge O'Neill has counseled and represented clients in the private practice of law, with an emphasis on general practice, criminal defense, civil litigation, real estate, mediation and arbitration.
A native of Charleston, Judge O'Neill is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the USC School of Law. He was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1978, and has been admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court (District of South Carolina), the U.S. Court of Appeals (Fourth Circuit), and the U.S. Supreme Court.