Criminal Process

  1. Filing a police report is the first step in the criminal process. The report must be filed with the police department where the sexual assault occurred. It is important to file the report as soon after the assault as possible. If the survivor files a report within 120 hours of the assault, the police will transport the victim to the nearest hospital authorized to conduct a forensic medical exam (medical assistance) giving law enforcement an opportunity to obtain any possible evidence necessary to support your case should you choose to handle this through the criminal justice process. The decision to prosecute ("press charges") does not have to be made immediately when a report and exam are initiated.

    Remember to preserve any physical evidence of the assault. Do not bathe, drink, use the restroom, brush your teeth, eat, douche, or change your clothes. If you have changed, do not wash or throw away the clothes worn at the time of the assault.

    • If a sexual assault occurs on campus  Campus Police should be notified immediately. A female Campus Police officer will be dispatched (if available) to the survivor’s location to evaluate the situation for immediate medical needs, and ensure the safety of all who are present. Campus Police will contact the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to arrange a coordinated response (ex., Crime Scene, investigation, accompaniment to appropriate facility for the rape protocal exam) among the two agencies, with SLED serving as the lead agency.
    • If charges are filed and an arrest warrant issued, the assailant will be arrested and taken before a judge at a bond hearing.
      Prosecution is handled by the Charleston County Solicitor's Office. The decision to move the case through the prosecution phase is made by the Solicitor. Failure to prosecute a case does not mean that the charge is false, but that the evidence needed for a conviction may not be sufficient enough to go to trial.
      The timeframe between an arrest and a trial is approximately a year.
    • Please note:If the assault involves another student, the criminal process and disciplinary process through the College may be initiated simultaneously. The disciplinary process will normally proceed whether criminal or civil proceedings have been completed.