In the state of South Carolina officers may arrest without warrant for offenses committed in view, according to SECTION 17-13-30 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.
The sheriffs and deputy sheriffs of this State may arrest without warrant any and all persons who, within their view, violate any of the criminal laws of this State if such arrest be made at the time of such violation of law or immediately thereafter.
No warrant is needed for an arrest if:
- The police witness the crime take place
- The police believe the suspect has probably committed a crime
- An eyewitness to the crime identifies the suspect as the culprit of a crime
However, if there is an arrest or bench warrant issued for an individual the law enforcement officers may arrest and detain the person named in the warrant at any time and at any place.
If you believe that you or somebody that you know has a warrant, we recommend that you do a South Carolina warrant search to know for sure so that you can take action on your own terms.
Active Warrants in South Carolina
Warrants in the state of South Carolina do not go away or expire after time. As long as a person has an outstanding warrant they will have to face the court sooner or later…unless they die.
In some cases, law enforcement will actively seek out an individual if the warrant is due to a serious felony such as:
With cases that are not so threatening, law enforcement might not actively pursue the defendant. Police will allow for circumstances such as a traffic stop, or another form of police contact to apprehend the subject. One way or another, most people with warrants end up in the courtroom
A warrant is an official document that has been signed by a judge in order to execute a deliberate action towards an individual that is expected to appear in a court of law. The directions that are written out in the document will vary from one person to the next based on the details of the situation.
Some warrants will demand that law enforcement conduct a search and seizure operation in order to discover evidence that will support that the named individual has done a crime. Some warrants will specify that the person named in the warrant be arrested and booked into jail. Some warrants will state that law enforcement commands the person to appear in court by way of summons.
In any event, an active - or outstanding - warrant means that the person named on it should expect an encounter with law enforcement at any given time.
Types of Warrants in South Carolina
The only way that a warrant can be issued is if a judge or a magistrate signs the document. Without the signature of one of these, a warrant will only be a piece of paper.
There are three basic types of warrants that are issued in the State of South Carolina:
- Arrest warrant
- Bench warrant
- Search warrant
Although all three types of warrants are written up and signed by a judge, they have significant differences that define the source of the warrant and how the execution of the warrant shall be carried out.
Warrant Records Search
Arrest Warrants in South Carolina
When somebody has an arrest warrant issued against them in South Carolina it means that they have been accused of committing a crime and that the judge wants to see them in court to hold them accountable.
Some of the reasons that a warrant for arrest can be issued are:
- District attorney files charges
- Law enforcement believes the suspect has probably committed a crime
- Investigators uncovered evidence that implicates the defendant
In some cases, law enforcement officers will directly request an arrest warrant from the judge before any charges have been filed because there is an urgent matter at hand that involves public safety and they need to get the person off of the streets.
Normally when an arrest warrant is issued it is because the district attorney has been in contact with law enforcement and has established enough evidence to officially charge the defendant with a crime. Once the charges have been filed, the DA will request that the judge issue a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant.
Bench Warrants in South Carolina
When a judge issues a bench warrant in the state of South Carolina it is usually due to a defendant’s negligence regarding a court order. Whenever a person fails to comply with a court order, they are in jeopardy of getting a bench warrant issued in their name.
Some common instances of when a judge will issue a bench warrant are:
- Failure to report to jury duty
- Failure to appear at a court hearing
- Failure to pay a fine on time
A bench warrant is much like an arrest warrant because it gives law enforcement permission to place an individual under arrest and bring them to jail. Depending on the severity of the warrant police can choose to pursue the defendant aggressively, or not.
Typically law enforcement will not kick down a door in order to arrest somebody with a bench warrant, however, if the defendant is out on bail for a murder case and they don’t show up for a court date police might have a justifiable reason to kick down the door in order to make an arrest.
In most cases, the police will not chase down a person with a bench warrant, but they will wait for them to slip up and get pulled over in a vehicle for whatever reason. However, if a person has a bench warrant when they get pulled over there is a good chance that they will go to jail, especially if they have been avoiding sentencing, or avoiding the court for any reason.
Search Warrants in South Carolina
When a judge approves a request for a search warrant it is because a law enforcement officer or the district attorney has presented sufficient evidence of probable cause that the named individual has evidence to be found that could associate them with a crime.
Search warrants are usually granted when:
- An eyewitness claims to have seen evidence
- Probable cause suggests evidence of a crime is present
- A solid tip informs the police of a crime
When a search warrant is signed into action law enforcement is expected to carry out the search as soon as possible, while obeying the stipulations listed within the document.
The warrant will include information such as:
- The name of the defendant
- The address of the property to be searched
- An outline of what can be searched and where
At the time of the issuance of the warrant the only people that will be involved are the judge that is approving the warrant and the people that are requesting it. There is no announcement to the subject of the warrant, and the warrant will remain non-public until it is carried out. Everything is kept confidential until the order has been executed so that the person named in the warrant will not have a chance to destroy incriminating evidence.
There are laws in place that are supposed to protect citizens from unlawful or unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment is designed to keep the government from overstepping its boundaries. However, the balance between the need to keep the public safe and to provide personal privacy often conflicts with each other, and public safety prevails.
***Regardless of which state you live in it is always wise to contact an attorney for any questions that you may have when it comes to warrant laws or any other legal concerns. The content found on this website is only for informational purposes and is not to be mistaken for legal advice.