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South Carolina Warrant Search

A South Carolina Warrant Search is the process of checking if there are any outstanding warrants issued against a person in the state. It often involves searching through law enforcement databases and court records to determine if there is a warrant for a person's arrest.

Individuals may search for personal reasons, such as checking whether there is a warrant for their arrest, or legal purposes, such as employers conducting a background check on potential employees.

A warrant is a court-issued document instructing law enforcement officers to carry out specific actions. In South Carolina, a judge or magistrate of one of the state's courts must issue such an order.

Before a magistrate or judge issues a warrant, law enforcement must demonstrate probable cause. By probable cause, a law enforcement officer has to establish a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity on the suspect's part. If no established probable cause, as per the Fourth Amendment, a law enforcement officer is liable for unauthorized action.

During a South Carolina Warrant Search, one can typically find the following information:

  • Name of warrant recipient
  • The issuance date of the warrant
  • The type of warrant issued (e.g., arrest, search, or bench warrant)
  • The nature of the offense that prompted the warrant
  • The warrant's jurisdiction
  • The name of the judge who issued the warrant
  • The bond amount (if applicable)
  • The status of the warrant (active or recalled)

Access to warrants in South Carolina is generally available to the public as they are considered public records. The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is the law that governs public records access in the state, and it explicitly includes warrants within the definition of public records.

However, there are exceptions to public records access, such as records related to juveniles or records containing sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, like other states, warrants have an expiration date after which they become inactive. Generally, the length of time a warrant stays active in South Carolina depends on the warrant type.

Unlike in other states, arrest warrants in South Carolina have a shelf life of 90 days. It means that law enforcement officers have 90 days from the date the warrant is issued to arrest the person named in it. If the person is not apprehended within this time frame, the order becomes inactive, and law enforcement officers must obtain a new warrant to arrest the person.

On the other hand, a search warrant in South Carolina, following section 17-13-140 of the South Carolina Code of Laws (SCCL), stays active within ten days of its issuance. A failure to execute a search warrant within a reasonable time frame may render it invalid, requiring obtaining a new warrant.

Other common warrants in South Carolina, such as the bench and fugitive warrants, will stay active until they are executed or recalled by the court that issued them.

Unlike search and arrest warrants, there is no set expiration date for bench and fugitive warrants in South Carolina. After issuance, these orders remain active until the underlying issue is resolved, such as the defendant's court appearance or the capture and return of the fugitive to the state.

What Are the Most Common Warrants in South Carolina?

To conduct a South Carolina Warrant Search, individuals must understand the types of warrants they may encounter. The South Carolina courts issue warrants for various purposes that can have significant implications for those involved.

Therefore, it is essential to understand the different warrant types to navigate the legal system effectively and protect one's rights. The most common warrant types issued in South Carolina are listed below:

South Carolina Arrest Warrant

A South Carolina arrest warrant instructs law enforcement officers to apprehend an individual for an offense. It is an important document that explains the reasons for the arrest and what charges the person is facing.

A law enforcement officer seeking this warrant must present a written, sworn application to a magistrate or municipal judge. By section 17-13-160 of the SCCL, the Attorney General prescribes the format for issuing arrest warrants.

Before a magistrate or municipal judge can issue an arrest warrant, there must be sufficient evidence of a crime's commission and the defendant's involvement. The affidavit must contain facts, not assumptions, and the court may accept corroborating testimony from a credible source.

South Carolina considers an arrest warrant valid if a judge or magistrate issues it and has probable cause to believe that there is a commission of a crime and the person named in the warrant committed it.

The warrant must include the person's name, the offense charged, and the date and time of issuance for it to be executable. Once the judge or magistrate signs the order and attaches the court's seal, law enforcement can arrest the person named on the warrant anytime.

Arrest Without Warrant in South Carolina

In general, it's preferred for police officers to get a warrant before making an arrest. But sometimes, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the officer has a good reason to think someone committed a serious felony, they can arrest without a warrant.

However, if the person is suspected of committing a less serious crime, like a misdemeanor, the officer can only arrest if they saw the crime happen. Off-duty police officers can't make these types of arrests outside their jurisdiction.

There are also rules about using traffic tickets instead of arrest warrants for certain offenses. And if a private citizen wants to make a criminal charge against someone, they can do so with a "courtesy summons" instead of an arrest warrant. It is a legal document the person must answer in court.

If an officer arrests without a warrant, they must take the person to a judge or magistrate reasonably quickly. The judge can investigate and decide whether or not the arrest was proper.

South Carolina Search Warrant

In South Carolina, if the police want to search someone's property, they must have a unique document called a search warrant. It is a legal paper that allows the police to search a person's property, like their house or car, to find evidence of a crime.

Recorders, magistrates, city judges, or judges of a court of record can issue search warrants in South Carolina. The Attorney General's Office permits the form for all search warrant issuances under section 17-13-140 of the SCCL.

Generally, the police must have a solid reason or justification for believing that a crime has been committed and that there is evidence of that crime in the area they want to examine before they may obtain a search warrant. This reason is probable cause, and the police must explain it in writing in an affidavit document.

Furthermore, the police must support it with sworn testimony before the issuing magistrate or judge.

The magistrate or judge can order a search for stolen or embezzled property, property intended for or used in the commission of a crime, property in unlawful possession, or property serving as evidence of a crime.

In South Carolina, when a magistrate or judge issues a search warrant, they must include specific information in the warrant.

The warrant should indicate the date and time of issue, the name of the person to whom the order is addressed, the purpose for issuing the warrant, a description of the property to be searched, the property owner, and the warrant's return date.

Furthermore, when an officer enforces a search warrant, they must provide the named person with a copy of the warrant and affidavit.

It's important to note that the police can only search the property identified in the warrant and only during the time frame specified.

Search Without Warrant in South Carolina

The Fourth Amendment in South Carolina protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and police officers must obtain a search warrant before searching. However, exceptions to this rule allow officers to search without a warrant in certain circumstances.

Firstly, the automobile exemption permits police to examine a vehicle without a warrant, provided they have probable cause. This exception is necessary because cars can be easily moved, making it difficult for officers to obtain a warrant immediately.

The second exception is the search incident to a lawful arrest, which allows officers to search a person and the surrounding area without a warrant if the person has been lawfully arrested. The purpose of this exception is to ensure officer safety and prevent the destruction of evidence.

Additionally, officers do not need the warrant to search if a person consents to it, provided that the consent is voluntary and not due to coercion or duress.

The plain view doctrine is another exception that permits officers to seize evidence in plain view if they are lawfully present in the location where the evidence is found. Officers who see drugs in a car during a traffic stop can take them without a warrant.

The "stop and frisk" exception also permits officers to stop and frisk a person if they reasonably suspect that the person is involved in criminal activity. It allows officers to protect themselves and others from danger. However, if the frisk turns up evidence of a crime, officers must obtain a warrant before using that evidence in court.

These exceptions to the warrant requirement are strictly defined and intended to balance individual privacy rights with the need to maintain public safety and enforce the law.

South Carolina Bench Warrant

The bench warrant is one of the most frequently encountered warrants when conducting a South Carolina Warrant Search.

A South Carolina bench warrant is a court order that a judge issues for arresting a person who has failed to comply with a court order or has failed to appear in court. Section 38-53-70 of the SCCL allows for the issuance of bench warrants in the state.

The court may issue a bench warrant when a defendant fails to attend subsequent hearings while out on bail under recognizance, fails to pay a fine, or does not comply with a sentence.

Law enforcement officers cannot use this warrant type to initiate criminal action but can bring a defendant before the court on a specific charge. It is essential to understand that a bench warrant in South Carolina is not the same as an arrest warrant, issued when the police have probable cause to think that a person has committed a crime.

If a person receives a bench warrant, they must take it seriously and appear before the court as soon as possible. Failure to comply with a bench warrant can lead to additional legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment. Complying with court orders and attending all scheduled hearings can prevent the issuance of a bench warrant.

South Carolina Fugitive Warrant

The South Carolina fugitive warrant is a legal process used to apprehend individuals who are fugitives from justice in other states.

This warrant is issued when a reliable individual swears an affidavit stating that the person being sought committed an offense in another state, punishable by one year or more.

To invoke its constitutional right of extradition, South Carolina must meet all the criteria in the U.S. Constitution's Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2. The fugitive must be formally accused of a crime in the demanding state, have escaped the receiving state, and be a fugitive from justice.

Suppose law enforcement arrests a fugitive on a South Carolina fugitive warrant. In that case, the judge must consider the nature of the crime and compare it to similar offenses in South Carolina when setting bail. The fugitive has the right to be released on bail, provided the judge determines an appropriate amount based on such considerations.

If the fugitive is ineligible for bail, they may be committed to jail for 20 days unless the state seeking their return makes a demand before the 20 days expiration.

How To Perform Warrant Search in South Carolina

Performing a warrant search in South Carolina is essential for individuals who want to obtain information regarding outstanding warrants for themselves or others. This warrant search is critical to avoid any legal issues arising from an active warrant.

The first step in performing a warrant search in South Carolina is to gather basic information about the person for whom the search is being conducted. This information includes the suspect's personal information, such as the person's full name and date of birth, and the warrant's origin. It will help narrow the search results and ensure obtaining the correct data.

One of the most reliable ways to obtain information about outstanding warrants in South Carolina is by visiting the state's courts. The courts act as repositories for relevant public records, such as court dockets and warrant information. These records are available to those who personally visit the Office of the Clerk or on the court websites.

Another way to conduct a South Carolina Warrant Search is through the local Sheriff's websites in the various counties. The Sheriff's Association has a directory that contains the direct links, identities, and maps of the different Sheriff's Offices in the state. Interested persons can use the directory to visit the appropriate Sheriff's Office and find pending warrants.

In addition to those methods, one can obtain information on outstanding warrants by accessing the list of most wanted offenders made available to the public by the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services.

If the methods above are unsuccessful, individuals seeking comprehensive information on outstanding warrants can consider hiring a licensed and experienced private investigator.


Counties in South Carolina