Knowing your rights and options can lead to smart decisions.
Having a warrant out for your arrest in South Carolina can be stressful and may feel overwhelming. But to avoid additional penalties, arrest warrants should be dealt with right away. For people wanted by the police, understanding your rights and potential legal options can lead to smart decisions and actions that support your best interests.
Two types of warrants
In South Carolina, there are two primary types of warrants: arrest warrants and bench warrants.
- Arrest warrants are issued when a law enforcement official convinces a magistrate or municipal judge that there is "probable cause" a crime was committed by the individual named in their request. Warrants can be issued for alleged misdemeanor and federal crimes, including burglary, theft, white-collar crimes, insurance fraud, internet crimes, assault and battery, sexual assault, and domestic violence, among other charges.
- Bench warrants are typically issued for failing to comply with court orders, such as appearing in court or paying fines.
How to handle South Carolina arrest warrants
The best way to address a warrant for arrest will depend on the charges and circumstances of the case. But in general, here are the steps to address a South Carolina warrant:
- Gather information. Collect relevant information about the warrant, including the alleged charges, the issuing court, and any additional details. A criminal defense lawyer can help access and interpret this information.
- Consult with a criminal defense attorney. If you think you have a warrant, you should seek legal counsel. A criminal defense lawyer can explain how the law applies to your specific case, your potential legal options, and your possible defense strategies.
- Surrender. Turning yourself in when there is a warrant is a crucial step in resolving the matter. Your attorney can advise you on how to surrender in a way that helps ensure your safety and minimizes potential negative consequences.
South Carolina arrest warrant process
Every warrant is different, and circumstances will determine when and how police decide to make an arrest. However, there is a general process that follows the issuance of a South Carolina arrest warrant:
- Execution of warrant. In South Carolina, arrest warrants don't expire, and police can decide when to enforce them. Ideally, arrest warrants should be served in a timely manner, but there is no official timeline for this.
- Temporary confinement. After an arrest, a suspect will likely be brought to the nearest detention center and turned over to center personnel for temporary confinement.
- Arraignment. People are typically arraigned on charges within a day of the arrest. However, individuals arrested over the weekend may have to wait until Monday for their court date. At the arraignment, the defendant will be notified of the specific charges against them and enter a plea. If they are eligible, during the arraignment, the court will determine the amount of bond required for the suspect's release.
- Bond/bail/jail. After arraignment, a suspect usually goes through the booking process, during which records are started or updated. A photo and fingerprints are also taken. Following booking, a suspect is released under bond or incarcerated.
If you have a warrant, don't ignore it.
It is important to remember that an arrest warrant does not imply guilt; everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If there is a warrant for your arrest, don't face the complexities of criminal charges alone. We can help. Columbia criminal defense attorney Matt Bodman has been providing dedicated and aggressive legal representation to South Carolinians accused of crimes for 25 years. Our law firm has a track record of success - whether that's negotiating a plea deal, seeking dismissal of charges, or litigating at trial.
If you have been charged with a crime in South Carolina or you know or suspect that there is a warrant for your arrest, you need to act fast. A member of our team is available to hear from you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can listen to the details of your case, explain your potential options, and help you decide what to do next. Contact us today for a free consultation.