Title 22 of the South Carolina Criminal Code, Chapter 5 goes on to define the powers of magistrates who hear matters in the general sessions court of the various counties of South Carolina. In the various authorities granted to the sitting judge of these tribunals is the right to issue active warrants.
These are judicial orders which confer very specific right on peace officers who are in pursuit of an offender and need to bring him in. For instance, a warrant can be granted to break open the doors of a structure where in an illegal act is suspected of taking place or if a suspect in a criminal matter is found to be hiding in this place.
An arrest warrant cannot be issued unless it is sought by a deputy of a local law enforcement agency. Even when such a request is brought before the court, it is a constitutional requirement that the sitting magistrate carefully study the evidence presented to ensure that there is probable cause to hold the person against whom the warrant is being requested for a criminal incident.
Article 3 also goes on to state that if an affiant other than a law enforcement officer files a complaint against another individual, the magistrate is still obligated to order this person's attendance in court. However, a warrant may not necessarily be issued for this purpose. In fact, it is common to release a summons in lieu of a judicial detention order in such cases. Only if the defendant fails to show up in court as ordered will a criminal warrant be issued against him.
The issue of South Carolina Active warrants
Because the constitution of the United States guarantees liberty and the right to secure his property to every one of the country's citizens, any warrant that interferes with these rights cannot be issued unless an impartial judicial entity has to grant such an order after carefully studying the case.
To ensure that the judiciary has all information needed to fulfill this requirement, the sheriff's office that requires the warrant has to submit an affidavit in court which contains all the information collected in the matter. Apart from factual evidence, testimony from the witnesses and the victim may also be needed before a warrant is issued.
A similar procedure is also followed for the issue of search orders which allow police officers to barge into any home/office and collect any item that might be treated as evidence in a criminal case.
Information on South Carolina Active Warrants
It can be hard to find details on active warrants issued against a person in the state of South Carolina unless such judicial orders are served.In fact, the police and judicial entities that keep warrants and crime history databases will not disseminate information on active warrants to the public. However, it is possible to find out about recently issued detention orders by looking at the most wanted list posted on the official websites of some of the sheriffs' departments such as:
- Charleston County: http://sheriff.charlestoncounty.org/most-wanted.php
- Greenville County: http://greenville.crimestoppersweb.com/wanteds.aspx
- Lancaster County: http://www.sled.sc.gov/WantedSites.aspx?MenuID=Wanted
- Darlington County: http://www.darcosc.com/departments/sheriff/most_wanted.php
You can also find a list of the state's most wanted from the South Carolina Department of Corrections website at https://www.dppps.sc.gov/Offender-Supervision/Most-Wanted. Another way to look for warrants related information is through the court dockets directory.
There are two options to access this database kept by the office of the county clerk. You can either visit the justice center and use the public service terminals to browse through the database or you can use the online search options provide on the following websites:
These websites allow applicants to look for case related information by initiating a client name inquiry or using a case number based query.