The South Carolina Code 22-5-110 offers the prescribed method for arrest, examination and the issue of summons. It is clearly stated in the state criminal code that when a complaint is brought before the judiciary by a member of law enforcement or a civilian against a person who is alleged to have commissioned a felony, the magistrate who hears the petition will cause for the accused to be arrested.
Arrest warrants are the prescribed method of ordering the detention of an accused till such time that he can be presented before the court. In matters that occur within the geographic bounds of a certain county, the sitting magistrate is legally bound to charge those who are guilty of offenses and bind for trial individuals who are accused of committing a felony outside their geographical jurisdiction.
People who are charged with misdemeanors will have to be ordered to appear in court through the use of a courtesy summons before an arrest warrant is issued against them.
South Carolina arrest warrants are issued in conformance with the Fourth Amendment requirements of establishing probable cause and the state penal code. As such, the process of warrant issue starts when an affiant approaches the court with a declaration of offense. This affidavit informs the judiciary of the incident that has occurred, the reasons why the complainant has concluded that it is a crime, the name of the alleged offender and the description of the role that he played in the incident.
The magistrate holds the responsibility of deliberating on this information to ascertain that the details prove reasonably that the alleged offender committed the crime. This procedure is known as the establishment of probable cause and it is a requisite when it comes to the issue of active warrants and search warrants. In contrast, bench warrants are issued without an affidavit. These are issued to recapture offenders who have busted through bail conditions or those who have ignored a court directive.
In both scenarios, the court has enough information to issue an arrest warrant of its own accord without relying on a complainant, whether civilian or a law enforcement agent, to submit a petition for the judicial order. Bench warrants are to be treated like any other arrest order. However, they do have limited jurisdiction; this means that they expire over a period of time and can only be served within the county of issue or at the most within the state of SC.
South Carolina Code 23-15-50 states that the sheriff’s deputies are responsible for apprehending all persons who have outstanding warrants in their name. If the warrant was issued in connection with a misdemeanor, the bail amount will be included in the conditions for release mentioned in the order. Offenders who can post the bond are to be let out as commanded by the judicial order.
However, warrants for arrests that have been released in felonies do not have any conditions for release. Offenders who have been arrested under such orders have to be presented in court at the earliest possible opportunity. With bench warrants, the rules are the same as those for misdemeanor arrest orders.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division known by the acronym SLED offers the crime history access program (CATCH) for civilian applicants. Information on arrest records and warrants are made public for a fee of $25 per inquiry. To initiate a warrant search through SLED, you will need the first and last name of your subject along with his social security number and date of birth.
There are two ways to initiate your inquiry through the CATCH program, you can download the form available at sled.sc.gov fill it and send it with a self addressed, stamped envelope and a $25 check to SLED at:
To get a warrant search done online, you will have to visit the official site of the agency at sled.sc.gov. You can also find a list of the most wanted criminals from various SC law enforcement agencies on this website at sled.sc.gov while a sex offender registry which can be used to find information on predatory criminals living in your area is available for free at
Although you can find all crime related data from the SLED site and their office, for information on civil cases, it would be best to approach the office of the clerk of court. This judicial department has court records for all civil and criminal cases. So, through their database of court dockets, you can find details on warrant issues in the state, the release of other legal processes besides arrest orders and conviction and verdict details for criminal and non-criminal matters.