In South Carolina, a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest if someone accuses you of committing a crime. A judge needs probable cause to grant an arrest warrant, protecting your Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful arrest.
Having a warrant out for your arrest can be frightening and confusing. How you handle the warrant can make a big difference to your future. Do not panic. Seek professional help to defend your rights. Start here, with a few general tips on how to handle an arrest warrant.
Turn yourself in
Do not flee the county or state if you learn of a warrant out for your arrest. The odds are high of the police eventually catching up to you – and when they do, you can face more severe charges for running. Instead, turn yourself in to the police. Turning yourself in gives you more control over the situation. It will increase your privacy and expedite the process. Turning yourself in can also lead to better odds of getting out on bail, since the courts will see you as less of a flight risk.
Do not answer questions without an attorney present
Turning yourself in does not mean relinquishing your rights. It simply means you are willing to cooperate with the criminal justice process. Protect yourself from self-incrimination by politely declining to talk to police officers until you have a criminal defense lawyer present. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent during police interrogations. Use this right and do not answer any questions (other than giving your name) until your lawyer arrives.
Prepare for the process ahead
Prepare yourself for what is to come after you turn yourself in. The county will “book” you by taking your fingerprints and mug shot. You may have to spend the night in jail while you wait for your hearing, unless you qualify for and post bail. The courts will set a date for your arraignment hearing. Retain legal representation before this hearing to help prepare you for the next steps.