As a criminal defense attorney in Mt Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina, we’ve helped clients who had an outstanding warrant for their arrest in South Carolina. If there’s a warrant out for you and you get stopped for a minor traffic violation, you could get arrested on the way to an important meeting and have your car impounded. Depending on when you get arrested such as in the evening or on a weekend, you could spend a few nights in jail. In this article, we explain what you should do if there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest in South Carolina and about turning yourself into the police.
What Should I Do if There’s a Warrant Out for Me in South Carolina?
The very first thing you should do if there is a warrant for your arrest is to contact a lawyer. By contacting a lawyer beforehand, you can begin the process of evaluating the charge against you, preparing your defense, coordinating when to turn yourself in, and arranging for a lawyer to appear at your bond hearing.
If There’s a Warrant for My Arrest in South Carolina, Should I Turn Myself In?
If you have a warrant out for your arrest, you should consider arranging to turn yourself in so you can do it with more privacy, quicker, and with much less inconvenience. Also, it looks good at a bond hearing when you do this because you seem less of a flight risk, and it could help to get you a lower bond or a PR bond.
Stephan Futeral and Tom Nelson have almost 50 years of combined experience defending people charged with crimes. We encourage you to call us beforehand and let us coordinate the turn-in. We can also evaluate your charges ahead of time, tell you what to expect, and represent you at the bond hearing.
When you turn yourself in:
- DON’T TALK ABOUT YOUR CASE! You have the right to remain silent, so use it.
- Be polite and cooperative. Answer basic questions about who you are (again, don’t talk about the case), and don’t be belligerent or grumpy. Understand that the jailers are just doing their jobs.
- Be prepared to bond out. Some criminal defendants get PR (personal reconnaissance) bonds. Others, however, have to pay to get out. This is called a surety bond. Don’t count on being able to use your credit card. Our lawyers can help you find a bondsman to be “on call,” and we may even have one of your loved ones on standby to pay the bondsman’s fee. This will help you get out faster. You can learn more about bond hearings by CLICKING HERE.
What Should I Wear When I Turn Myself In?
You will be processed (fingerprinted, photographed, etc.) so wear the least complicated outfit you can. Avoid ties, hats, jewelry, watches, and accessories. They might take your shoelaces, so comfortable slip-on shoes are better. Wear pants that stay up without a belt so you don’t have to wear one. Less is more.
What Should I Bring?
If you drive there, take inside with your car keys and your ID. If you need medication, let law enforcement know. You don’t need anything else. Money, your cell phone, jewelry, extra keys, and other things can get lost and are just extra things the jail staff has to deal with. The police could even try to secure your cell phone through a search warrant to try to look for more evidence relating to your crime.
Who Should I Bring?
Depending on the crime, we might have you bring friends or family to show the judge you have a support system. This could help with setting a lower bond. If we think any of them need to speak, we will prepare them for that, but it all depends on your case. We handle every case differently based on the situation.
If I Turn Myself In, Will I Spend the Night in Jail?
For some criminal charges, you are not eligible for release without a hearing in General Sessions court. Under these circumstances, it is possible that you may spend some time in jail. However, for many charges, you may not spend the night. For example, in Charleston County, if we have coordinated with law enforcement to have you turn yourself in at 7:00 a.m. during a weekday, your bond hearing will occur around 9:30 am the same day. If you are released on bond, then you will usually spend 2 to 4 more hours in jail while the court and the jail process your release paperwork. So, in an average situation in Charleston County, you are in and out in 6 hours. That being said, every court is different. For example, the City of Charleston Municipal cases are often heard after 1:00 p.m., so we will try to set up a different “turn in” time for a Municipal case than a General Sessions case. Berkeley and Dorchester Counties could be different as well. Regardless, our job is to get you in and out as quickly as we can and to have the bond set as low as we can.
What Happens in the Jail?
They will “book” you, which means take your mugshot, information, and fingerprints. Usually, a medical screener will evaluate whether you need specialized care. If you turned yourself in at the right time, in many jails, you can be in and out quickly enough that you’ll never be put into the general population and might not even have to put on the orange jumpsuit. However, you can’t count on this. Through proper coordination, we can keep it so you’re never put in anything worse than a holding cell, or even have to leave the booking room altogether.
What Happens at the Bond Hearing?
The short answer is that a judge will make an assessment of whether you are a flight risk and/or a threat to society, and then set your bond. The allegations play a big role in this, but there are ways we can try to minimize it. CLICK HERE for a detailed description of how bond hearings work in South Carolina.
How Do I Found Out Whether There’s a Warrant for My Arrest?
There is no online search in South Carolina. Every police department is different, so we’ll listen to your situation and figure out the best way to find out if there’s a warrant but still maintain your privacy.
Criminal Defense Lawyers in Mt Pleasant & Charleston SC
If you know that there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest in South Carolina, don’t ignore it and don’t try to handle it without a criminal defense lawyer. Call Futeral & Nelson today for a free and confidential consultation.