South Carolina Search Warrant Laws

Who can issue a search warrant?

Any magistrate, municipal judge with the powers of a magistrate or any judge of any court having jurisdiction over the area where the property sought is located, may issue a warrant to search for and seize certain items. See 17-13-140

The South Carolina search warrant laws can be complicated and it’s vital that you understand your rights when defending these types of cases.

Basis for a search warrant?

The search warrant may authorize police to search and seize:

  1. Stolen or embezzled property;
  2. Property, the possession of which is unlawful;
  3. Property used or possessed with the intent to be used in the commission of a crime or concealed to prevent a crime from being discovered;
  4. Any narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, or other drugs restricted to sale, possession, or use on prescription only, which are manufactured, possessed, controlled, sold, prescribed, dispensed, or compounded in violation of law. See 17-13-140

Procedure to get a search warrant

  1. The search warrant is issued upon a sworn affidavit before the judge establishing the grounds for the warrant.
  2. If the judge is satisfied there is probable cause, s/he will issue a warrant identifying the property and naming or describing the person or place to be searched.
  3. The warrant is executed by the police;
  4. The officer executing the warrant makes a signed inventory of any articles seized and delivers it to the judge, with a copy to the person form whose person or premises the property is taken, if he demands it.
  5. The warrant is returned to and signed by the issuing judge within 10 days after it is dated.  See 17-13-140

Do I have to let the police into my home if they have a warrant?

If the police are at your door with a valid warrant, then yes you have to let them into your home.  If you do not allow them then they will force their way into you home.  The search warrant signed by a judge gives them that authority.  The best thing for you to do is call a lawyer when possible and do not give any statements to police until you’ve had time to get advice on your rights.

Charleston Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have a South Carolina search warrant issue in your case call today at (843) 530-7813 to speak with an experienced Charleston criminal defense attorney about your arrest, the consultation is free and all discussions are confidential.

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