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Rock Hill Men Charged With Drug Possession After Arrest Warrant Issued

Two South Carolina men have been arrested after the Rock Hill Police Department seized several stolen guns, phones, drugs, and a sum of money earlier last week.  The police had an arrest warrant for an 18-year-old suspected of distributing marijuana, when they entered the house.

The men were charged with two counts of possession of a stolen pistol, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, as well as possession of crack-cocaine.  The Rock Hill Multijurisdictional drug unit responded to the scene.

It is important that when a person allows police to enter his or her house, he understands his rights when is comes to warrant requirements.  South Carolina has determined that a warrant legally and duly issued authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest the individual named therein.  Further, the South Carolina Constitution provides that “no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the person to be seized. S.C. Const. Article I, Section 10.

It has been long established in South Carolina that an arrest under a warrant not supported by oath or affirmation showing probable cause is illegal, entitling the person arrested to be discharged.  Also, the arresting officer must be sure to show the warrant upon request; but, a known officer need not do so.  It is important to note that, in South Carolina, the law presumes the arresting officer is known to the person arrested. State v. Higgins, 51 S.C. 51, 54-55 (1897).

The South Carolina Supreme Court has determined that a law enforcement officer is authorized to make a warrantless arrest based upon his knowledge that a valid arrest warrant has been issued against the defendant. State v. Grant, 310 S.C. 240 (1992).  A search warrant, on the other hand, is prescribed by statute, and may be issued on an affidavit reciting the facts on information and belief and must show the source of the affiants information.  Further, it must be sworn on information and belief that does not contain sufficient information, and must be supplemented by oral testimony before the issuing magistrate.  The search warrant must be supported by probable cause by stating the facts related to the time of the issuance, so to justify probable cause at that exact time.  State v. Corns, 310 S.C. 546, 548 (1992).

When police are at your door, and it is that moment before you ask them “can I see a warrant,” make sure that you know that an arrest warrant will be issued for a person, and a search warrant is that which is issued on the residence.  A person who is implicated in a crime associated with a search warrant must know how to read such a document.  The document must describe with particularity, the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized.  If the holder of a warrant knocks on your door, make sure to read the document carefully.  They may only search what is described in the warrant, unless an exception applies.

If you or a loved one has been subject to a warrantless search, or a search you think may have been conducted with a warrant absent probable cause, call the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP.  We understand the law, and can interpret what probable cause the warrant has established.  For a consultation, call 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-374-5999.