November 22, 1978


TO: Magistrates
FROM: Neal Forney, Assistant Director
RE: Bench Warrant not Required to be in the Form Prescribed for Arrest Warrants

The Office of the Attorney General has issued Op. Atty Gen., No. 78-179, which addresses the question of bench warrants issued by magistrates and the provisions of S.C. Code Ann § 17-13-160. A copy of the Opinion is available upon request.

The conclusion of the Opinion is, "A bench warrant issued by a magistrate is not required to be in the form prescribed for arrest warrants.

Please notice that included in the Opinion is the instruction that bench warrants may not be used to initiate a criminal action. Also, if the defendant was released on bond pursuant to § 17-15-10 et seq., an arrest warrant would have to be issued because of the provisions of § 17-15-90.