|TO:||All Magistrates and Municipal Judges|
|FROM:||H. Lee Smith, Staff Attorney|
|RE:||Supplemental Issuance of Arrest Warrants in General Sessions Cases Originally Charged on Uniform Traffic Tickets|
In many counties a procedure has been developed requiring arrest warrants to be supplementally issued for traffic offenses within the jurisdiction of the Court of General Sessions, even though a Uniform Traffic Ticket had already been issued. This office, under consultation with Chief Justice Lewis and representatives of the Office of the Attorney General, recognizes that issuance of an arrest warrant is not required before proceeding with such cases. See S.C. Code Ann. § 56-7-10. However, Article I, Section 11 of the S.C. Constitution requires that an indictment be secured (or waived) before the defendant is held to answer for the charge.
Therefore, in General Sessions traffic cases, for purposes of conducting bond proceedings and preliminary hearings, further issuance of an arrest warrant will ordinarily not be necessary if the charge has already been properly made on a Uniform Traffic Ticket. Furthermore, a properly issued traffic ticket alone is sufficient for the solicitor's preparation of the indictment and submission of the case to the Grand Jury.
The success of this computerized information systems used through the judicial system depends, in large part, upon uniform procedures. For that reason, arrest warrants should not be issued for offenses already properly charged on traffic tickets.
Additionally, for purposes of compliance with Rule 3, SCRCrimP regarding the transmittal of papers to the Clerk of Court, the Uniform Traffic Ticket shall be transmitted to the clerk in the same manner as arrest warrants are, the Certificate of Transmittal (SCCA-M3) being used to effect the transmittal. The Uniform Traffic Ticket number would be entered in the column labeled "Warrant No."