What Happens If I Get Criminal Charges in South Carolina But I Live in Another State?

What happens when you get charged with a crime in a state you don’t live in? Do you still have to face the charges? Does that state even have the jurisdiction to charge you? At Cate & Brough, we often face issues where someone was charged in South Carolina but lives halfway across the country in another state.

States have jurisdiction over any crimes that happen within their state. For instance, if two men get into a fistfight in Georgia, it doesn’t matter if they are both from Alabama – they can be charged in Georgia. Wherever the crime happens, they can be charged, arrested, and/or asked to come to court. It then becomes their legal responsibility to turn themselves in or make their way to that state for the court appearance.

Where things get intense is if you have an outstanding warrant leveled against you. Whenever a warrant is issued for someone’s arrest, it is entered into the National Criminal Information Center database. This is true whether this is a regular warrant or a bench warrant, which is where you have skipped court. This information is accessed nationwide and never goes away until the issue is resolved.

If you got charged in another state and then never returned there to deal with your warrant, it will pop up whenever anyone runs your information for the rest of your life. If you were charged in South Carolina in 2018, and you get pulled over in Wisconsin in 2035, the police officer will see it. If you are applying for a job in California and they do a background check, they will find your South Carolina warrant. If you are on vacation in Hawaii and get your information checked, your vacation is getting cut short.

If you are caught with an outstanding warrant from another state, you will be immediately arrested on a Fugitive From Justice warrant, sometimes known as a Governor’s Warrant. The state will hold you for a set period of time, normally thirty days, and ask that South Carolina (in our case – or whichever state sets the warrant) come and pick you up. You will then be picked up, arrested, and out on bond – unless you skipped court and have a bench warrant, in which case there’s no bond.

If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing you can do is turn yourself in. If you keep running, you will be caught eventually. Too many normal things require running your information to avoid it forever. It doesn’t matter how long ago the crime was. If you turn yourself in, an attorney can argue that you are doing a good thing and argue for a lighter sentence. It is both the right thing to do and the best thing you can do.

If you are charged with a crime in a state you don’t live in, you will have to deal with them one way or another. It is always best to face them head on. If you are facing criminal charges in South Carolina, contact Cate & Brough today! We believe in putting clients first.

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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