No-Knock Warrants in South Carolina: Are They Legal?

A knock at the door by an officer with a search warrant is never welcome. Now imagine there isn’t a knock. Instead, the door suddenly bursts open, and police rush in. This can be terrifying for you, your family, and the officers, and until recently, it was completely legal.

What is a no-knock search warrant?

A no-knock warrant allows officers to execute a search warrant without any warning and to enter by whatever means are necessary to maintain the element of surprise. The benefit of a no-knock warrant is that it keeps evidence from being destroyed or keeps criminals from having time to arm themselves. The problem is that these warrants can create a heightened sense of fear and uncertainty, which can, and has, lead to unnecessary acts of violence against the public and law enforcement. When children are present, it can also add additional anxiety to an already stressful situation.

Are no-knock warrants legal in South Carolina?

Until recently, no-knock warrants were legal in South Carolina and routinely issued by judicial authorities who may not have understood the increased requirements for these types of warrants or their danger. This lead to growing concern that no-knock warrants were being issued when it wasn’t necessary or appropriate.  On June 10, 2020, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty ordered a temporary stop to no-knock warrants until circuit court judges and magistrates obtain more knowledge about when no-knock warrants can be granted. This came shortly after the national attention of Breonna Taylor’s death, an unarmed woman who was fatally shot by police during the execution of a no-knock warrant.

What does this mean for you?

Any law enforcement activity can be a time of uncertainty. That’s why we are here. In need of consultation for your case? Call Bailey Law Firm today.