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Bad Check/Statute of Limitations

Charleston, SC |

I recently received a notice in the mail from the Chas. Co. Sherriff's Office informing me that they had an active criminal warrant against me for bad checks written almost 3 years ago. As I now live out of state, I tried calling to see if I could resolve the matter by mailing in payment, but I was informed that, no, I would have to travel to SC, turn myself in, post bail, then appear before a judge. Because of the time off from work this would require, not to mention the possibility of jailtime, I am obviously disheartened to hear this is my only option to settle this matter.

My question, therefore, is how best to proceed: contact a SC lawyer now, from out of state; travel down to SC and turn myself in immediately; or wait for the statute of limitations to run out, since they already told me they won't travel all this way to arrest someone simply for bad checks?

About that last option, I found online that the S.O.L. in SC for "open accounts" (under which I guess bad checks fall?) is 3 years. But I'm not sure exactly what that means. Does it mean the complainant has 3 years to present the matter to a court, after which the court can take forever to prosecute? Or does it mean the court has 3 years to prosecute? And when does the clock start ticking? From the date the check was written, or from when the matter was presented to a court?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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Attorney answers 1


The term "statute of limitations" refers to the amount of time the other party (in this case the state) has to FILE a claim or charges. Once the charge has been filed, the statute of limitations is no longer in play. Contact a criminal defense attorney in the county where the charges are pending. There are some resolutions which might not require you to travel to SC, but even if it turns out that you do have to appear in court, having a local attorney on your side will allow you to obtain more complete information in advance and perhaps to have an agreement in place before you make the trip, so that you will know exactly what it's going to cost and possibly resolve the case in a single court appearance.