Magistrates are a part of the judicial branch of government and are required to exercise independent judgment in the issuance of arrest warrants. The United States Supreme Court has determined that persons issuing warrants must be "neutral and detached" from the law enforcement function.
JURISDICTION OF THE LAWRENCE COUNTY WARRANT MAGISTRATE'S OFFICE IS AS FOLLOWS:
Misdemeanors - Offenses occurring outside city limits.
Felonies - Offenses that occur in Lawrence County.
Traffic - Offenses that occur in Lawrence County.
(Most often a traffic citation given by a State Trooper or County Deputy)
Worthless Checks - All Checks received in Lawrence County
HOW TO OBTAIN A WARRANT:
We have several employees in the office who have been appointed as magistrates. Prior to obtaining a warrant, you will need to file an incident/offense report with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, or if the offense occurred in a municipality, the report needs to be filed with the police department there. For misdemeanor charges (occurring outside a municipality’s city limits) you will need to obtain a copy of the report from the Sheriff's Department. In the case of a felony offense, you will need to get in touch with the municipality having jurisdiction or Sheriff's Department and talk with an investigator. Since warrant matters are often complicated, feel free to call our office (256) 974-2438 and talk with one of our magistrates.
Note: Misdemeanor charges occurring inside the city limits must be handled through their municipal court. We will only handle their misdemeanor cases through county court if a felony charge is also involved in the same incident or if it is an extraordinary circumstance. Example: A misdemeanor charge involving a city employee or relative.
Once you have obtained your incident/offense report, you will need to call (256) 974-2438 to schedule an appointment with the Magistrate . When you arrive for your scheduled appointment with the magistrate, you will be put under oath and fill out a deposition of the alleged crime. The magistrate will then make a determination as to whether there is probable cause for the issuance of a warrant. If probable cause is found, an arrest warrant or summons is issued. There is no cost involved in this process. Please make careful consideration before you have someone arrested as we do not drop charges except in extenuating circumstances and you may be required to pay costs of court. An arrest warrant is NOT a matter of public record until it is served. If someone suspects that a warrant has been issued against them, they must appear in person at the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department.