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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 SHELBY COUNTY WARRANT MAGISTRATE'S OFFICE IS AS FOLLOWS:
Misdemeanors - Offenses occurring outside a municipality's city limits.
Felonies - Offenses that occur in Shelby County.
Traffic - Offenses that occur in Shelby County.
(Most often a traffic citation given by a State Trooper or County Deputy)
Worthless Checks - All Checks received in Shelby 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 Shelby County Sheriff's
Department [(205) 669-4181, Sheriff's Dept. Website]
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) you will
need to obtain a copy of the report from the Sheriff's Department and bring it to the Shelby County
District Attorney's Office (205) 669-3750. 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 (205) 669-3760 and talk with one of our
Note: Misdemeanor charges occurring inside a municipality with a city court must be handled through
that court. We will only handle 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 presented your paperwork to the District Attorney's Office, they will prepare
a screening sheet. Bring your screening sheet to the Magistrate and you will be put under oath. 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 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 Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Warrants Division.