What is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is a court order written and signed by a judge or magistrate authorizing law enforcement to arrest and detain the person named in the warrant. There may be a warrant out for your arrest if…
- law enforcement conducted an investigation and determined that probable cause exists to believe you have committed a criminal offense;
- you have been indicted by a grand jury;
- another county or state is seeking you for an outstanding charge.
How and Where Will I Be Arrested?
Once an arrest warrant is granted by a judge in a court of law, a police officer will start actively looking for you and has the authority to arrest you anytime, anywhere. This means they can come to your home or place of business, pull you over while you’re driving, or find you elsewhere in public and take you into custody.
If you suspect you are the target of a criminal investigation or have an outstanding warrant out for your arrest, you need to consult an arrest warrant lawyer as soon as possible. The worst thing you can do is to try and outrun law enforcement or ignore a warrant. By doing so, you risk enhanced punishment including substantial fines and jail time.
It is always preferable to be proactive. By taking control of the situation and hiring a lawyer, you are showing the court that you are ready and willing to address and resolve the issue. You also don’t want to experience being surprised in the middle of the night as the police raid your home or show up unannounced at your work in front of your colleagues.
What is a Bench Warrant?
A judge will issue a bench warrant when an individual fails to comply with a court order and as a result is found to be in contempt of court. There may be a bench warrant out for your arrest if you failed to:
- appear for a set court date, traffic date, arraignment date
- pay for a traffic ticket or other fine
- pay state mandated child support or alimony
- obey a subpoena ordering you to testify in a case
- complete court ordered community service or violated terms of probation
Depending on the circumstances of your case, an officer may or not be actively looking for you. An arrest is usually made when an officer discovers the bench warrant during a stop for something else, such as a routine traffic stop. If you secure an attorney before you caught, it gives you the best chance at a favorable outcome including being granted bond and avoiding jail.
Why You Need an Arrest Warrant Lawyer
An arrest warrant lawyer can help you in the following ways:
- Research whether you have any existing arrest warrants and the reasons behind them;
- Find out how much bond you would have to post if you are arrested;
- File a motion to reduce bond and argue to the court to have the bond lowered so that you may afford to post bond and remain out of custody;
- See if it is possible to “quash” or remove the warrant and receive a new court date;
- Coordinate with the state, judge or probation officer to negotiate a surrender
- Represent you and protect your rights during any communications with law enforcement officers;
- Defend the underlying criminal charge