What are the First Steps I Should Take if There is a Warrant Out for my Arrest?
It is to your advantage to know all the details about the warrant before you are approached by law enforcement. Warrants do not just appear. They have to be produced using a written order by a judge. This also tells you that law enforcement has probable cause and sufficient evidence against you, for a judge to issue the warrant and for you to be arrested.
Warrants can be issued for some very simple things such as unpaid speeding tickets or failing to show up for a court appearance. Then again, the warrant may be for a much more serious crime, which may involve high bail, no bail, and life changing consequences.
In any case involving a warrant, you should obtain a local criminal defense attorney that will provide you with in-depth and decisive information specific to your circumstance. Get the facts so you know what you are facing.
Different counties and judges handle warrants in many different ways. In low level, non-violent offenses, a judge may recall the warrant and order the individual to appear in court at a later date. This is the most simple way to treat a warrant, but also the most uncommon. A judge may also keep the warrant open until the individual does appear in front of the court. He or she may then recall the warrant and not require that the individual get processed through the local jail.
There are counties that require the individual to turn themselves into the authorities and then be processed, incarcerated, and remain in jail until they appear before a judge and he or she decides what is to be done. The individual may be released on his own recognizance or bail may be determined by the Judge. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to shorten the time that the individual is in jail and help them to appear before a judge as quickly as possible.
What Can I Do to Find Out About the Warrant Issued Against Me?
Finding out why the warrant was issued, and the detailed facts as to what it was issued for, is critical to your defense.
- If you think it’s a federal warrant, then contact the Federal Court for your district. This most likely will be the sign of a serious issue.
- Attorneys have access to databases and information that is not available to the general public. They can provide you with the exact information you need in order to make this experience as painless as possible. This, of course, will cost money but it is the absolute best way for you to have the quickest and most beneficial outcome for you.
- Call a bail bondsman who may have access to some of the proper databases, and hopefully can provide you with the information you need. He will, of course, not be able to advise you legally or intervene in any way with the court on your behalf.
- If you want to take the chance, you may call the police station and find out if you have an outstanding warrant against you. You will have to provide your full name and date of birth, and may be questioned on the phone. You could also have a friend of relative call for you.
Once again this last method may get you the information needed, but cannot really help you fight your case, or solve the issue at large. Only a criminal attorney can do that for you.
Let’s discuss what you certainly should try NOT to do if a warrant is issued for your arrest:
- Don’t Ignore the warrant, it is not going to just disappear and warrants have NO experation dates.
- Don’t ever try to run from the law. In today’s computer based world, you can almost be sure that bus stations, airports, train stations, and possibly borders have records showing travelers that have outstanding warrants. In this case, if you are caught, you will possibly be detained, and also may have additional charges of trying to flee the country brought against you.
- Don’t show up at your local sheriff’s office, or other law enforcement offices, and surrender yourself without legal assistance.
- Don’t always assume the worst case scenario. With the proper in-depth and decisive legal help, you could help yourself tremendously.
Here are some of the things, that you most likely SHOULD do if there is a warrant out for your arrest:
- After you see the warrant, make sure to get the date it was filed, and try to further understand the nature of the charges against you, where it was filed, and any or all of the information concerning this matter.
- As stated above, there are numerous ways you can find the information that you need to know, but the details and specifics are vital to you.
- Get legal advice on how to approach the warrant and on the facts concerning why it was issued to you.
A warrant is serious and could have effects on years, if not all, of your life. An attorney who looks in-depth at your case, can often negotiate the details of your surrender (if even necessary) and get a better deal on any bail amount. An attorney can help you get a quick arraignment and minimize the time you have to spend in jail.
Most of all, an attorney can help you, as they have the means to gain an educated overview of your case, and minimize practically all aspects of this upsetting event that can affect the rest of your life.
It is extremely difficult to navigate these waters on your own, so try to get the most comprehensive legal advice that you can.