Having a warrant issued for your arrest is a very serious legal matter. If you have a warrant issued against you it means that you could potentially be placed under arrest at any time, including in public or at your private residence. In addition to authorizing your arrest, a warrant also grants the police the authority to conduct a search of your person and the area around you when you are found, while adhering to federal search and seizure laws.
When an arrest warrant is issued, your name is placed into a nationwide database that stores the information. Law enforcement use this database to determine if a warrant has been issued against you. For example, if a police offers stops you and runs your license plate number the resulting information would tell the officer whether or not a warrant had been issued. If a warrant was in fact issued against you, you would likely be placed into custody immediately.
Why are warrants issued?
There are a variety of reasons why a warrant may be issued against you. Some of these reasons include, but are not limited to:
- You were cited by law enforcement for allegedly committing a crime. You were released and the citation specified a date and time you would need to appear in court but you failed to show up. Failure to appear in court is one of the more common reasons warrants are issued.
- A judge has looked at evidence and signed a warrant based on probable cause. In cases such as these law enforcement will seek to find you and place you under arrest.
- If you have violated your probation, for example, by failing to complete programs, classes, or pay fines, a judge can issue a warrant against you.
If you are suspected of having involvement in a crime a judge may sign a warrant to be issued for your arrest. However, there must be sufficient evidence against you in order for the warrant to be issued. This is what is known as probable cause as outlined in the second bullet point above.
If you have a warrant for your arrest, the arresting officer must inform you of this fact when you are taken into custody. The officer must show you the actual arrest warrant at the time of your arrest or shortly after you have been detained. If a warrant was not issued, but the officer has made an arrest anyway, the officer must provide a valid reason for why they chose to make an arrest.
Misdemeanor and felony warrants
There are some minor differences involved between misdemeanor and felony warrants. In a misdemeanor case a criminal defense attorney can typically appear on your behalf in court and attempt to recall the warrant, with the exception of domestic violence and DUI cases.
If, however, the warrant was issued based on a felony case you will be required to appear in court alongside your attorney (assuming you have legal representation). If bail is set you will have to be ready to post bail in the amount that the arrest warrant declared. If you are unable to do so, or no bail is set, you will likely remain in custody until your case is resolved.
Recalling a warrant
If a warrant is issued against you it is important that you act quickly to avoid being arrested. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to have your warrant recalled and could help you fight the allegations that have been made against you. If you have questions regarding arrest warrants or would like to confidentially discuss the details of your case you can reach our office at (559) 222-5800. In most instances appointments can be made for the same business day.