What to Know About Arrest Warrants

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What to Know About Arrest Warrants

28 January 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog

In common terms, if you have a warrant out for your arrest, you will need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Arrest warrants are not handed out without good reasons, and turning yourself in after speaking with your attorney can help prevent further charges and problems. This issue can be complex, so read on to find out what it means to have a warrant with your name on it and how it might have come about.

Strong Criminal Suspicions

Law enforcement must have arrest warrants approved by a judge, and they must be prepared to explain the reason for the warrant. Law enforcement personnel cover this task by completing what is known as an affidavit. The affidavit lists the facts of the case and begins by identifying the person they are seeking to arrest. In all cases, the affidavit must be detailed and factual when explaining the reasoning behind the need for the warrant.

For example, the affidavit requesting a warrant might read, "Jane Doe is suspected of robbing the First State Bank on March 1, 2019, at 9 AM." The key component of the affidavit is probable cause. In this case, probable cause to warrant the arrest might be eye-witness descriptions of Jane Doe, a photo of the license plate on the getaway vehicle that leads to Jane Doe's address, video surveillance, etc. While the affidavit is detailed and specific, it is not necessary for law enforcement to list each and every crime Jane Doe might be eventually accused of committing.

Bench Warrants

The second method of warrants being issued by a judge is a bench warrant. When someone is arrested and accused of a crime, they may be released on bail or on their own recognizance. Taking this route to get out of jail means that the accused pledges to return to face the judge on the appointed date. When they fail to do so, the judge issues a warrant from the bench immediately. The accused has now violated the terms of the bail or the own recognizance release and an entirely new charge has been added to the original complaint: failure to appear. Unless you can come up with a very strong excuse for missing your court date, you will face arrest and additional penalties and you will have to wait in jail for your new court dates.

Speak to a criminal law attorney about your arrest to learn more.