Once a police department has sufficient evidence (probable cause) that a suspect is the most likely candidate for a crime, it will approach a judge to issue an arrest warrant. A warrant for your arrest means a law enforcement officer has the right to take you into custody wherever you are. You could be at work, the doctor’s office, or somewhere else. You do not have to be engaged in illegal activity for an officer to arrest you if he or she has a warrant.
Some people may have no idea a warrant is out for their arrest. The court may not call you to notify you of the warrant, but you can go online to find out if you may have an outstanding warrant. You can also contact the court clerk, who can provide that information.
Types of Warrants
Depending on the severity of the crime, a law enforcement unit may or may not actively pursue you. A bench warrant, for instance, is typically issued for minor crimes such as missing a court date for a traffic violation or for a misdemeanor. Officers will likely not come in pursuit of you for a bench warrant, but they will arrest you if they pull you over or happen to come across you during the normal course of work.
For more serious warrants, a law enforcement officer will deliver the warrant and conduct an arrest as soon as possible. He or she must show you the warrant at the time of arrest. If the warrant is not available, he or she can still arrest you, but must provide the written warrant as quickly as possible. Generally, a law enforcement officer will not enter your personal home uninvited. The officer will knock and identify him or herself. After doing so, the officer is free to use force to enter the premises if you do not answer.
If you learn an arrest warrant or a bench warrant is out for you, you can turn yourself in. You will always be booked after a warrant has been issued, but for minor infractions like missing a court date, you will likely be released soon after.
Contacting an Attorney
If you find out that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, you may want to contact an attorney who specializes in what you have been charged with to help you determine the best approach. You will still have to turn yourself in and be arrested, but with an attorney by your side, you may feel more confident dealing with the process.
Your attorney can represent you in subsequent hearings and meet with you after you have been arrested. You always have a right to an attorney, and consulting with a professional is always advisable. The court system is complex, and there may be issues with your arrest or the evidence that law enforcement has gathered against you. Knowing a warrant is out for your arrest can be frightening. You may feel like you are being hunted, but trying to hide from or ignore the warrant is the worst thing you can do. Whether you are arrested for traffic violations or for a more serious crime, waiting to turn yourself in may only make matters worse.
At the Law Office of David A. Breston, we specialize in criminal law in Texas. If you discover a warrant has been issued for your arrest or you have been arrested on criminal charges, reach out to our office. We will start working on your case as soon as you contact us, and we can help you make informed decisions at every step