An arrest warrant is an official order issued by the State or Federal Government that calls for the arrest of an individual who is suspected of committing a crime. Generally, a law enforcement officer must demonstrate probable cause to a judge (or magistrate judge) in order to obtain an arrest warrant. The arrest warrant gives a law enforcement officer the immediate legal authority to arrest without regard to whether the person is guilty or not guilty of the alleged offense.
What should I do if I find out that a warrant for my arrest has been issued?
First, you should be thankful. I do not mean you should be happy that you are going to be arrested. I mean thankful that you have time to prepare and handle the situation responsibly.
In life we can sometimes resolve problems by “doing the right thing”. In criminal law the “right thing’ is complicated. Walking into an unknown situation with limited knowledge with the intent to do the right thing can have catastrophic consequences. You have rights and responsibilities. You may be vaguely familiar with some of them through high school civics classes, movies and television shows. Unless you are a criminal defense attorney in the courtroom daily, you are unfamiliar with all of them. And, even then you will need an attorney to assert them effectively on your behalf.
If you want to handle your criminal warrant responsibly you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can verify the existence of the warrant, determine its general basis, assert your legal rights and arrange for your cooperative surrender. You will want to have your attorney present for your surrender so that he (or she) can advocate for a reduced or unsecured bond. Your attorney can arrange for a bondsman if you are given a secured bond.
It is important to note, an arrest warrant is not always necessary in order for police officers to make an arrest. An officer may have the legal authority to arrest under other circumstances, as well. Nothing written in this text is intended to suggest that you should ever be disrespectful or discourteous to a law enforcement officer. Law enforcement officer have to make quick decisions in complicated environments and your failure to follow there instructions can subject you to danger and additional criminal liability. You should assert your legal rights courteously and respectfully.