Our NYC bench warrant lawyers understand bench and arrest warrants are serious issues. Regardless of what the basis of the warrant is, you shouldn’t turn yourself in alone. You could say something that hurts your case, hurts your chance for bail, or does something which results in you staying longer in custody than need be. Regardless of why it’s happening, the members of the law enforcement will come to find you, and bring you to court. You and your family are probably frightened with the ramifications of the warrant. If the police catch you, the judge may not release you on bail again. Or, the judge may set a high price – and require you follow certain guidelines upon release.
What’s an arrest warrant
Arrest warrants are issued by judges, when he, or she, believes there’s probably cause that a crime was committed and you’re the person who commited it. A judge is convinced of this, due to a police investigation, or other testimony, from a witness. If a grand jury has inducted you for the crime, then an arrest warrant can be issued based on this indictment. If you’re the subject of an arrest warrant, the police will be looking for you, and can arrest you ANYWHERE they find you. The police will take you to jail until you’re arraigned by a judge.
What’s a bench warrant
Bench warrants are issued in civil and criminal cases. A bench warrant is issued when a defendant doesn’t appear for a court date. In civil cases, bench warrants can be used to subpoena a witness. Some judges may issue a bench warrant if you don’t show up for jury duty. They are also used in child support cases, and for other forms of wage garnishment etc. Depending on the situation, the police isn’t going to be actively looking for you – but if they stop you for another reason, like a traffic stop – they may take you into custody. You’ll be brought before the judge to discuss what you’ve done – and how to fix the issue. Depending on the situation, you might be held in a jail until you meet the judge’s conditions.
If you believe you are the subject of an arrest warrant, call Spodek Law Group, today. We have more than 50 years of combined experience and can help you get the justice you need.
Can Police Read Your Texts without a Warrant?
Here’s a great article by Nima Haddadi, a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer. It’s hard to imagine getting by without a smartphone. Many people carry on as part of their employment responsibilities as well as for personal use. While the phones are indispensable to many people, it pays to understand that the information contained on the phone is not protected if an individual is arrested. Here is what you need to know about the rights of law enforcement officers to read texts and other documents saved on a smartphone.
Not Privileged or Protected Information
While several legal challenges have found their ways through different state courts, the rulings have confirmed that text messages do not fall under the category of private property. Many courts cite the fact that text messages are something that is exchanged through a utility and not a possession that is kept in the home.
Since polices do have the right to access and review non-private information as part of an investigation, they do have the ability to review all text messages. That includes messages made to and received from friends, relatives, and business associates. Taking things one step further, any information collected from those text messages can be used as evidence if the matter goes to court.
But What About the Fourth Amendment?
Some people believe that their text messages and any emails contained on their smartphones are automatically protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. That amendment has to do with the search and seizure of private property that is found on the person or in the home of the individual under arrest. With physical property, it’s necessary to obtain a warrant before entering the home to conduct a search.
The courts have ruled that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to text messages. Electronic communications are not considered the same as physical items that can be tucked into a drawer or placed on a closet shelf. The rationale is that electronic messages of any type, whether transmitted using a smartphone, email, or via a social media site, are essentially being broadcast to the world at large. This makes those communications free for the perusal of a law enforcement officer who is actively searching for anything that would strengthen the case against the arrested individual or possibly make it clear the charges should be dropped.
What About Wiretapping Laws?
Some people belive that wiretapping laws protect the text messages they choose to house on their smartphones. Current laws in this regard have to do with exchanges that are in progress. The nature of text messages makes them historical data from the very second they are sent or received. In other words, while the recipient just received a response to a text a couple of minutes ago and it has been opened, it is not legally considered to be in the same class as a telephone conversation that is in progress.
Keep in mind there is one caveat here. If the text message has not been opened yet, there is a bit of gray area about the status. The controversy has to do with whether the unopened text message has completed the reception process or if it is still considered in transit until the recipient opens and reads the message. Even so, the matter of an unopened message will be resolved once the warrant is obtained. At that point, even those messages can be legally inspected by law enforcement.
Are There Limits?
There are some jurisdictions that allow the police to read text messages and other electronic communications saved on a smartphone for what is interpreted as a reasonable amount of time. That could be as long as an hour and a half or however long it takes to obtain a warrant to search the home and anything the arrested party owns. In the event that the police are attempting to obtain warrants to search the home of the arrested party, it is possible to include more time to search all electronic devices. The information found on the smartphone would still be available for scrutiny along with any electronic documents found on computers or tablets in the individuals’ home.
The best advice is to assume that the text messages found on a smartphone will be subject to a search by the police. Be prepared to surrender the phone at the time of the arrest and for any information found in the messages to be part of the questioning that will ensue.
Obtaining Property Back From NYPD After An Arrest
When an individual is arrested often his personal property will be taken at the time of the arrest. This property is then given to the NYPD Property Clerk Division. It is the clerks job to accept, catalog, safeguard, store and produce in Court as necessary any property that is taken from an individual. Whenever any property is taken the owner of the property is given what is called a “property voucher.” A property voucher is a pink receipt for the property taken. The voucher will state the reason why the property is taken on top of the document.
Property is taken for four main reasons:
Evidence/Investigatory – This is the main reason property is taken from individuals. Unfortunately when property is taken as evidence of the commission of a crime the District Attorneys office is going to hold the property untill the case is over. Evidence property will be signed in/out in a log as it is used in connection with a criminal case.
Safekeeping – This is property than an arrestee might have on him at the time of the arrest that has nothing to do with the commission of a crime. This can be returned upon a showing of the invoice and property identification. If the individual is incarcerated pending trial then an authorized individual can obtain the property with proper ID and documentary authorization.
Forfeiture – Under Federal Law, NYS Law the New York City Administrative Code, the NYPD can seize property if it can be shown to be the proceeds or instrumentality of a crime. This is a separate proceeding done in the Civil Court. The burden of proof in the Civil action is a preponderance of the evidence. The outcome of the criminal case is irrelevant to the forfeiture action.
Contraband – This is property that is illegal to own. This property will be held for evidence and destroyed when it is no longer needed for evidence.
Under the Rules of the City of New York (“RCNY”), if the property is held as arrest evidence, then the claimant needs the following:
District Attorney Release – The District Attorney must respond to your request for a release within 15 days. If you are denied a release, you are entitled to a written explanation of why your property is being held and to have a supervising DA review the decision.
This request must be made within 120 days of the termination of the criminal case.
Under the RCNY, if the property is being held as investigatory evidence, the claimant needs the following:
Letter on Official Letterhead from Investigative Officer releasing the property.
Under the RCNY, if the property is being held as Safekeeping evidence, the claimant needs the following:
This can be done at the Precinct where the property was taken or the Property Clerks office in the borough of the arraignment.
Property that is taken as Contraband will not come back to a claimant unless his/her lawyer can argue that your possession of the property was lawful.
Property this is subject to a Forfeiture action, the claimant must first request a hearing at OATH.
New York City Property Clerk Offices and Numbers:
1 Police Plaza, Rm. 5-20
New York, NY 10038
301 Gold Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
47-07 Pierson Place
Long Is. City, NY 11101
Who can execute an arrest warrant in New York?
A superior court warrant of arrest can be executed by any police officer it’s addressed to, or any other police officer delegated to execute it under certain circumstances. The issuing court can authorize the delegation of said warrant. Where the issuing court has authorized, a police officer who a superior court arrest warrant is addressed to can delegate another police officer it’s not addressed to to execute the warrant as their agent when they have reasonable cause to believe the defendant is in a particular county other than the one where the warrant’s returnable, and the geographical employment area of the delegated police officer embraces the location where the arrest is going to be made.
Under certain circumstances, the police officer who the warrant is addressed to can inform the delegated officer of the issuing of the warrant, of the crime charged in the underlying accusatory instrument, and of all other pertinent details, and can request the officer to act as their agent in arresting the defendant. On this request, the delegated police officer is considered to be to the same extent as the delegating officer, authorized to make the arrest in regards to the warrant in the geographical employment area of the delegated officer. On arresting the defendant, they must without delay deliver the defendant to the custody of the police officer by whom they were delegated, and the latter must then without delay bring the defendant before a court where the warrant is returnable. If the court isn’t available, the delegating officer can bring the defendant to the local correctional facility of the county where said court sits, to be detained there until no later than the commencement of the next session of court occurring on the next business day.
What are the defendant’s rights in this matter?
On the defendant’s arraignment before a superior court, the court has to immediately inform them of the charge(s) against them, and the DA must cause them to be furnished with a copy of the indictment. The defendant has a right to the aid of counsel at the arraignment, and also at every later stage of the action, and, if they appear on the arraignment without counsel, they have the following rights: to an adjournment for the purpose of obtaining counsel, to communicate, free of charge for the purposes of obtaining counsel and informing a relative or friend that they’ve been charged with a crime, and to have counsel assigned by the court in any case where they’re financially unable to obtain this.
The court has to inform the defendant of all of their rights. The court has to give the defendant opportunity to exercise these rights and must itself take affirmative action as necessary to effectuate them. If the defendant wants to proceed without the aid of counsel, the court has to permit them to do so if it’s satisfied that they made such decision with knowledge of the significance, but if it’s not so satisfied, it will not proceed until the defendant’s provided with counsel, either of their own choosing or by assignment. A defendant who proceeds at the arraignment without counsel doesn’t waive their right to counsel, and the court must inform them that they continue to have such right, as well as all the rights specified earlier that are necessary to effectuate it, and that they may exercise these rights at any stage of the action. On the arraignment, the court, unless it intends to make a final disposition of the action immediately after, has to issue a securing order releasing the defendant on their own recognizance or fixing bail or committing them to the custody of the sheriff for their future appearance in said action.
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