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Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 06:33 pm
Arrest Warrants: What You Need to Know
Finding out that the police have a warrant out for your arrest can be an incredibly scary and daunting experience. Unfortunately, in many cases, you may not even learn about the warrant until the police come knocking on your door to take you into custody. Regardless of whether you have advanced knowledge of the warrant or if you find out during your arrest, it’s crucial that you take immediate action to protect your legal rights and fight the charges you’re facing.
Steps to Take When There is a Warrant for Your Arrest
#1: Retain the Services of an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
The first and most important step you should take when there is a warrant for your arrest is to immediately retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At Spodek Law Group, Attorney Todd Spodek and his team have a deep understanding of the law and can provide you with invaluable guidance and advice on what to do next. They can be present at your arrest and during police questioning, attend all court hearings with you, and build a strong defense so that the charges against you are either dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense with less harsh punishments.
Contact a Bail Bondsperson
After consulting with your attorney, you may want to consider contacting a bail bondsperson. The team at Spodek Law Group can provide you with a list of reputable bail bondspersons who can help you arrange to post bail if that is an option. Making arrangements with a bail bondsperson before your arrest can shorten the time you must remain in jail and get you back to your daily life as soon as possible.
Turn Yourself In
Your next step would be to turn yourself in and cooperate with the police during the booking process. It is important to do so at the correct jurisdiction, so you don’t have to spend unnecessary time in jail before your bail is set. Your lawyer or bail bondsperson may be able to recommend the best times of day to surrender to the police to increase the likelihood that you will be released quicker.
Do Not Make Statements to the Police
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent while in police custody. You should not make any verbal or written statements to law enforcement officers without your lawyer present. Avoid making statements to anyone in your jail cell or other inmates as these statements may also be used against you. Be cautious of what you say when using a telephone at the police station or jail because your conversation may be recorded.
What is a Warrant?
When an individual commits a crime, an arrest warrant can be issued by the Court. A court authorizes police officers to arrest you when they have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime. Courts will determine probable cause based on the sworn statements and affidavits of police officers. Once there is a warrant out for your arrest, you may be arrested at any time or any place. To help catch offenders, police officers are typically equipped with license plate scanning devices that will allow them to easily check license plates in order to find out whether you have a warrant issued for your arrest.
Types of Arrests: Warrantless Arrests and Silent Indictments
Not all arrests require a warrant. In New York, warrantless arrests are authorized so long as the police officer has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. An arrest warrant, however, is required for an arrest to be made inside someone’s house. Silent indictments or “X-Indictments” are typically issued when the individual misses court, or the grand jury returns an indictment against an individual without a prior corresponding arrest or criminal case.
What is the Difference Between an Arrest Warrant and a Search Warrant?
While many people may think of a search warrant when they hear the word “warrant,” there are major differences between an arrest warrant and a search warrant. An arrest warrant allows police officers to take an individual into police custody, while a search warrant allows officers to search for specific items at a designated location and take these items into police custody. A search warrant will also detail exactly when and where police officers may execute a search warrant and what they are searching for. An arrest warrant, on the other hand, does not specify when it can be executed, only who the individual is to be arrested.
How Do I Know If There Is a Warrant for My Arrest?
Many individuals are not aware if there is a warrant out for their arrest because there is no public centralized database that allows individuals to search by name to see if there are any warrants associated with their name. If you miss court and if a judge orders a “bench warrant,” you will receive a notification from the court or your attorney about missing court and needing to schedule a date to return. If you believe you’ve missed court but did not receive any notification, it may be prudent to call the court where your case was pending.
If there is an arrest warrant as a result of a silent indictment or an X-indictment, frequently there is no way to get advance notice. That is to say, your first notice of there being an arrest warrant may be the warrant squad coming to your house looking to take you into custody. These warrants are likely to be sealed and will not be accessible by calling the court.
Is the Arrest Warrant Valid?
Determining whether an arrest warrant is considered valid is the next step you should take. To determine this, it is encouraged that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A valid search warrant will contain an explanation of probable cause, police affidavits (sworn statements), a description of the suspect, and issuance from the court. If an arrest warrant does not contain all of the above aspects, it may not be valid. However, if you believe that your arrest would be unlawful, it is still not a good idea to resist arrest because it is dangerous and can lead to more criminal charges down the road. It is best to fight your unlawful arrest through the courts with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Why is There a Warrant for My Arrest?
Determining why there is a warrant issued for your arrest is just as important as determining whether the warrant is valid. If you are unsure why there is a warrant for your arrest, you can call the issuing courthouse to uncover the reason. However, it’s best to have your criminal defense attorney conduct an investigation to determine what the warrant is for and what the next steps on the case should be.
Turning Yourself In
With the advice of your attorney, once all arrangements have been made, the next best step would be to turn yourself into the police, also known as a “voluntary surrender.” Many people choose to turn themselves in because they would rather choose when to undergo the “booking process” than be arrested in their home, place of employment, at the gym, on the street, etc. This may also assist in avoiding future consequences.
When turning yourself in, it is important to turn yourself in at the precinct of the issuing jurisdiction to speed up the process. Attorney Todd Spodek and his team at Spodek Law Group may also assist you in speeding up the process by recommending the time of day to turn yourself into the police based on their experience with past clients.
If you have not spoken to police, the court, or an attorney, and you
have not yet been arrested for the warrant, do not assume that you will no longer be arrested or that you were “forgotten about.” Arrest warrants do not expire. They are only cleared when the individual listed on the warrant appears before the issuing court or the individual dies.
Retain an Attorney Immediately
As you may have already deduced, if there is a warrant out for your arrest, the first and most important thing you should do is speak with a criminal defense attorney. Attorney Todd Spodek and his team at Spodek Law Group are experienced in handling cases like yours and can provide you with valuable advice. An attorney can also be present during your actual arrest, questioning, and court proceedings without worrying and scrambling. It is crucial not to make any statements until you have spoken with an attorney. Additionally, a lawyer may assist you in posting bond to suspend your arrest warrant, reducing the risk of arrest and jail time.
Reach Out to a Bail Bondsperson
While you are contacting an attorney, it would be wise to contact a bail bondsperson as well. Having this option available before your arrest will help reduce the length of time that you are in jail after you are arrested by streamlining the paperwork necessary for posting the bail. Attorney Todd Spodek and his team at Spodek Law Group can recommend the best bail bondspersons based on their experience with past clients.
In conclusion, finding out that there is a warrant out for your arrest can be a frightening and shocking experience. But lucky for you, you are a few steps ahead since you have found out through means other than the police showing up on your front doorstep. However, it is important to take immediate action by retaining an experienced criminal defense lawyer, contacting a bail bondsperson, and turning yourself in. With the help of Attorney Todd Spodek and his team at Spodek Law Group, you can protect your legal rights, fight the charges you face, and build a strong defense to dismiss or reduce the charges to a less serious offense with less harsh punishments.
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