What are Arrest Warrants?
An arrest warrant is a Court Order signed off by a Judge directing law enforcement personnel to arrest a particular person and to bring he or she before the Court. Law enforcement personnel or the prosecution apply to the Court for the issuance of a warrant based on specific facts and conditions. For example, if following a well-informed police investigation, police have probable cause or reason to believe that an individual committed a criminal offense, the law enforcement agency that conducted the investigation would apply to the Court for issuance of a warrant for the suspect’s arrest so that the individuals may be brought before the court to face prosecution. Similarly speaking, if a criminal defendant already pending prosecution failed to appear in Court as directed for a scheduled appearance such as for a pretrial conference, motion or trial, the prosecution may ask the Court to issue a default warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
Once a warrant issues, it can only be removed or vacated by the Court. Police or prosecuting agencies do not have the power to remove or vacate warrants. This function can only be performed by a Judge and is normally done when the person named by the warrant physically appears in Court. An issued warrant may be effective solely within the jurisdiction where it was issued, or it may be effective nationally. When a warrant issues and is entered into the national law enforcement system, this is known as an extraditable warrant. Extraditable warrants are those which order other jurisdictions to arrest persons wanted by the warrant-issuing jurisdictions so that they may be taken into custody and extradited back to the jurisdiction from the warrant issued and where the person likely is pending prosecution or has unfulfilled obligations to the Court.
If you believe a warrant may exist for your arrest, it is important that you consult with legal counsel immediately. A skilled lawyer can research the existence or non-existence of an arrest warrant. If a warrant does exist, an experienced lawyer may be able lay the ground work for your voluntary surrender in Court. Appearing in Court is normally the only way to have the warrant vacated. You can appear in one of two ways: get arrested and involuntarily brought before a Judge or willfully and voluntarily appear on your own. This is your best option. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can work to negotiate with the prosecution for the time and manner of your voluntary surrender, as well as potential bail terms and conditions in advance to secure your release once the warrant is vacated. Many people fear that because they have a warrant, they will be held in jail if they voluntarily surrender. With time, preparation, resources and experienced counsel, you may voluntarily surrender in a manner that also secures your pretrial release once the warrant is vacated. Defendants who are arrested on outstanding warrants and involuntarily brought to Court have less of a chance at being released than those who appear with counsel.
If you know or suspect that a warrant may exist for your arrest, do not gamble with your freedom by living in fear of arrest or the police. Instead, contact please call the Probation Violation Attorney with John L. Calcagni III, Esq. email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation..