What To Do If You Are Issued A WarrantCoastal Legal Center
A warrant is a legal order signed by a judge granting law enforcement personnel legal authority to detain and incarcerate you for a suspected criminal offense. If a warrant is ever issued on your behalf in the San Diego area, you need to contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your freedom is maintained.
Types of Warrants
There are two types of warrants that are issued for an individual. A bench warrant is an order originating directly from a judge to an individual for a court-related infraction. The most common types are “failure to appear” notifications or a failure to make bail. These types of warrants do not begin with a criminal action but disregarding them can result in serious consequences nonetheless. Bench warrants are the primary method of compelling an individual to appear in front of a judge or “the bench.”
An arrest warrant is an order issued by a judge upon submission of evidence from police officers or the district attorney’s office of the commission of a crime. These warrants are much more severe because they are based on plausible criminality and call for your immediate detention. An arrest warrant can also be issued by a grand jury indictment for more serious crimes. This is typical in a capital murder case or sexual assault.
How Warrants are Obtained
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that any arrest warrant contain the following:
- The suspect’s name or adequate physical description of them to positively identify the individual.
- A sufficient description of the crime that the suspect allegedly committed.
- A specific request that calls for the arrest of the suspect and their appearance before a magistrate.
- A signature from the judge or magistrate that is responsible for issuing the arrest warrant.
Police officers ordinarily submit an affidavit that demonstrates probable cause for your arrest. Next, the officer will take this order to a judge for compliance review and signature to make sure that your arrest is justified and following the law. Upon a judge’s signature, the arrest is usually executed at the discretion of the law enforcement agency requesting the warrant.
A bench warrant is slightly less serious, and the process is truncated since the warrant originates from the judge from the beginning. Police officers are not required to furnish a copy of the warrant upon servicing of it. They are only required to exhibit the knowledge that one exists and was legally obtained.
A qualified defense attorney can provide an analysis of the process used to obtain warrants and expose misconduct that can prevent such ramifications as driver’s license suspension, incarceration, increased fines, or probation.
What to Do If You Have a Warrant
If you discover that you have a warrant, it is critical that you consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Effective counsel can perform a pre-file investigation on the source of the warrant and challenge police and judicial conduct, the evidence used in the filing, how the evidence was gathered, and other matters that may affect the validity of the said warrant.
These measures may prevent ramifications of the warrant from taking place and result in a dismissal of all charges. Next, it is crucial to refrain from leaving the county where the warrant was issued.
If you travel far away from the area in which you have been issued a warrant, you may be classified as a “fugitive of justice” and any charges that you have faced may be subject to enhancements. Following the acquisition of counsel, it is imperative that you make all mandated court appearance, pay all outstanding balances, and arrange bail if deemed necessary. If you have been issued a warrant of any kind in the San Diego area call the Coastal Legal Center at 619-231-0724.