What’s a warrant? 2 important types of warrants you should know about

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Do you have a warrant out for your arrest? Did you fail to appear in court? This is what to do when you have an arrest warrant or a bench warrant in California.

I. What is a warrant?

In general terms, a warrant is an order issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, that permits an act that would violate your individual rights.

For example, an arrest warrant authorizes your arrest and detention, and/or the search and seizure of your property based on the probable cause that you committed a crime. Clearly this is a violation of your Fourth Amendment right against an unreasonable search and seizure of your person would not be legal without the warrant provided.

II. Arrest Warrant

For an officer to arrest you, they must either see the commission of a crime or have enough probable cause to initiate an arrest. When that probable cause standard is not met but the suspicion of law enforcement remains, an investigation occurs. If that investigation finds that probable cause exists, that is taken to a judge to request a warrant be issued for your arrest.

III. Bench Warrant

A bench warrant is issued when a defendant violates the rules of court. Usually this means the defendant plainly failed to show up to a mandatory court appearance.

The important distinction between a bench warrant and arrest warrants is that an arrest warrant is issued when you are suspected of a crime, and a bench warrant is only issued when you are found in contempt.

IV. What happens after the warrant is issued?

After a warrant is issued, law enforcement officers will attempt to locate and arrest you. They will bring you into custody immediately when they serve the warrant. The most common places they look are your last known address and where you work. If you are located, you will be arrested and detained.

V. How can an attorney help you with a warrant?

The very first thing an attorney should be doing is getting that warrant recalled so your case is no longer in warrant status. You are considered a fugitive of the law when a warrant is issued. This basically means that, if successful, law enforcement will cease their search for you. Your attorney will aid in getting the ball rolling on the next stage of your case. Prosecution may see hiring an attorney as a commitment from you to see your case through until the end.

If a warrant has been issued against you and you’re looking for an attorney to help you in your case, please contact our law offices today! It is vital that you have an experienced attorney by your side who can get the warrant recalled.

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