What is an Arrest Warrant and What Does It Do?

What is an Arrest Warrant and What Does It Do?

The sheer volume of the crimes committed in the state of California, paired with extremely limited law enforcement resources means that many crimes are committed and manage to escape the eye of the law. Not all criminals are caught in the act at the time they commit their crime. Some may never get caught but others will eventually have to face the consequences of their actions. Investigative measures may identify and provide evidence to convict a perpetrator after the fact, at which point actions will be taken to ensure they will be brought before the court for sentencing. In some cases, law enforcement officials or the prosecutor may come to a conclusion that a given individual committed a crime, beyond a reasonable doubt. They will provide reason and evidence for this conclusion and present it to a judge or magistrate. If that individual is not already in their custody for some other offense, or has escaped from custody, an arrest warrant may be put out for the arrest of the individual. Arrest warrants are issued for individuals who are believed to have committed felonies, not just misdemeanors, beyond a reasonable doubt, but are not already in custody. The arrest warrant will identify the individual to be arrested. It will have the defendant's name, the date the warrant was issued, the court under which the defendant must be tried and will also be signed by an issuing official, which would be the judge or magistrate issuing the warrent. An arrest warrant permits a police officer to arrest an individual for the crime they've already committed. This permission serves as a preauthorized right to arrest someone, even if the probably cause is not immediate. For example, the individual does not have to commit a further crime to be brought in to custody. The warrant will also denote the crime committed and provide any stipulations or guidelines for the arrest and the process of taking the individual into custody. If bail is set, the amount will be on the warrant as well. Arrest warrants are only issued under certain circumstances. In some cases, the prosecution may issue a summons in an attempt to summon the defendant to court for a hearing and sentencing, trusting they will appear in court as requested. Summons are issued in lieu of an arrest warrant generally when the felony committed was non-violent and did not involve the presence of a gun, the individual poses no continued threat to society or any individual, the individual who committed the crime was cooperative in any prior arrests or run ins with the law and there are no outstanding arrest warrants yet issued. Even then, some may fail to attend the hearing. This is always a big mistake. If the defendant does not show up at the hearing date provided on the summons they were served with, then a bench warrant for their arrest will be issued and the failure to appear at the hearing can be held against them, in pretense of proof that they were actually served with the summons. You may have been shown the arrest warrant at the time of arrest. Try to obtain a copy and review it, making sure the warrant is indeed for you and for a crime you actually committed. Instances of false identification have been known to happen simply because of the process through which warrants are issued. They are done so without hearing your side of the story. If you are not sure you have a warrant out for your arrest, you can search for arrest warrants through online resources as they are part of the public records. Having a warrant out for your arrest, if you are aware of it, is nerve-wracking to say the least. Don't be caught off guard; pay attention to any summons you may get and appear at any hearing you've been requested to attend. If you fail to appear in court or have a warrant out for you arrest, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise you on how to avoid further complications, which could result in harsher sentencing.

Do you or a loved one have a warrant out for arrest? Experienced criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens will fight for your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert and aggressive criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com for a free consultation.

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