What is an Arrest Warrant?
Have you ever wondered what it means when you hear a warrant is out for someone’s arrest? There are many legal terms that some individuals do not understand, so let’s clarify exactly what an arrest warrant is and discuss how it is issued and what happens afterwards.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
Put simply, an arrest warrant is a legal piece of paper that is issued by a judge. An arrest warrant gives law enforcement the right to arrest an individual whose name is on the warrant. It states that a crime was committed, the date the crime occurred, and that there is an apparent cause to believe that this individual committed the crime. The arrest warrant will state the exact crime and specify whether it is a felony or misdemeanor.
If an individual is aware they have an outstanding warrant, they might decide to do a warrant walk-through with a bondsman. This will clear the warrant instead of waiting to be arrested. Doing so could allow this individual to be in favor with the court and give them a better chance of getting bail. By making arrangements with a bondsman to do a warrant walk-through, they are showing they are not trying to run from the law, which is one of the factors the court considers when deciding bail.
How is an Arrest Warrant Issued?
Typically, an arrest warrant is granted at the request of law enforcement. Law enforcement presents evidence to a judge, and if a judge decides that based on the statements and evidence given a probable cause exists to suspect the person named in the warrant, he or she will sign the warrant.
When the suspect is in police custody, he or she might be asked to provide a statement, but it is not required. This individual can invoke the right to remain silent and request an attorney. The suspect is then usually taken before the Magistrate Judge the next business day for an arraignment and bail to be decided upon. The suspect is now considered a defendant.
The Magistrate Judge will then do one of the following:
- Let the defendant go on his or her own recognizance. This can happen if the crime is minor and the defendant does not have a prior record, is well-known in the community, is in good standing, and not at risk of running.
- Set bail at a precise amount, in which the defendant can either pay the whole amount or pay a percentage of the amount to a bail bondsman. If the defendant pays the whole amount, he or she will receive back the entire amount when the case is completed. If the defendant flees, the bondsman is responsible to the court for the entire bail amount. The option of a bondsman is popular for those who cannot afford to pay the whole bail amount up front.
- Deny bail, which the defendant can then request a formal bail hearing. The two main elements the court looks at when determining bail are (1) a danger to the community and (2) a flight risk. The defendant will want to provide witnesses at the hearing who can testify that he or she is peaceful, mild-mannered, and has plenty of connections to the community that fleeing will not occur. These connections can be revealed by showing that the defendant has a job in the area, attends a local school or church, and has relatives and friends in town.
How to Clear Up a Warrant
To get rid of a warrant, contact a bail bondsman to set up a warrant walk-through. This will clear the warrant and set a court date to determine the case in court.
If you or a loved one has a warrant out for arrest, contact Mercy Bail Bonds so the experts can help guide you. It is already stressful knowing there is an arrest warrant out there and law enforcement is on the lookout. Don’t make things more difficult than they already are. Call us at (727) 856-7775 so we can help you!