Warrants are orders issued by judges on behalf of the state that allows the police department, or another body, to search premises (search warrant), make arrests (warrant of arrest), or perform an action related to the administration of justice.
According to California Law, there are two types of warrants that allow law enforcement officers to arrest someone- arrest warrants and bench warrants. Bench warrants are a type of arrest warrant and differ slightly for the issuing cause, but both give a county police officer the authority to apprehend and detain you.
Finding out that you have a warrant- especially if you have no clue what for- can be problematic because you are essentially up for arrest. To know your options and what you can do, contact our criminal defense lawyers at The Chastaine Law Office, a Gold River, California criminal defense law firm.
Types of Warrants that Can Lead to Arrest
Arrest warrants are issued when a person is suspected of having committed a crime outside the presence of a law enforcement officer. These are issued by the judge based on the evidence presented by a peace officer or District Attorney, or after a grand jury indictment. This allows law enforcement to arrest and detain the person in question.
For an arrest warrant to be valid, it must have the following:
- The name of the defendant,
- The criminal charges that he is accused of, based on probable cause,
- Name of the court,
- Signature and title of the judge,
- City or county of issuance
- Time of issuance.
Bench warrants are variants of arrest warrants, but instead of being issued for suspected criminal activity, a bench warrant authorizes the arrest of a person for being in contempt of court. This happens for:
- Failure to follow a court order,
- Failure to pay a fine,
- Failure to appear for a court date or proceeding.
Do take note that while arrest warrants and bench warrants allow for the arrest and detention of a person, deadly weapons should still not be used unless necessary. Arrest warrants and bench warrants also do not expire with time and will remain in effect until any of the following happens:
- The person named appears in court,
- The person dies,
- The judge recalls and quashes the warrant.
How To Find Out if You Have an Active Warrant
There are three main ways a person can check if he is subject to any outstanding warrants:
- Searching the court website or sheriff’s website for the county that might have issued the outstanding arrest warrant,
- Searching the website of the Superior Court of California,
- Running a criminal background check.
Search Court Website or Sheriff’s Website
The first method is to perform an arrest warrant search on the county court’s website or the county sheriff’s office website. Of course, this presupposes that you know you might be issued a warrant and you know which county may issue that warrant. This can apply to most cases, but in some cases, people are surprised to find that they have a warrant and they don’t even know why.
Search the Superior Court of California’s Website
You can also check your county’s superior court’s website and run a warrant search there. Alternatively, you can check the California Arrests website which can check for active warrants within the entire state of California. This is very useful if you don’t know which county may file warrants for your arrest. This also makes it useful for routine warrant searches. You’ll only have to enter your first name and last name, date of birth, driver’s license number, and court case number.
Run a Criminal Background Check
The last method is to run a criminal background check on yourself. You can do this by searching through public records, criminal records, and government agency records. You can also hire a third-party service that professionally performs background checks for hiring employers. They will be able to do a more thorough search and make sure no stone is left unturned.
Running a background check will show if you are subject to a warrant, suspected of criminal activity, exposed to potential criminal liability, wanted by law enforcement or other law enforcement agencies, or in violation of a Certain California Penal Code.
What to Do If You Have a Warrant
If you find out that you have an arrest warrant, you must immediately contact one of our Gold River, CA, criminal defense attorneys. Your defense attorney will help you determine if it is you who is named in the warrant, what the warrant was issued for, and the amount of bail you can post.
Your defense attorney might also be able to represent you in court and have the warrant cleared so that you don’t have to go to jail.
Bench warrants are normally terminated when you appear in court and settle the warrant. However, appearing in court allows the judge to put you under custody. Fortunately, a criminal lawyer can represent you if your bench warrant is for failing to make a court appearance or failing to pay a fine for a misdemeanor.
If you find that there are active arrest warrants issued against you. You should immediately get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer because they are knowledgea ble of criminal justice and the criminal court system and can advise you on what you should do next to resolve your warrant while avoiding being put in county jail. Call us at The Chastaine Law Office now for more information.