The In's And Out's Of Arrest Warrants

When you hear that someone has a warrant "out" for them you may wonder exactly how this situation came to be. Criminal law can be a complex matter and when a loved one ends up behind bars it can be difficult to know what to do or to who you can turn. First things first, you should see that the arrested has legal representation. No matter how much you may care for them getting a lawyer on their side is the best thing possible at this time. For a better understanding of what an arrest warrant means, read on.

Two types of arrest warrants

If a person has already been arrested and released from custody then they might have been released on bail. This means that they promised to return for their future court dates and they used money or property to secure that promise. If they used a bail bonds-person then the release was secured with a percentage of the bail amount and is non-refundable.

Bench warrants

Since the release was conditional on their upcoming court appearance, a special type of warrant will be issued if they fail to appear. This type of warrant is referred to a bench warrant since it is directed by the judge on the bench when the defendant fails to show up for their court date. Failure to appear will be yet another charge added on to the original charge for which they obtained bail. Additionally, they are extremely unlikely to be offered bail again due to their inability to comply with the conditions.


The other type of warrant is based on strong suspicions of criminal activity and this one must also be signed by a judge. Here, the arresting authority presents the judge or magistrate with an affidavit of arrest. This affidavit is a listing of facts about the issue at hand, such as the name of the person and the reason why an arrest is called for.

The Affidavit

The affidavit's most important piece of information is what constitutes probable cause. For example, the arrest warrant might say that they are to arrest John Jones on the suspicion that they committed a bank robbery on May 1, 2018, at the American Nation Bank. Probable cause, in this case, might be several people who recognized the robber and identified him. These warrants are usually very specific and may not name each and every crime with which the individual may be eventually charged.

Arrest warrants are not issued casually but sometimes law enforcement makes mistakes. Speak to a criminal lawyer about your arrest to make sure that all steps in the process were correct.

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