Criminal Justice System
What to Do If There is a Warrant for Your Arrest
No doubt having a warrant for your arrest is always the worst kind of stress. Whether it’s that you missed a court date by accident or forgot to pay a parking ticket, the very idea of having a police officer haul you to jail from your home is awful. So what can you do if you have a warrant for your arrest? First to note, it’s important to understand your own specific scenario before making rash decisions — especially ones that may worsen the problem. Get the facts to learn the correct steps, and take care of the warrant.
Arrest Warrants vs. Bench Warrants
In general, a warrant is issued when a person skips out on a court date or a court-mandated penalty such as a fine, community service or parole check-in. Depending on the alleged offense, either a warrant for your arrest or a bench warrant will be issued against you.
This is a warrant issued for your arrest because a crime has been committed with strong legal reasoning that you are the person responsible. Within the hypothetical context of a FSGI (Failure to Stop and Give Information), an arrest warrant would be issued for “Tim” if a traffic camera were to catch him causing an accident and then fleeing the scene. Once the police have analyzed their evidence and determined that Tim is their prime suspect, they will issue a warrant to actively apprehend him.
Though less severe than an arrest warrant, a bench warrant could still result in an arrest if you aren’t careful. Bench warrants are issued by judges in both civil and criminal cases when a defendant misses their court date or does not comply with a legal order. They are also issued for things like missed child support payments, failure to appear at jury duty or failure to pay a traffic ticket. Unlike a standard arrest warrant, police might not actively search for you in order to fulfill a bench warrant. That said, if you are stopped by an officer for any reason, this hidden warrant may be discovered and they can and will arrest you. Things will then need to get straightened out in court.
Being Proactive in the Case of a Warrant
Before you do anything else, the simplest thing to do is to verify that you actually do have a warrant out for your arrest. Go to the Harris County Sheriff’s website, and search for your name in their warrant database. If you do see your name, don’t panic. Stay calm, accept the situation at hand and call for an attorney.
Depending on the nature of your offense, enlisting an attorney and confronting your warrant head on will most likely make your situation much less painful. Your attorney can help negotiate bail, organize the surrender process and smooth out the entire process. i.e. An arrangement could be for a faster arraignment, which helps with shorter jail stay.
If you are simply responding to a simple bench warrant, your attorney might be able to arrange for a quick payout of the outstanding fine or perhaps appear before a judge without any arrest whatsoever. Of course, all of this depends on your case. For example, a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket can be resolved much more swiftly than a warrant for suspected intoxication manslaughter. But all in all, having a lawyer on hand is always the way to go to make the entire procedure easier.
Need to Handle a Warrant in Harris County? Mark Thiessen and the Thiessen Law Firm is There for You.
If you know that you have a warrant in Harris County, don’t keep running away from your problem. Call TLF and take back ownership of your life. Mark Thiessen and his team know the Harris County justice system inside and out and can use their expertise to help you along each step of the way. We’ve helped neighbors beat charges ranging from drug cases, assault, DWI and intoxication manslaughter, and we can use the same courtroom strategies to help you.
Schedule a free consultation today and get your case off to the right start.