If you believe you have a warrant out for your arrest, you should never take this lightly. It’s important you know the steps to take.
First, you should find out if there actually is a warrant out for your arrest. In Houston or Harris County, you can do this by visiting the Harris County Sheriff’s Department’s website to run a warrant search. You also can try searching on GovernmentRegistry.org.
Your name may not be on their arrest warrants lists. But if it is, take this news as calmly as you can—and then contact a defense attorney with our law firm for help.
Your defense lawyer will have the knowledge to guide you in the process which follows. Depending on the circumstances of the case, that may mean getting the arrest warrant dismissed.
Or it may mean organizing your surrender and negotiating your bail. In such cases, your defense attorney may be able to arrange a speedier arraignment, which could reduce your time in jail.
You probably know whether or not you committed a crime. But in the event of an arrest warrant, it’s important that you and your lawyer also know what police and prosecutors believe that you did.
An arrest warrant wouldn’t have been issued unless they had strong reasons to believe you were responsible for a crime. Such strong reasons are known as probable cause.
Based on probable cause, an arrest warrant is issued as a court order authorizing law officers to arrest a person and have them appear in court. Law officers will then start searching for that person.
A court or law officer’s belief in probable cause doesn’t mean you’re guilty. But it does mean you must respond appropriately with help from a Neal Davis Law Firm Houston criminal defense lawyer.
Why are warrants issued?
Arrest warrants can be issued for a wide variety of reasons, so it’s important to learn what the reason is by checking online or getting your lawyer to do so. You might simply have neglected to appear for a parole check-in or to perform community service, and that led to your arrest warrant. You’ll want to find out.
Or, it could be that your situation involves what’s known as a “bench warrant.” A bench warrant isn’t as serious as an arrest warrant, but it still could lead to your arrest if you’re not careful.
A bench warrant is often issued by a judge in an existing criminal or civil case if a person fails to comply with a legal order or misses a court date. Bench warrants also may be issued for such things as failing to pay a traffic fine, failing to pay child support or failing to appear for jury duty.
While holding a bench warrant against you, police may not be as actively involved searching for you as they would be with an arrest warrant. But if you’re stopped for any reason—perhaps a minor traffic violation—the officer could then note your bench warrant via a quick check and arrest you on the spot.
Your defense attorney can respond quickly and effectively to a bench warrant or a bench warrant arrest by doing such things as arranging that you quickly pay any fine or money that you owe.
Perhaps you simply owe money for a minor traffic ticket. That sort of thing could be handled easily and speedily by your defense lawyer, and the bench warrant would be canceled.