What It Means To Have An Arrest Warrant

If there is a warrant out for the arrest of your loved one, then that means your family member could be arrested and jailed at any moment. Undoubtedly, warrants present a scary situation. How warrants come about can also be confusing. Find out more by reading all about arrest warrants below.

What is a Warrant?

A warrant is an old-fashioned legal term that means a written document exists giving law enforcement the power to make an arrest. Warrants can come about in several ways, and arrests can also be carried out without an arrest warrant. For example, if you are stopped on suspicions of drunk driving and are arrested after undergoing field sobriety tests, you can be arrested using the observations of the arresting officer.

Arrest Affidavits

In certain cases, a judge receives information about the actions of a certain person and determines that enough evidence or probable cause exists to make an arrest. In that case, an arrest warrant is issued. In many instances, an affidavit is prepared by a law enforcement investigator who has assembled the pertinent facts to put before a judge. Suspicions of wrongdoing are not enough – law enforcement must address specific reasons for the warrant application. For example, DNA evidence might link a suspect to a crime scene, which will likely prompt a warrant for their arrest.

Bench Warrants

Another type of warrant can be issued directly from the judge's bench while court is in session. Often, this type of warrant is connected to court happenings. For example, those misbehaving in court can be arrested on the spot if the judge orders it. Commonly, though, bench warrants are issued for those who fail to appear in court as ordered. Those previously arrested may have gained bail privileges based on the explicit condition that they appear on a specific date and time in a specific court. In some cases, those failing to appear may get the charges of failing to appear dropped if they can produce a good reason for missing the court date. However, many defendants end up with additional charges as the result of a bench warrant.

When an Arrested is Unwarranted

Not surprisingly, law enforcement actions can be subject to bad judgment, paperwork mix-ups, mistakes, and more when it comes to arrest warrants. If your loved one has ended up in jail because of an error, take action right away. Have your loved one speak to a criminal lawyer about the case and get those unfair charges dropped.