If the police have ever arrested you or seen them apprehend someone, you know how unpleasant the process is. When police suspect you of criminal activity, they may come knocking by surprise, holding a warrant on the palms. Many people facing arrest under a warrant are unaware of the warrant. Once the court issues a warrant, no one will inform you or contact you about the situation.
You should find out whether you have an active warrant before you face police embarrassment. However, the question remains how can you discover whether the court has issued a warrant against you? You may use several methods to know whether you have an active warrant. For instance, you may look up county/state records online, conduct a background check on your records, or visit a police station. Seeking legal help from a competent criminal attorney is a vital step too.
How to Know if there is a Warrant for Your Arrest
An arrest warrant is an official document issued by a jury for the police officers to arrest the person whose name appears on the warrant. The judge issues a warrant when the law enforcement officers suspect the person whose name appears in the arrest warrant of committing a crime. The warrant has strict ways in which police officers should arrest the suspected person. It also contains the amount of bail you can produce for the court to release you before trial. In California, the Judge may issue any of the given warrants to arrest you.
An Arrest Warrant
An arrest warrant constitutes the document given by the judges to law enforcement officers against you if suspected of involvement in an offense. The judges issue the warrant depending on the indictment by a jury or evidence brought before the court. To know whether your arrest warrant is valid, it should have the following:
- The city or county of issuance.
- The time the warrant is issued.
- Your real names.
- The offense the police are suspecting you of committing.
A bench warrant is issued against someone the court believes to have disobeyed the orders of the court. This might occur when the named person fails to show up in court as ordered, did not pay the court fines, and cannot tolerate specific orders issued by the court.
Note that police officers should not use lethal arms when arresting you. A bench warrant doesn’t expire; it remains active until you show up in the court as the judge orders or when the issuing magistrate recalls it.
Other search warrants may prohibit law enforcement officers from arresting you. The warrants permit the officers to search you, search the workplace, house, vehicle, or any other area they suspect you have unlawful activity. The warrant contains the location, and the police should search the search time setting and the accurate root of the search.
The police should have a warrant before your arrest, as per California law. For law enforcement officers to have a valid arrest warrant, they should present a sworn statement to the California jury. The affidavit contains truthful information on your involvement in committing a specific offense. An affidavit, too, includes the signatory of the alleged victim and a declaration statement that they are ready to face prosecution if the provided information is proven to be incorrect.
California judges cannot provide an arrest warrant when there is no eyewitness to the offense you are suspected of obligating. Again, the judges can’t issue an affidavit when they feel it doesn’t meet the alleged victim’s narrative. Therefore, If the police come ready to arrest you, you have the right to see the arrest warrant.
Ways of Discovering If You Have An Active Arrest Warrant in California
If the police officers have an arrest warrant against you, they may arrest you without prior warning. Thus, law enforcement officers may arrest you where they find you, whether at your workplace, on the roadway, or at your home. The arrest may take place during the nighttime or daytime. As you know, an unexpected arrest may be unpleasant. The officers don’t give you room to explain yourself or interact with your family members. So, you should find out whether you have an active arrest warrant before the officers come for you. By doing so, you become ready for the lawful exercises ahead of you or avoid police embarrassment. You may use the following ways to know whether you have an active arrest warrant:
Conduct a Background Check on Your Records
One way to know whether you have an active arrest warrant is through running a background check on your criminal records. The check provides a lot of information apart from the warrant. The documents show the school you attended, date of birth, prior criminal convictions, your credit report, active arrest warrants, and criminal arrest records.
You may perform a background check by yourself through an internet search, government agency, or public records. Also, you may employ a third party to perform the background check on your behalf. By doing so, you will be able to know whether you are subject to an arrest, if the law officers suspect you of any crime, or you are facing potential criminal liability.
When the judge issues the arrest warrant, the clerk enters it on the police website. Therefore, the entries mean your details are accessible across the state or nation of the justice department.
Look Up County or State’s Records Online
Nowadays, using social media is the easiest and fastest mode of finding information. The best thing is you can search from anywhere you are. For instance, if you engage in domestic violence and feel the other partner informed the law enforcement officers, you have reasons to live under suspicion an arrest warrant is waiting for you. Sometimes, you are suspicious your friends committed a crime and believe you might be suspected.
If the court issues an arrest warrant, you may find out from the superior court or county sheriff’s office. Most offices have online services, and their information is updated daily, meaning you can access the information anytime, 24/7. Then, visit the office or website and confirm whether you have an active arrest warrant. If you discover your warrant before the actual arrest, you will have sufficient time to plan better for a better way to proceed. You will have an opportunity to speak with an attorney and receive the best legal advice and help.
Begin by seeking your full name in the state's arrest. In case you find an active warrant against you, you will realize it under Los Angeles county. Also, you may search your full name on the California Superior Court's website to detect whether the court issued an arrest warrant. While on the webpage, search for active arrest warrants. The website requires you to enter certain details, including your name, the number of your driver’s permit, date of birth, and the number of your case in court.
Contact a Competent California Criminal Attorney
Seeking legal help from a skilled attorney is another critical way to find the correct information about yourself. All registered attorneys in California have access to the state's database, which may be unavailable to the general public. So you will likely find valid information when you seek the services of a competent attorney.
When you strongly believe the police are searching for you and might make arrests at any time, you need to hire a defense attorney right away. Your defense attorney will help you understand the current situation and guide you through the whole legal process. Again, the attorney will assist you in taking the best steps if you have an active arrest warrant.
Contact a Federal Court or Police Station Near You
Contacting the close police station and federal court is an additional way of knowing if you have an active arrest warrant in California. Do this when you are ready to answer several questions from the magistrates or law enforcement officers. Therefore, if you strongly believe you have a search warrant against you, visit the federal court or police station within your area. In case you are doubtful about it, have another person inquire on your behalf.
The police or the federal court will require you to produce essential information about yourself, including birth date and full names. The responsible officer will use your information to scan the database and give you the details you require.
What to Do if You have an Active Warrant
Most people do anything possible to ensure they skip the arrest. Above all, the arrest details will remain in your criminal records, thus affecting your daily life and future, whether social or professional. If you skip the arrest by running away, you might worsen your situation. Once you discover the court has issued a warrant for your arrest, don’t run away. Running might mean you are guilty of a crime. Then remain calm and strategize on the next move with your defense attorney.
It’s critical to tell your attorney why you think the court issued the arrest warrant. As we mentioned above, when you suspect you have an active arrest warrant against you, you may know why the court issued it. Discover the weight of your charge and plan well. In case you know an attorney, call him/her immediately. Discuss with your attorney more about the nature and the circumstances surrounding your case. If you don’t have an attorney in mind, consider calling a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney.
The attorneys will evaluate your case and advise you on what to do. The police might have mistakenly arrested you. Again, the arrest warrant with your name might be another person you share the name with. The attorney will help investigate whether the arrest warrant issued was legally yours.
If the warrant has your name, the attorney will go ahead and examine whether you face any charge for engaging in any criminal activity. If the issued warrant is necessary for no reason, then you and your defense attorney will visit the criminal court for the judge to clear it. Thus you won't remain in jail or pay any fees/fines. However, if you committed a criminal offense, the attorney will find bail and plan for your release as you await the judgment. A bail release will ensure you don’t spend much time in detention and let you have sufficient time to make preparations for your trial.
Alternatively, if you discover the court issued a bench warrant, the law requires you to appear before the court to render it inactive. Your defense attorney may represent you on the court in if:
- You didn’t make payments that relate to the misdemeanor crime you faced conviction.
- When you fail to appear before the court on the set dates.
Your defense attorney's presence is of the most significant importance. The court may opt to place you in detention provided you have an active arrest warrant, even when attempting to clear your arrest warrant. But, your defense attorney may defend you by persuading the judge your detention is unnecessary.
Lastly, you require guidance and legal advice from a competent lawyer to prevent mistakes that may affect you in the future. Remember, as we mentioned above, most people will opt to run away after finding they have an active arrest warrant. But this mistake may worsen their situation. Your attorney will do everything to ensure you what is suitable for the best outcome, even when what is suitable means meeting the California authorities at the moment. If your attorney has dealt with similar cases previously, he/she knows the right path to ensure you don’t face imprisonment. Mostly, the attorney will be available to appear before the court on your behalf.
What Happens When You Have an Out-of-State Arrest Warrant?
If the California courts issue your arrest warrant and you are in another state, the police will find and arrest you. But the police will take you to that state’s custody. Each state has its detention and arrest rules which differ from the others.
The exercise of sending you back to your original state is commonly referred to as extradition. Based on the nature of the crime, the law might allow you to go back and face conviction in your original state. The process is expensive and only applied to severe crimes like drug charges and violent offenses.
The state of arrest will hold several hearings to determine whether you are the person under the warrant’s name. The arresting officers should inform you why they are taking you to custody. During the hearing, you may respond to the warrant. You might waive the extradition exercise and the 30 days wait in jail to know whether the original state will pay for your extradition.
If you are in a similar situation, seek help from your defense attorney. When your case is a minor offense, they will help you fight the charges and skip the extradition exercise. In case your case involves a violent crime, they will help you through the whole extradition process.
How Bail Works for a Warrant in California
As the judge issues the warrant, he/she sets a bail amount provided the crime supports bail. The offenses which don’t allow for bail include felony offenses involving violence like sexual crimes. Once you post bail, the law requires you to attend all court hearings. Primarily, bail gives you freedom, provided you will appear before the court for your trial. In California, bail is usually ten percent of the amount specified on the warrant. It means if the court sets bail and sets $10,000, you will pay $1,000. You may post your bail in three ways:
- Property bail (Penal Code 127.5)
- Bail bond (Penal Code 1276)
- Cash (Penal Code 1269)
What Happens When Your Warrant is Illegally Issued?
If the police officer illegally arrests you, the court may consider reducing or dismissing your charges. The court will consider the available evidence before making the final decision. An instance that might help you is when the police are guilty of wrongful misconduct. After the court finds the officer guilty of their misconduct, your attorney may request the court to drop the evidence against you. For instance, police should not disobey the warrant by arresting you outside the specified hours in the warrant.
The second way to prove your warrant illegal is under the writ of habeas corpus. If you believe the police wrongly arrested you, you may file a writ of habeas corpus to present your evidence. Then after the court considers your case, the judge may dismiss your charge.
Find A Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
If you suspect there might be an active warrant for your arrest, find out immediately before the law enforcement officers come knocking. If you ignore it, you might spend a lot of time behind bars. You want to seek legal help from a competent attorney and do searches straight away. Our team of professionals at The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney will help determine whether you have an active warrant under your name. We will also guide you on the proper steps to take until you resolve your case. If you are in or around Los Angeles, call us today at 310-564-2605, and let's fight for your rights.