Warrants are scary things. They mean that the authorities have issued cause for you to be taken into custody, so they should never be treated lightly. While it is indeed possible to turn yourself in at the local county jail or police station, the moments immediately after being taken into custody are often crucial to your case. While getting in front of a warrant by turning yourself in may seem like a good step to avoid being handcuffed or stuffed into a police vehicle in front of family and friends, anyone seeking to do so should consult with an experienced attorney before making that decision.
An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney by your side is a way to ensure that your rights are protected. You do not want your case hindered by anything you may say or do while turning yourself into the police. An attorney can also represent you in court and “turn you in” for misdemeanors instead of you having you physically walk into a police station.
Does It Matter Which Kind Of Warrant Is In Your Name?
Yes. In California, there are bench warrants and arrest warrants. While both enable law enforcement to apprehend you and take you into custody, they are functionally very different.
- Bench Warrants: Issued “from the bench” by the judge and usually relate to violations of court orders, a failure to appear in court, a failure to pay fines that have been ordered by the court, or other procedural offenses like probation violations.
- Arrest Warrants: Issued when the court deems that a person needs to be arrested for an initial crime. This is the kind of warrant for which probable cause is needed. The police must have evidence that the person in question may have committed the crime in order for an arrest warrant to be issued.
Are The Two Kinds Of Warrants Handled Differently?
Yes. If an arrest warrant has been issued for you, this means that law enforcement has serious reason to believe that you have committed a crime and are tasked with bringing you into custody to start processing your case. This is the typical scenario in which turning yourself into the police station is an option. However, a bench warrant usually requires law enforcement to bring you directly into court to straighten out the procedural offenses (such as unpaid fines or a previous failure to appear before the court). In other words, your destination for these two warrants will be different.
No matter which type of warrant has been issued for you, the best option is to contact an experienced local attorney from the Simmrin Law Group. A knowledgeable local attorney will be able to make contact with law enforcement and the court on your behalf in order to begin resolving your warrant. Additionally, the attorney can give you counsel on what to say and do while in the presence of court officials. This kind of advice can prove invaluable in strengthening your position in court.
How Should You Act When Turning Yourself In?
The main thing to remember when turning yourself in is that the police—no matter how respectful or nice—are not on your side. A warrant has been issued for your arrest, which means the police are representatives of the authorities who have reason to suspect you of a crime or court violation.
Do Not Talk to the Police
It can be tempting to try to clear your name and begin answering law enforcement’s questions, but without proper legal counsel this can be a mistake. As many television shows are quick to point out, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Ask For a Lawyer
If you have not already sought out legal counsel, this should be your first move after turning yourself in. A good criminal defense lawyer can make sure that your rights are protected and that the proper procedures are followed for the state of California.
Do Not Lie to Law Enforcement
You should never lie to police officers. This can land you in even more legal trouble and will not help your case. If you turn yourself in before seeking out a lawyer, the only thing you should say is that you request legal counsel.
Regardless of whether you have been issued an arrest warrant or a bench warrant, the first step is before turning yourself into the authorities is to contact an experienced defense attorney at the Simmrin Law Group. Fill out the form on the right of this page or call 310-997-4688 to set up a FREE consultation today.