When a warrant is issued for your arrest in the state of California, law enforcement can arrest and detain you. A judge issues a warrant when a crime occurs outside of an officer’s presence, and evidence is presented that suggests who may have committed it. If you were to commit the crime right in front of the police, then they would just arrest you on the spot without the need for a warrant. A warrant can also be issued as the result of a grand jury indictment. This occurs when a grand jury has ruled that there exists enough evidence to show that you may have committed the crime.
What Kind of Information is Included in a Warrant?
In addition to the Defendant’s name, a warrant is considered valid if it lists the following information:
- The crime the defendant is being accused of
- The court, city, and county in which the warrant is being issued (jurisdiction)
- The time the warrant is issued (some warrants can only be issued at certain times of the day)
- The signature of the judge assigning the warrant
Can You Be Arrested at Your Place of Business?
Yes. In fact, the workplace and home are the two most common places for people to be arrested. If the police attempt to arrest you at your home, they must have probable cause to believe that you are home. If, however, they are attempting to arrest a guest in your home, they must have a search warrant to do so.
Are You Entitled to See a Copy of the Warrant Before You Are Arrested?
No. The police are not required to bring a copy of the actual warrant with them to make an arrest. They must, however, be able to show that they were legally made aware of its existence. For instance, if an officer pulls someone over for a traffic violation and discovers an outstanding warrant after pulling the driver’s record, the officer can then legally make the arrest.
What Happens After a Person is Arrested?
Upon being arrested, you will typically be handcuffed and taken to jail. However, there are two situations wherein you may be able to avoid being handcuffed, taken to jail, or both.
The first situation concerns the service of a summons. Here, a process server will mail, or “serve”, you with a summons directing you to appear in court. The summons allows you to appear before a judge on your own accord, rather than being forced to appear after being arrested. A summons is normally used in place of a warrant for felonies that do not involve violence or weapons.
The second situation involves “cite and release.” Someone who has been cited and released has not been arrested and is not formally booked. Instead, he or she is released on a promise to appear before a judge on a date certain in the future. This is also known as being released on your own recognizance.
Cite and release is not an option in cases involving domestic violence or drunk driving, or if you have another outstanding warrant. A failure to uphold the promise to appear in court will result in an arrest, along with additional penalties that would not have been imposed before. Such penalties include fines, jail time, and the suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license.
Can You Turn Yourself in Before Arrested on a Warrant?
Yes. However, it is important to realize that turning yourself in, especially if you are alone when you go, all but guarantees that you will be taken directly to jail. If you go with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, he or she may be able to convince the judge to reduce your bail or to release you on your own recognizance. He or she may also be able to have the warrant cleared before you suffer any penalties.
How Do You Fight a Warrant?
If you believe you were falsely arrested as the result of an illegal warrant, or that your warrant was illegally executed, you may be able to have your charges reduced or have the case dismissed altogether. However, neither entitles you to an immediate dismissal. There may be other evidence or charges to contend with, even though there may never have existed a legitimate probable cause to arrest.
If you have been accused of a crime, you may be considering hiring an attorney. Give us a call at 310-997-4688, or fill out the form to the right. One of our experienced criminal defense attorneys will get back to you ASAP to schedule a FREE case evaluation without any obligation to go further.