What Is An Arrest Warrant?

What Is An Arrest Warrant?

by Sep 17, 2019

It may sound fairly obvious, but the police are not always at the scene of a crime when the crime is committed. This means they don’t always know who committed the crime right away. Once enough evidence has been gathered to identify a potential suspect in a crime, the police will go to a judge and get an arrest warrant.

An arrest warrant is an official document that authorizes a police officer to arrest the individual or individuals named in the warrant. In addition to the name of the person or people, an arrest warrant usually describes the crime for which the arrest has been authorized.

Arrest Warrant Requirements

There are two common ways for the police to get an arrest warrant. The first way is if a police officer or district attorney states in a sworn declaration (also known as an affidavit) that he or she has a reasonable belief that a particular individual committed a crime.

The affidavit must be submitted to the court and must include all the facts and evidence that have led the officer or district attorney to believe the individual committed the crime. Once submitted, a judge will review the affidavit and decide if there is enough evidence. If the judge agrees that there is enough evidence present, they will issue a warrant.

The second way an arrest warrant may be issued is if a grand jury indicts an individual for a crime. When a person is indicted, a judge will issue a warrant.

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Executing An Arrest Warrant

Once the police have an arrest warrant in hand, they will typically go to a suspect’s residence or workplace to execute the warrant. In most criminal cases, the person or people named in an arrest warrant are not notified in advance that there is a warrant for them. This is to prevent suspected criminals from attempting to evade arrest.

Under certain circumstances, however, such as when a public figure or celebrity is a suspect in a crime (Harvey Weinstein is a good example), the police or district attorney will notify the suspect directly or through the suspect’s attorney that an arrest warrant has been issued.

After being notified, the person named in the arrest warrant can decide to turn themselves in by going to a police station (or to court, depending on the circumstances) and surrendering. If they refuse to turn themselves in, the police have the right to go to their home or workplace and physically arrest him or her.

When To Call An Attorney

If you believe that there is a warrant for your arrest, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Even if your attorney cannot prevent you from being arrested, they can help arrange bail and contact your friends and family on your behalf.

To get help with your case, please contact our office today for a free consultation.


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