What an Arrest Warrant Means

An arrest warrant is a warrant granted by a judge in a court of law to a law enforcement official granting that law enforcement official the right and ability to arrest a person of interest regarding a crime. An arrest warrant is acquired in a court of law by presenting a judge with probable cause for arresting the suspect. If there is any pertinent evidence that can be presented to the judge when requesting an arrest warrant that will speed up the process then it should be disclosed. That is why many officers or prosecutors make sure they have probable cause and at least two pieces of evidence to present to the judge before requesting an arrest warrant. Arrest warrants are most commonly required when a crime is committed out of view of a police officer. If a felony is committed in view of a police officer then an arrest can be made without a warrant.

The arrest warrant has been granted; now what?

Once the arrest warrant is granted by a judge in a court of law, the local law enforcement officials are legally allowed to arrest the person of interest named on the warrant wherever they find that person. This means that the person can be arrested at their place of work, at their residence, after they are pulled over on the road or anywhere else in public.

Is an arrest warrant the same thing as a bench warrant?

An arrest warrant and a bench warrant are not one in the same. An arrest warrant is issued by a judge for an arrest of a person that has committed a crime. A bench warrant is issued by a judge for the arrest of a person because they failed to appear at a required court hearing. A bench warrant allows law enforcement officials the ability to arrest the suspect at their residence, their place of work, or anywhere else they are sighted.

Why has an arrest warrant been issued for me?

There are a variety of different reasons as to why an arrest warrant has been issued:

  • Suspect involved in a rape case
  • Suspect involved in a murder case
  • Suspect involved in a theft case
  • Suspect involved in a breaking and entering case
  • Suspect involved in an abduction case
  • Suspect involved in a smuggling case
  • Suspect involved in a grand theft auto case

When an arrest warrant is issued, the suspect named on the warrant can be arrested at anytime, anywhere an officer notices them. It doesn't matter what they are doing at the time. An arrest warrant is not always served by law enforcement officials right away. Outstanding arrest warrants are arrest warrants that have yet to be served by law enforcement officials. There are hundreds of thousands of outstanding arrest warrants across the country today. Los Angeles alone has one million outstanding arrest warrants. New Orleans has 49,000 outstanding arrest warrants and Baltimore, Maryland has 53,000 outstanding arrest warrants.

Can an arrest warrant be issued for me even though I did not commit a crime?

The answer to this question is yes. Why? With the advent of identity theft across the country, thieves are stealing the identities of people without them finding out and then committing serious crimes in their name. Once the crime is committed and the suspect is identified then the arrest warrant can be issued. Sometimes the warrant is issued for the wrong person. The person it is issued for is incorrect because their identity had been stolen and used by someone else. This is tough to avoid. To avoid identity theft and subsequent legal problems because of it, be vigilant.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only! If you need legal assistance for an arrest warrant, please consult with a Criminal Defense Lawyer near you to discuss the details of your case.
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